HomeArts & EntertainmentMusicWynonna Judd Gives the Realest of Acceptance Speeches at People's Choice Country...

Wynonna Judd Gives the Realest of Acceptance Speeches at People’s Choice Country Awards

Recipient of the Country Champion Award talks about the day her mother Naomi committed suicide

Wynonna Judd received the Country Champion Award at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards. Brothers Osborne presented Wynonna with the award, which recognized her “commitment to philanthropy and social advocacy.” And then she performed “I Saw the Light” and “No One Else on Earth” while standing in the circle of the Grand Ole Opry House stage. In black lace gloves and her signature fiery red hair, Wynonna bellowed and swaggered, dropping an ad lib or two — “I’m still here,” for instance in “I Saw the Light” — into her performance.

But it was the acceptance speech she gave after her two-song set that was equal parts heart-rending and inspiring. For a few edge-of-your-seat minutes, she commanded the standing-ovation audience to be seated, recounted doing the hair of her mother, Naomi, while on tour for 10 years as the Judds, and candidly spoke about the day her mom and singing partner took her own life in 2022.


“On April the 30th of last year, my mother committed suicide. I went to her house and she died there, but we followed the ambulance anyway to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. I walked into the room and I held her in my arms, kissed her on the forehead and shut her eyes, and said, ‘I love you, Mom,’” Wynonna said. “And I walked out of that room, went home, got up the next morning and showed up at the Country Music Hall of Fame to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. You know why? Because that’s how much we love music.”

To drive the speech home, Wynonna pivoted to her age, acknowledging that many of the audience members in the Opry House may not know who she is. “You were not born when I had my years of being fabulous,” she said. “But back in 199blahblah, Tim McGraw opened for me.”

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