Naomi Judd’s husband reveals ‘messy’ final moments before suicide

Larry Strickland opens up about wife Naomi Judd’s ‘chaotic’ last few months before she took her own life after years of mental health struggles.

Strickland had been married to the country music star for 33 years when she died on April 30 at the age of 76 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

While filming the digital series ACM Lifting Lives Presents The Check-In, Strickland, 76, told People about the time before Judd’s tragic death.

“It’s been a very chaotic, hectic, hectic time,” he told the magazine from the couple’s Tennessee home. “It was extremely tough. She had several therapists that she was seeing and her energy levels had gotten really low. She got really weak.”

Judd exposed her struggles with anxiety and depression, but Strickland said he didn’t realize how bad things were until it was too late.

Naomi Judd, right, and her husband Larry Strickland perform at the Los Angeles premiere "Olympia has fallen" on March 18, 2013.
Naomi Judd (right) and her husband Larry Strickland attended the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ in 2013.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Naomi Judd and her husband Larry Strickland pose for a portrait in Los Angeles, California in 2005.
Naomi Judd and Larry Strickland posed for a portrait in Los Angeles in 2005.
Getty Images

“I just feel like maybe I overdid it,” he explained afterwards. “I tried to persuade her to eat. I tried to persuade her to exercise. I took care of her medication and had to make sure she had what she needed. I tried everything I could.”

“If I had known where she was, I would have been a lot gentler with her,” continued Strickland, a former backup singer for Elvis Presley.

“I would have been gentler and more understanding instead of being tired and exhausted because it exhausted me too. Knowing now that she was thinking [suicide], I look back and just wish I had held and comforted her instead of pushing her. I don’t know if that would have helped, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.”

He also revealed he was neglecting his own health while trying to take care of his fighting partner.

“I’ve been with her 24/7 for the past 13 years or more,” Strickland said. “I’ve never left the house without Naomi knowing where I’m going and when I’ll be back. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not sure if that fits my situation. If you have a partner who has a mental illness, you walk this path with them.”

Strickland also mentioned that he and Judd’s two daughters, Ashley, 54, and Wynonna, 58, have leaned on each other for support following their loss.

Naomi Judd was 76.
Naomi Judd was 76 when she committed suicide on April 30.
Diane Cohen / BACKGROUND

“We need each other so badly that we can hold on and we need to have the comfort of our relationship,” he shared.

Wynonna, who spent years performing with her late mother as country duo The Judds, recalled Naomi taking the stage at the Country Music Awards last month.

“In death is life and here I am,” she told the crowd while presenting an award. “Thank you for your love and support.”

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues addressed in this story, call 988 or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Naomi Judd’s husband reveals ‘messy’ final moments before suicide

Emma Bowman

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