Wynonna Judd's New Beginning

ByABC News
August 1, 2003, 12:22 PM

Aug. 2 -- She calls herself Xena with a guitar. When she strides on stage and unleashes that powerful voice she does resemble a country western goddess but that confidence, that strength, that bravado is only on stage. Off stage it's been a different story.

Behind the big hair and the flashy clothes Wynonna Judd has always struggled with self-doubt. In the last few years, with her divorce, the death of her father and the battle with her weight, that self-doubt has been debilitating. "You know, I'd be in a fetal position in that bed, sometimes literally, out of fear of, what if I can't sing that well enough? What if it doesn't go number one? What if everybody wants to hear all these other women singers but me? I mean, that'll kill you," she said.

A Survivor

But at 39, Wynonna is a survivor and her new CD reflects it.

It's got a happy, even perky, feel to it, and she planned it that way.

"I'd like to be perky. You know, I've battled depression. But I feel worthy now, and it's taken me going to hell and back so many times.

Deep in the heart of rural Kentucky, Wynonna was the first child born to Naomi Judd, who, at the time was an impoverished teenage mother. Four years later, her sister Ashley was born. After their parents were divorced, the two sisters became inseparable. "We were on welfare," Wynonna said, "We were in a place where we had nothing but each other."

With no TV or radio, the girls made up their own entertainment. For Wynonna, it was music. She was good enough to win a high school talent show. And when she and her mom began harmonizing around the kitchen table, the Judds were born. By the time Wynonna was a teen she and her mom had a record deal. That home-grown entertainment led to six gold records, 18 No. 1 country singles, and five Grammy Awards. They were one of the best country western duos in history until 1990.

Naomi was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and could not go on performing. Wynonna was on her own. It was the beginning of a dark period for her the birth of real fear that she alone wasn't good enough. And then there was life on the road.