"I look back on my childhood, and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness," says the Double Jeopardy star.
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Ashley Judd has come to better "understand" her late mother  Naomi Judd's battle with mental illness in the wake of her suicide. 

Naoimi died in April at the age of 76 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the actress reveals she is at peace with what happened, accepting she was grappling with a disease and did "the best she could" despite the immense "pain" she was in. 

"I look back on my childhood, and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness," the star said on the Healing With David Kessler podcast on Tuesday.

Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd hopes her mother Naomi was free of 'guilt or shame' before her death
| Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

She added, "And there are different behavioral expressions, interactions, flights of fancy, choices that she made that I understand were an expression of the disease, and I understand that and know that she was in pain and can today understand that she was absolutely doing the best she could, and if she could have done it differently, she would have."

The 54-year-old expressed her hope that the singer was free of "guilt or shame" as a parent before she passed, noting she forgave her mother long ago. 

Ashley said in Tuesday's podcast episode that her "most ardent wish" is that Naomi was "able to let go of any guilt or shame that she carried for any shortcomings she may have had" as a parent "when she transitioned."

"Because certainly on my end, all was forgiven long ago," she added.

Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd and Wynonna Judd
Naomi Judd with daughters Ashley and Wynonna
| Credit: Louis Myrie/WireImage

The Double Jeopardy star previously shared that Naomi's passing was a result of "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. We are in unknown territory," she and her sister Wynonna said in a statement after the news broke. 

Naomi and Wynonna comprised the musical duo the Judds and were slated to be Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame the day after Naomi's death. 

Ashley and her sister were on hand during the emotional ceremony to accept the honor and tearfully paid tribute to the beloved country performer. 

"My mama loved you so much," Ashley told the audience, "and I'm sorry that she couldn't hang on until today."

"Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart," she continued, "and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in the last years."

If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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