From the early 1980s to the 1990s, Wynonna Judd has been known as one half of the most popular and respected female country acts, The Judds. Together with her mother, Naomi Judd, the mother-and-daughter duo provided country music with a crucial contrast to their male peers like no one else.
However, The Judds soon parted ways after Wynonna’s mother experienced some health problems.
Following Naomi’s unexpected retirement, Wynonna set out to pursue a solo career. While she was first unsure of carrying on without her mother, she ended up showcasing a range that even more bewildered diehard country fans and radio programmers – at the same time, helped her retain a heaps of admiring followers.
Truly, Wynonna is one of a kind – a force of nature to be reckoned with. Get to know more about country star Wynonna Judd with these facts.
1. She is a native of Ashland, Kentucky.
Born Christina Claire Ciminella on May 30, 1964, the country singer was the love child of Charles Jordan and Naomi Judd – who got pregnant at the age of seventeen and gave birth to Wynonna two weeks before her high school graduation ceremony.
2. She never met her biological father, which has been her biggest regret.
Sadly, Jordan didn’t want the responsibility of a child, so he abandoned Naomi and Wynonna. Eventually, Naomi married Michael Ciminella, who decided to raise baby Wynonna with him.
Wynonna was already thirty years old when she found out that Ciminella wasn’t her real father. She made arrangements to meet Jordan, but he died before they were able to do so.
3. She had an impoverished childhood.
Wynonna grew up in a mountain home where there was no phone or television, and as Naomi tried to make ends meet. The only entertainment they had was by listening to country music on the radio.
But it was on that mountain top that Wynonna learned to play the guitar. She and her mother ease the tension by harmonizing, singing at the back of their porch or around the fire after chores. Eventually, their family vocal chemistry made them one of the genre’s most successful duos, with many of The Judds songs hitting the charts.
4. She said she knew she was going to be a lead singer the minute she was born.
In an interview, Wynonna said she knew she could sing at the young age of three. “I just knew as a kid,” she said.
5. She got her name from a song.
Wynonna borrowed the name from Nat King Cole’s popular rhythm and blues song “Route 66,” which references an Arizona town called Winona.
6. She was once arrested for drunk driving.
In 2003, Wynonna was charged with drunken driving after a city police officer stopped her speeding vehicle close to Music Row. It was found out that her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, and she told the officer she didn’t remember how many drinks she had consumed during the celebration of her friend’s birthday.
Wynonna posted the standard bond for a first offense and was released.
7. She has a famous sister.
Wynonna’s half-sister, Ashley Judd, is an American actress whose career spans over three decades and has appeared in more than twenty films. Some of her renowned movies are Norma Jean & Marilyn, Double Jeopardy, and Natural Born Killers. She also earned a number of nominations, such as a Best Actress nomination from the Golden Globe Award.
8. She’s been married three times.
In 1995, Judd first married Nashville businessman Arch Kelley III. They then welcomed their children: son Elijah Judd and daughter Grace Pauline. However, the couple parted ways two years later.
Nearly five years after her divorce, the country singer found love again in the arms of her former bodyguard, D.R. Roach. The two married in 2003 until Roach was arrested for attempted sexual assault of a minor in 2007. Five days after his arrest, Wynonna – who found herself shocked and in disbelief – filed for divorce.
In 2009, Wynonna began a fairytale romance with fellow country singer Cactus Moser and finally got married in an intimate wedding three years later. The two have been inseparable ever since.
9. She’s a spokesperson for prison reform.
Wynonna’s daughter Grace Pauline Kelley had multiple run-ins with the law over her use and possession of illegal drugs. In 2018, she was sentenced to eight years in prison after she violated her drug probation.
Kelley’s case prompted Wynonna to work with the nonprofit Hope for Prisoners, which aims to help inmates re-join the community after they’re released. She even met White House officials to work on criminal justice reform.
10. She continued her mother-daughter tour alone following Naomi’s death.
Wynonna’s mother died by suicide in April 2022. After a lot of thought, Wynonna decided to tour by herself in her mother’s honor. She believed the decision would help her find peace.
Truly, Wynonna Judd is living quite an interesting life.