Wynonna Judd honors late mom Naomi at 2023 CMT Awards one year after icon’s final appearance

Wynonna Judd paid tribute to her legendary mother Naomi Judd in the most beautiful way Sunday during the 2023 CMT Awards.

During a performance of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” with Ashley McBryde, Wynonna paused and said “Mama, you need to be here.”

“I miss you, and I love you, and I don’t understand,” the 58-year-old country singer added.

Naomi died by suicide in April 2022. She was 76.

“I went back and forth between hitting a really high note and being a diva or saying what was on my heart, and it took over, so here we are.”

Wynonna’s performance during the 2023 CMT Awards was particularly heartbreaking because the previous year, she and her late mother reunited and delivered their first televised performance as The Judds in 20 years.


The Judds’ act was met with great fanfare. The duo had even announced a 10-city tour. But sadly days after the big comeback tragedy struck the Judd family.

After many years of battling mental illness, Naomi Judd died by suicide.

“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public,” Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd said in a statement at the time. “We are in unknown territory.”

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Since their mother’s death, both sisters have kept Naomi’s spirit alive. Despite the tragic circumstances, Wynonna decided to move forward with the already scheduled tour.

She also recorded a song, “Broken and Blessed,” which she says describes her current emotions.

“‘I’m somewhere between hell and hallelujah’ is one of the lines in it,” she told ET.

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Prior to her performance at this year’s CMT Awards, Wynonna told ET she wanted to use her time to speak to anyone who might be struggling.

“I want to help people. It’s like. look at my face. Look at this face, if you’re having a crappy day, and just think, ‘If I can do it so can you,’ because it’s not easy.”

“It’s an anniversary and we all have anniversaries. I’m not terminally unique,” Wynonna said of the first anniversary of her mother’s death. “We all have something that we look at and go what the hell? What’s going on? I don’t understand and that was my ‘I don’t understand.'”

It’s been heartbreaking to see Wynonna Judd publicly grieve the death of her mother. But at the same time it is also comforting to know that we all experience grief, and there is no timeline for it to “get better.”