Naomi Judd remembered by Brandi Carlile, Bono and more in emotional celebration of her life
Following her recent passing, country star Naomi Judd was remembered in a touching celebration of her life by big names like Brandi Carlile, Bono, Oprah, Emmylou Harris and her daughters, Wynonna and Ashley.
Naomi, who died on April 30, must have smiled at the event, which took place at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The event, Naomi Judd: A Celebration of the River of Timeaired on CMT.
Wynonna sang “River of Time” during the ceremony, at the start, then closed the evening with her local Christ Church choir singing the song “Love Will Build a Bridge”. She also sang with Carlile on a duet of “The Rose”.
Says Wynonna, “It’s so strange to be here, but natural at the same time. I’ve lived my life in public since I was 17, so it feels natural to be here with the family of my choice.
Others present were Brad Paisley, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, Jamey Johnson, Harris and Allison Russell. TV show host Robin Roberts was there along with Bono, Oprah, Reba McEntire, Salma Hayek, Reese Witherspoon and Morgan Freeman.
“We can pretend to care, but we can’t pretend to show up, so thank you for coming for our mom,” her daughter Ashley Judd said.
Later in the event, Wynonna and Ashley remembered their mother. “Let’s talk about what a sultry single mom she was,” Wynonna said. “Enough of that love stuff.”
“She was a little wacky but she loved us,” Ashley said.
Naomi’s husband and former Elvis backup singer, Larry Strickland, joined Naomi’s daughters on stage, saying, “Naomi has never met a stranger. Much to my annoyance, she would strike up a conversation with anyone who looked her in the eye.
Bono then took the stage to recite the lyrics to Judds’ song “Guardian Angel”, which was co-written by Naomi.
In filmed testimony, Oprah spoke about having the Judds as guests on her show about 22 years ago. Oprah said Naomi will be fondly remembered “for every life she touched. Thank you Miss Naomi Judd for touching mine.
Hayek offered, “I remember Naomi as a one-of-a-kind person, a force of nature to be reckoned with who managed to have, at the time, a disarmingly almost hypnotic sweetness. She was always so nice to me, and yet she always managed to intimidate me… I feel very, very privileged that she came into my life.
At the end of the celebration, Wynonna said, “It’s so beautiful what happened here tonight. Life is so strange.
Featured image by Katie Kauss/Getty Images for CMT