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Naomi Judd‘s new limited-run SiriusXM radio talk show has no safety net and even the country star says with a laugh she isn’t sure that’s a great idea.
“If you’ve been at a press conference, you know I’ve said things I haven’t thought of — whoa,” Judd said. “That’s why they asked me. And there’s no 5-second delay. I’m wandering the woods without a map.”
Judd hopes Think Twice, which starts its six-week run of hour-long Friday morning episodes June 8, will be a place the satellite radio network’s 22 million subscribers can turn to for a free-form discussion of ideas and topics, from current events and politics to hot-button issues like abortion and evolution.
“I want people to think twice,” Judd said in a phone interview. “That’s why I came up with the title, because in today’s culture, in this ADHD culture, people don’t understand the real important stuff. I want people to be talking about this stuff at the water cooler, around the kitchen table. I may have a total brainiac on who’s one of the most important people in the world, but I want to translate it for standard-issue folks because that’s where my heart is. I want to tell them how this is affecting their everyday life.”
First up, though, the 66-year-old Grammy winner will examine her own life and her relationship with daughter Ashley Judd. Mother and daughter will sit down together in front of a studio audience next Tuesday to tape the debut episode.
Judd’s voice filled with emotion when she described her feelings about the interview. She said that though the two have spent time together since Ashley Judd published a memoir last year that placed stress on their relationship, they have not spoken about the book or the revelations that Ashley was sexually abused as a child, including by a family member.
When All That is Bitter & Sweet was published last year, Ashley Judd said she’d never told her mother of the abuse. Both Naomi Judd and her other daughter, duo partner Wynonna Judd, say they also suffered sexual abuse.
“I admit I’m a little nervous about doing it because this is the first time that Ashley and I have ever done anything together,” Judd said. “And I’m going to ask her about what happened in our relationship — whoa, I have to take a deep breath before that one.”
Judd said she would also ask her daughter about her feelings over the recent cancellation of her television series Missing and her emotions watching her husband, three-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti race in the aftermath of the death of his close friend Dan Wheldon.
“I know she’ll want to talk about her severe depression and share some ways that have gotten her to such a happy, stable place,” Judd said. “But I think really it’s probably going to be about our relationship because there’s some … Oh, boy.”
Judd says she has now read Bitter & Sweet. In the end, she said she felt it was her duty as a parent to read the book. Now she thinks the things she learned during the process can be instructive for parents who are dealing with similarly difficult issues.
“I had to take a deep breath before I opened the book and I read it by myself when I was in a good mood and had space and time,” Judd said. “I knew I would probably be hollering out loud at certain things — ‘It didn’t happen that way! I was there!’ – but (I was) acknowledging that anyone in a relationship has a completely different reality, and I wanted to know what my daughter’s personal experiences and journeys were.”
The remainder of the season will be live call-in shows that will be replayed Saturday morning. She’s pulling her guest list from her personal rolodex, which is full of Nobel Prize winners and leaders in the science, medical and technology fields, deep thinkers and interesting people.
Guests already scheduled include National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis S. Collins and Dr. Helen Morrison, a forensic psychiatrist specializing in serial killers. And there’s a handful of physicists she’d love to quiz.
“I don’t take vacations,” Judd said. “I love the ocean, but I’m just not one to lie on the beach. So for three days I went up to Princeton for a seminar on quantum physics.”
It’s that sort of insatiable curiosity she wants to share with her listeners.
“I hope to blow away stereotypes,” she said. “I’m not just a big-haired redhead country singer who dresses flamboyantly, has this wicked sense of humor and wears rhinestones. They have no idea about my underground secret life for 20 years.”
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