"I literally went from the outhouse to the White House," she told "Good Morning America" last year. "I traveled, I took friends, I rented jets. I loved the great rock star lifestyle."
Her financial woes became so bad that Judd turned to a one-of-a-kind residential treatment center, called Onsite, that treats money disorders.
As for her sister, Ashley Judd, she said her abuse started as pre-teen when she was growing up in Kentucky. An old man lured her into an empty storeroom by telling her he would give her a quarter to play a pinball machine, and then molested her.
She writes she was traumatized again when her family and other adults wouldn't believe her. Later, Judd said she was a victim of attempted rape while she was working as a model in Japan.
Ashley says she only learned to fight her demons after entering rehab for depression at Shades of Hope in Texas. Therapy sessions there exposed memories of childhood incest. Judd said she still has bouts of depression.
The stunning actress, who has three times appeared in People magazine's list of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World," said she wrote her book to help others with the shame.
Judd left Hollywood after her marriage to Dario Franchitti in 2001 and now spends her time in her husband's home in Scotland and on a Tennessee farm that she now shares with her mother and sister.
She will return to the screen in the film "Tooth Fairy" this year.
Celebrity watcher Palmer said writing the book and working as an advocate for those living with AIDS also helped Judd exorcize her painful childhood.
"She has put all her energy into philanthropy," she said. "She felt like she had a connection because she felt like a victim herself."
"Her story is so appealing and that's why we are interested in it," said Palmer. "It's her way of healing."