What happened to Ashley Judd?

Ashley Judd is an award winning actress whose acting career has spanned more than three decades.

Born into a family of performing artists – her mother was the late country music legend Naomi Judd – the Golden Globe and Emmy award nominated actress’ notable roles include Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, and De-Lovely. Judd has also made a name for herself as a political acitivst and an especially prominent voice during the Time’s Up movement.

With Judd appearing less on screens big and small over the last several years, it is time to ask: what happened to Ashley Judd?

Acting career

Ashley Judd began her acting career when she landed a role as Ensign Robin Lefler in the famed 1991 sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was a minor role as she only appeared in two episodes, but it served to increase her exposure as an actress. It didn’t take long before Judd had a recurring role on the NBC drama series Sisters from 1991 until 1994. Her Hollywood film debut came in 1992 when she starred in the action comedy Kuffs alongside Christian Slater, Tony Goldwyn, and Milla Jovovich.

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Judd’s popularity shot up in 1993 when she was cast as the titular character in Victor Nunez’s acclaimed drama Ruby in Paradise, which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the Sundance Film Festival, and Judd scored the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.

Judd continued to rake in critical acclaim for her performances in successful films like the ensemble drama Smoke, and Michael Mann’s crime epic Heat. Judd also portrayed a fictionalized version of Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe in the HBO television film Norma Jean & Marilyn. In the Emmy nominated film, Judd recreated Monroe’s iconic photoshoot for the first issue of Playboy. Her other commercially successful films in the nineties include: A Time to Kill, Kiss the Girls, and Double Jeopardy.

In the 2000s, Judd’s filmography consisted of a mixed reception of films. In 2004, while she was praised for her portrayal of Linda Lee Porter in De-Lovely, Judd also starred in the hugely panned psychological thriller Twisted. After the latter’s critical and commercial failure, Judd’s Hollywood career suffered through a string of unsuccessful films. By the 2010s, she has starred in a few financial successes, including: The Tooth Fairy, Olympus Has Fallen, A Dog’s Way Home, and the Divergent movie franchise.

In 2012, Judd starred in the ABC thriller series, Missing, which was her first television role in over a decade, and her first leading TV role ever. Although Missing was canceled after one season, Judd’s performance was praised, and she earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

Activism and humanitarianism 

Judd has taken past experiences and used them to encourage and educate women and young girls. She was one of the more prominent actors to call out Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault, and has continued to advocate for assault victims. Judd spoke with Salma Hayek for Town & Country magazine, as the two recounted their experiences working with the disgraced film producer.

“I didn’t feel afraid. But remember, I’ve told this story from literally the moment I left that hotel room with Harvey. My dad was with me that day, and he could tell by the look on my face, to use his words, that something devastating had happened, and I told him. And both the producer and director of Kiss the Girls said recently that when I went to the set that night, I told them what had happened. I’ve been telling this story—but the seismic shift is that now everyone is willing to hear it. The tweak was naming Harvey, and I felt comfortable doing that.”

For over a decade, Judd has been involved in various humanitarian efforts, fighting to bring awareness to, and improve gender equality and sexual health rights for women and girls. Judd was named the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities in 2016, and has worked with YouthAIDS to promote awareness, and impact social change across several countries. 

What is Ashley Judd Up to Now?

While on a hike in Congo last year, Judd took an almost fatal fall when she had tripped over a fallen tree and broke her leg in four places. Judd spoke to about the ordeal with Kate Roberts, on the podcast, Sex, Body & Soul.

“I was in hospital in South Africa for about nine days. And then I was medevaced to Tennessee. But when I got to South Africa my leg didn’t have a pulse and I was hemorrhaging, and if I had been medevaced to Europe, I would’ve bled to death.”

Recently, two-time golden globe nominee took a 25-mile hike to celebrate recovering from the injury she sustained last year, and revealed that she could not wait to travel again to continue her humanitarian work.

Judd’s mother, country music legend Naomi Judd, died by suicide on April 30, a day before Naomi and Ashley’s half-sister Wynonna were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as the duo, The Judds.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. A list of international crisis resourcescan be found here.