How Wynonna Judd Honored Late Mom Naomi at CMT Music Awards 2023

While performing at the 2023 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas, on April 2, Wynonna Judd honored her late mother Naomi Judd, who died nearly one year ago.

By Elyse Dupre Apr 03, 2023 2:24 PMTags
Watch: How Wynonna Judd Is Keeping Naomi Judd's Memory Alive

Wynonna Judd shared a heartbreaking message to her late mom Naomi Judd at the 2023 CMT Music Awards.

While performing a rendition of Foreigner's song "I Want to Know What Love Is" with Ashley McBryde during the award show's tribute to the late Judds singer, Wynonna reflected on her mother's death. 

"Mama, you need to be here," the singer, 58, said during the April 2 event in Austin, Texas. "And I miss you, and I love you and I don't understand."

It was an especially emotional moment as the last public event Naomi attended before her death was the 2022 CMT Music Awards last April. She died by suicide at age 76 later that month, one day before she and Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame for their work as the musical duo The Judds.

"Well, it's a year," Wynonna told Entertainment Tonight backstage after her performance. "It's an anniversary and we all have anniversaries. I'm not terminally unique. 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.' 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 and so here we are."

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And she expressed her hope that her music offers support to others.  

"I want to help people," Wynonna continued. "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."

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Weeks after Naomi's death, a star-studded celebration of life service was held in her memory.

Over the past year, Wynonna and her sister, actress Ashley Judd, have shared their grieving journeys as well as the ways they continue to honor their mother. For the "No One Else on Earth" artist, this includes paying tribute through song and recently completing her concert series The Judds: The Final Tour.

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"In the midst of everything that has happened, I said that I would continue to sing," Wynonna wrote in a May 2022 Instagram post upon the release of her and Waxahatchee's "Other Side" single. "So, here I am."

If you or someone you know needs help, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit for additional resources.