Wynonna Judd reflects on the last time she sang with mom Naomi: ‘She was very fragile’

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The last time Wynonna Judd shared a stage with her mother, Naomi Judd, waslast spring, just weeks before her 76-year-old parent and country musicpartner’s death by suicide — and it was unlike any other time they performedtogether.

In an interview with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb for her “Making Space with Hoda Kotb”podcast, Wynonna Judd opened up about what made that night so different fromall the other times the Judds’ singers belted out their hits side by side.

“She was very fragile,” the 58-year-old said of her mother’s demeanor that> night in April 2022, when they put on their final performance at the CMT> Awards.

The duo were there to sing their 1990 single “Love Can Build a Bridge,” but asthey harmonized, Wynonna saw more than love in her mom’s eyes. She also saw atrepidation she’d never seen before a show.

“I think it’s because she hadn’t sung in a long time,” she explained. “And Ithink when our parents get older, their world gets smaller. And she was late(that night), and she is never late. I think she was nervous. And I think itwas so much of an expectation to do it for CMT Awards, and I just think itwas, like, imagine being that nervous and having to go out.”

Wynonna shared that her first instinct wasn’t to comfort her mother in thatmoment — though that came in time. Instead, all she could focus on at firstwas the towering, wine-colored, spotlight-stealing wig her mother wore to theevent.

“The first thought in my head was, no, I don’t want to hug her or comfort her.I want to pull her wig off,” she recalled. “Because that was the dynamics ofour relationship. It was tough and tender.”

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She went on to describe them both as “alpha and determined” in theirrelationship with each other, noting that the tenderness part took some extratime to find.

“It was sometimes hard for me to be tender with mom, because I’m the leadsinger, and I’m on my own version of life, on my own journey,” Judd continued.”And I think it occurred to me, though. All of a sudden, she looked at me andblinked, and I knew then that something wasn’t right in terms of her being offa little bit, like, nervous. I softened, which I think is God’s grace. I justkind of reached out and touched her hand, like, ‘I’m here. I got you. It’sOK.'”

She added, “I’m glad I did that, because that was the last time we performedtogether. I’m glad I didn’t stay stuck in my perfectionism is my point, Iguess.”

Back in October, during an interview with People magazine, Wynonna revealedthat “I love you” was “the last thing” she said to Naomi before she died. Butduring her chat with Hoda, the hit-maker revealed that she’s had a lot more tosay to Naomi since then.

“I had a lot of conversations with her,” she confessed. “I’m constantlytalking to her about, ‘Well, what the hell am I supposed to do aboutwardrobe?’ Because she was always the wardrobe (person).”

And the conversations get heavy at times.

“I talk to her a lot about (how) I don’t understand, I don’t understand, Idon’t understand. I kept saying, ‘Why, why, why did you do this? Why did youdo this? Why did you do this?’ I talk a lot to her… I’m still struggling bigtime with, ‘Why did you do this?'”

It’s a question she asks not only for herself, but also for others who arestruggling in their own lives.

“I want to help other people not do what my mother (did),” she added. “I talkto her a lot about, ‘What am I supposed to do now? We were supposed to do arecord together. We were supposed to do this tour together. We’re supposed to,we’re supposed to… “Life is a mystery, you know?”

However, Wynonna doesn’t want her mother’s life to remain a mystery to fans —or to be defined by how it ended.

“My mother was very kind,” the “I Saw the Light” singer said. “(She) alwaysmade people feel, whether it was a limo driver or the maid in the hallway, shealways spoke to everyone. She will be remembered for that, the kindness. Andthe ones that didn’t know her, I would say give her a break, because they’regoing to judge her based on what they know about the suicide.”

So Judd shared how she’d like her family’s matriarch remembered.

“I would like for her to be remembered for being a great songwriter,” shenoted. “She’s still my queen.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com