Startling Ashley Judd Memoir Turns Abusive Childhood Into Hope (VIDEO)

Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd
In case you think those talented Judds are a bunch of gorgeous women who have always had it all, then you might want to hear about Ashley Judd's new shocking tell-all memoir All That Is Bitter & Sweet, which reveals quite the opposite.

I have heard, through interviews with the Judds over the years, that the early years for their family were tough and included divorce, poverty, and lots of moving about; however, the details being released from Ashley Judd's new book tell an even darker story -- but one that Ashley manages to mold into something beautiful and inspiring today.


Before I jump into the gritty secrets and gory details that everyone is talking about with this memoir, I would be absolutely remiss not to mention that based on what you'll see in Ashley's TODAY show interview below, Ashley manages, with the help of years of therapy, a 12-step program (probably a group like Al-Anon), and a belief in a higher power, to turn an awfully rotten-at-times childhood into a life filled with hope and strength. It's quite amazing.

It's a wonderful thing to see the full life story come to fruition for survivors of abuse and addicted families -- when they can turn their shame and secrets into the kind of advocacy work that Ashley Judd is doing now for others who are down and out. Ashley felt strongly that in order to explain and express her passion for her humanitarian work, she needed to explain where she had been. And here's where she has been. has an exclusive sneak peek into the book, and here are some of the excerpts and details from Ashley's new book:


My mother, while she was transforming herself into the country legend Naomi Judd, created an origin myth for the Judds that did not match my reality.

She and my sister [Wynonna] have been quoted as saying that our family put the 'fun' in dysfunction. I wondered: 'Who, exactly, was having all the fun? What was I missing?'


Ashley's mom Naomi led her father to believe he was also the father of her sister Wynonna, but it was actually another man.


There was always marijuana around the house and Ashley says her dad took hallucinogenics with friends on the weekends.


I was taught to believe that our lifestyle was normal and never to question it or complain, even when I was left alone for hours, sometimes days at a time, or when I was passed without warning to yet another relative.

I loved my mother, but at the same time I dreaded the mayhem and uncertainty that followed her everywhere ... I often felt like an outsider observing my mom's life as she followed her own dreams.


After her parents divorced, mom Naomi's new boyfriend moved in with her and her daughters. Ashley describes him as an "abusive full-blown heroin addict with a criminal record."

Sexual Abuse

An old man everyone knew beckoned me into a dark, empty corner of the business and offered me a quarter for the pinball machine at the pizza place if I'd sit on his lap. He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth.

While Judd was able to fight off this particular predator, no one in her family believed her when she told them about the attack. Ashley says she was an adult when she discovered suppressed memories of childhood incest at the hands of a family member.


After the sexual abuse occurred, Ashley found herself in a deep depression, which also stemmed from her troubled relationship with her mother.

What do you think of Ashley's message? Do you see the good in sharing the details of a bad childhood if it might help others who still suffer?

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