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In a new memoir, Ashley Judd reveals she had a painful childhood that included sexual abuse and thoughts of suicide while her mother Naomi Judd and sister Wynonna tried to build their careers as country music stars.
In excerpts of All That Is Bitter and Sweet, which was published Tuesday, the actress writes: "My family of origin, the one into which I was born, was also brimming with love but was not a healthy family system. There was too much trauma, abandonment, addiction and shame.”
She goes on to reveal she was molested by a family friend as a teenager.
"He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth." writes Judd, who says that her family did not believe the abuse happened and it drove her into a severe depression.
She also says she witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior between her mother and her new boyfriends.
She also says marijuana was regularly available in her home.
Many of the memories, including times when she played with her mother's gun after school and thought about shooting herself, were repressed and were recovered when Judd underwent therapy in 2006.
In an interview Tuesday on NBC’s Today
show, she said wrote the book to better explain the humanitarian work she does around the globe involving impoverished and abused women in brothels, slums and refugee camps.
"I was really encouraged by people I trust to include some of my own story, because why I love (humanitarian) work really baffled people, and so I eventually got willing to put it there," the actress said.