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Ashley Judd's new book details drug use, sexual abuse



Ashley Judd released a new memoir Tuesday, describing a childhood full of drugs and sexual abuse, courtesy of the people her mom associated with. That should go over well at Thanksgiving.

tbd-ashleyjudd040611.jpgThe 42-year-old actress appeared on Tuesday's Today show to talk with Meredith Vieira about All That is Bitter & Sweet, her own entry in the saga that is the Judd family memoir-writing business.

"First of all, my mother loves and adores me and my dad absolutely loves and adores me; they did then, and they do now," Judd said on the show (video above). "We came from a dysfunctional family system that didn't work very well. So the kinds of things that happened to me are very typical and standard and indicative of a family system that doesn't work very well."

What didn't work well? In the book, she says she felt all but abandoned by her mother Naomi and sister Wynonna while they worked in the music biz: "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," Ashley wrote. "She and my sister 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 says that Naomi tricked Ashley's dad, Michael Ciminella, into believe Wynonna was his child, but in reality it was another guy, Charlie Jordan, who knew about his offspring but didn't care to know her. Ashley also writes that "there was always marijuana inside the house" and her dad was prone to taking hallucinogenics every Saturday night with friend. Once Naomi's marriage fell apart in 1972, she shacked up with an "abusive full-blown heroin addict with a criminal record."

Judd further details fantasizing about shooting herself with her mother's gun as a child -- "To me, the way my family lived was already killing me" -- and being sexually abused by an unnamed family member and "an old man everyone knew" before she was raped at 15 while working as a model in Japan, MSNBC details.

"There was a creepy Frenchman who hung out at the bar ... He offered me a ride home ... I was so young and confused that I had no idea that what followed was rape," she wrote.

But the book also details Ashley's charity work, and how it has helped her move on with life.

"I began visiting brothels and slums and forcibly displaced persons' camps, and I wanted to share with the world the stories that, however improbably, were entrusted to me," she told Vieira. "I didn’t know where to put it, like I didn't have a place in my brain or in my heart, so I started putting it on the page."


[Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 2:39pm]


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