Wynonna Judd

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Wynonna Judd
Wynonna Judd performs live.jpg
Judd in 2018
Christina Claire Ciminella

(1964-05-30) May 30, 1964 (age 58)
  • Singer
  • television personality
Years active1983–present
  • Arch Kelley III
    (m. 1996, divorced)
  • D. R. Roach
    (m. 2003; div. 2007)
  • Scott "Cactus" Moser
    (m. 2012)
RelativesAshley Judd (half-sister)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Formerly ofThe Judds

Wynonna Ellen Judd, or simply Wynonna (/wˈnnə/ wy-NOH-nə; born Christina Claire Ciminella; May 30, 1964), is an American country music singer.[1] She is one of the most widely recognized and awarded female country singers. In all, she has had 19 No. 1 singles, including those with The Judds, making her one of the best-selling country artists of all time. Her solo albums and singles are all credited to the single name Wynonna. She first rose to fame in the 1980s alongside her mother, Naomi, in the country music duo The Judds. They released seven albums on Curb Records, in addition to 26 singles of which fourteen were No. 1 hits.

The Judds disbanded in 1991 and Wynonna began a solo career, also on Curb. In her solo career, she has released eight studio albums, a live album, a holiday album, and two compilation albums, in addition to more than 20 singles. Her first three singles were "She Is His Only Need", "I Saw the Light", and "No One Else on Earth". All three reached number one on the U.S. country singles charts consecutively. In 1996 "To Be Loved by You" also hit number one, her fourth number one and top ten hit. Three of her albums are certified platinum or higher by the RIAA. Her most recent recording is Wynonna & the Big Noise, which was released on February 12, 2016, followed by the release of the single "Cool Ya'" that same month. "Recollections" was released in 2020. Wynonna is most recognized for her musical work, although she has also pursued other interests starting in the 2000s, including writing, acting, and philanthropy.

In 2022, Wynonna was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a member of The Judds.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Wynonna was born Christina Claire Ciminella[4] in Ashland, Kentucky, on May 30, 1964.[5] Her mother (then known as Diana) had quickly married Michael Ciminella after being abandoned by Charles Jordan, her boyfriend and Judd's biological father.[6] Jordan died in 2000.

Her mother and Ciminella had a daughter together they named Ashley. The couple moved with the two girls to Los Angeles in 1968, but were divorced by 1972.[5] By 1976, The mother took the girls with her back to Kentucky. Christina was inspired by the country music that her mother listened to and learned to play guitar. In 1979 the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, so Naomi and Christina could pursue musical careers. There her mother legally changed her name from Diana to Naomi, and Christina adopted the stage name "Wynonna" after the song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", which mentions the town of Winona, Arizona, in the lyrics.[7]

The Judds[edit]

Wynonna and Naomi were signed to RCA Records in 1983 as the duo the Judds. Between 1983 and 1991, the Judds charted 23 hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles (now Hot Country Songs) charts, including 14 number ones. They also recorded eight studio albums, one Christmas album, and two Greatest Hits compilations. In their six-year career, the Judds sold more than 20 million records worldwide and had won over 60 industry awards, including five Grammy Nominations, nine Country Music Association awards (seven of them consecutive), and eight Billboard Music Awards.[8] At the time, they were the biggest-selling duo in country music and remained so until they were eclipsed by Brooks & Dunn in the 1990s.[5]

Chronic hepatitis C forced Naomi into retirement following a 1991 farewell tour.[5][9] After the duo broke up, Wynonna signed to MCA Records in association with Curb Records as a solo artist.

Wynonna reunited with her mother for a 1999 New Year's Eve concert to ring in the year 2000 sponsored by K-Mart. They embarked on a full-fledged tour together in 2000, and four new Judds songs were released on an exclusive bonus disc with Wynonna's album, New Day Dawning.

The Judds again reunited in 2010 for "The Last Encore", an 18-city tour. As a result of the tour excitement, Curb Records announced the release of a new album from the Judds, I Will Stand by You: The Essential Collection, which featured two new songs and twelve of the duo's hits. The album was released on April 5, 2011.

On June 1, 2013, the Judds celebrated their 30th anniversary as a recording duo.

Solo career[edit]

1992–1998: Breakthrough success[edit]

Wynonna Judd performs live

On January 27, 1992, Wynonna performed solo on television for the first time at the American Music Awards. She unveiled "She Is His Only Need", the first single from her self-titled solo debut album. This album, Wynonna, was released in 1992 via MCA/Curb, under the production of Tony Brown.[10] "She Is His Only Need" went to number one on the Billboard country singles charts that year, as did the album's next three singles, "I Saw the Light" and "My Strongest Weakness". "No One Else on Earth",[5] was also the number one country song of 1992 according to Billboard Year-End. "She Is His Only Need" and "No One Else on Earth" were also minor Adult Contemporary hits, and the latter peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. "My Strongest Weakness", the album's final single, was a No. 4 country hit. The album shipped five million copies in the United States, earning a 5× Multi-Platinum certification from the RIAA.[11]

Her second album, Tell Me Why, was released by MCA/Curb in 1993.[5] Also a platinum-selling album, it accounted for five consecutive Top Ten hits on the country charts: the title track, "Only Love", "Is It Over Yet", "Rock Bottom", and "Girls with Guitars", which was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter. "Tell Me Why" was her third crossover hit, peaking at No. 77 on the pop charts and No. 24 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Between "Tell Me Why" and "Only Love", she sang guest vocals on Clint Black's 1993 single "A Bad Goodbye" (from the album No Time to Kill), which became her biggest pop hit at No. 43. The success of this song led to a tour called the Black & Wy tour, featuring Black and Wynonna as headliners.[12]

In 1994, she also made an appearance on the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute album Skynyrd Frynds, on which she covered their song "Free Bird". She also sang duet vocals on pop-Christian singer Michael English's debut single, "Healing", which peaked at No. 120 on the pop charts. After "Girls with Guitars" fell from the charts, Wynonna became the subject of negative publicity, as she had a child out of wedlock.[5] She was absent from the country charts for all of 1995. In 1996, she married Arch Kelly, the father of her daughter and son.[5]

Revelations was the title of her third album, released by MCA/Curb in 1996. Also certified platinum, this album was led off by her fourth and final number one hit, the Mike Reid/Gary Burr co-written "To Be Loved by You". Despite this song's minor Adult Contemporary success, the album's other three singles did not fare as well:[5]

Wynonna's fourth and final album for MCA was titled The Other Side. Unlike her previous country pop-oriented albums, this album focused on a more blues and rock sound.[5] It was released in 1997 and produced four singles. The album did not sell as well as her first three, however, only earning a gold certification. Its singles were not as successful on the charts, either: although "When Love Starts Talkin'" and "Come Some Rainy Day" reached No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, "Always Will" fell short of Top 40 and "Love Like That" became the first single of her career not to chart at all. After the release of a greatest hits album called Collection, Wynonna left MCA in favor of Mercury Records.[5]

2000–2004: Success in the new millennium[edit]

In 1999, Wynonna decided to reunite with her mother for a tour beginning on New Year's Eve. A month later, Wynonna released her fifth solo album, New Day Dawning. This album, the first of her career that Wynonna co-produced, included a four-song bonus disc entitled Big Bang Boogie composed of four new Judds songs.[5]

What the World Needs Now Is Love, her sixth studio album, was released in August 2003, on Curb records. Lead-off single "What the World Needs" reached the Top 15 on the country charts, followed by the lesser singles "Heaven Help Me" and "Flies on the Butter (You Can't Go Home Again)", at No. 37 and No. 33 respectively. This latter song, originally recorded by Lari White on her album Stepping Stone, featured backing vocals from Naomi, and was credited on the charts as "Wynonna with Naomi Judd" instead of the Judds. Judd had success on the Hot Dance Airplay charts with a cover of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is". Her rendition peaked at No. 12 on that chart in 2005.[13] Also included on What the World Needs Now Is Love were two songs from soundtracks: a cover of the Elvis Presley hit "Burning Love", which Wynonna recorded for the animated movie Lilo & Stitch, and "You Are", co-written by Judd, which was included in the movie Someone Like You, a film starring half-sister Ashley Judd.[citation needed]

2005–present: New career directions[edit]

Wynonna Judd in July 2016 performing with her band the Big Noise

Her second release for Asylum-Curb was a live CD/DVD package called Her Story: Scenes from a Lifetime, released in 2005 which was concurrently released by with her best selling autobiography, Coming Home to Myself. The album included one new studio track, "Attitude". Written by Wynonna and John Rich of Big & Rich, this song was issued as a single, peaking at No. 40 on the country charts. That same year she released her first solo Christmas album called A Classic Christmas that included a Latin version of Ave Maria. She also sang an overdubbed duet with Elvis Presley on the 2008 RCA album Christmas Duets.

Sing: Chapter 1, her first studio album in six years, was released on February 3, 2009, on Curb Records. This album is largely composed of cover songs, except for the title track, an original composition by Rodney Crowell. It also reunites her with producers Brent Maher and Don Potter, who produced all of the Judds' 1980s albums. This album's lead-off single is "I Hear You Knocking", a blues standard first recorded by Smiley Lewis. On May 9, 2009, a seven-song EP containing dance remixes of the title track was released.

On September 14, 2010, the Judds appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show where Wynonna discussed "her recent weight loss, her year of living dangerously and what it's like going back on stage as part of the iconic duo, the Judds".[14] The Judds also performed their new single "I Will Stand By You", released October 4, 2010. "I Will Stand By You" was released as the title track to the Judd's 2011 Greatest Hits collection, I Will Stand by You: The Essential Collection.[citation needed]

In 2011, Judd released her first novel, Restless Heart.[citation needed]

A new single, "Love It Out Loud" was released in May 2011. On November 27, 2011, Wynonna debuted her new band "Wynonna & the Big Noise" in Nashville, TN at 3rd and Lindsley. In March 2013 Wynonna released "Something You Can't Live Without", the first single off her forthcoming full-length album, produced by her husband/drummer Cactus Moser and set for release 2013 on Curb Records. This album—her first with all new material in over four years—was recorded in her own home studio and is deeply personal, especially noting the life-changing events the couple experienced in 2012.[citation needed]

Judd released a new studio album, Wynonna & the Big Noise, on February 12, 2016. The album produced Two singles 'Jesus And A Jukebox' and Things I Lean On'.

In October 2020, Wynonna released a new extended play titled ‘Recollections’ via Anti Records[15]

On April 30, 2022, Naomi Judd died of suicide by gunshot. She had suffered for years from depression and mental illness.[16] It was nineteen days after the final performance of The Judds at the 2022 CMT Music Awards and a day before The Judds would be inducted as a duo into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

When The Judds were inducted into the Hall of Fame the following day, Wynonna and her sister Ashley paid tribute to their mother on stage.[17] A memorial service for Naomi Judd was televised on May 15. Wynonna announced that she would honor the original tour dates she and her mother had planned for summer 2022 as a tribute to her.[18]


Judd provided the voice of the rock star Molly Cule in the cartoon The Magic School Bus (Meets Molly Cule) and Blue's Clues in 1999. During the fifth season of Touched by an Angel, Judd guest starred as a singer whose son was dying of cystic fibrosis. In the year 2005 Judd was a guest star on the show Hope & Faith in the episode "Wife Swap: Part 1 and Part 2" where she played the mean and rich Cynthia. In October 2005, she sang "It's About Love" for the VeggieTales episode Lord of the Beans. In 2006, Wynonna hosted the fourth season of USA Network's Nashville Star.[8] In 2007, Wynonna starred in a special television event on NBC honoring her 23-year career, titled "Wynonna: A Tribute on Ice". It featured skating champions such as Kimmie Meissner and Brian Boitano. Both Wynonna and Naomi performed on this special. She also appeared as herself on the NBC sitcom Kath & Kim.

In August 2009, she guest starred as herself on the 10th anniversary of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, with Regis Philbin for Backpack Ministries.[19] In May 2010, she guest starred as herself on season 4, episode 6 on Lifetime's Army Wives.[20] In November 2020, Judd was a supporting character, Marilyn Jinway, in the Hallmark Television film A Nashville Christmas Carol.

The Judds[edit]

On April 10, 2011, the Judds debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The six-episode, American reality-documentary television series followed the daily life of Wynonna and Naomi Judd as they prepared for and traveled on tour. The series also shed light on the duo as they worked to strengthen their bond.[citation needed]

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

Wynonna was a contestant in 2013 on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with all-star season champion Tony Dovolani.[21]

Honors and recognition[edit]

In 2007, Wynonna was given a star on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville, in her honor.[22]

In 2005, she received the USO's Merit Award for service to all divisions of the United States Armed Forces.[23] She teamed with Habitat for Humanity to record "Heart of America", with Michael McDonald and Eric Benét, which helped raise over $90 million for victims of natural disasters to the Gulf Coast. She continues to bring attention to the global emergency of AIDS in her fourth year as United States Ambassador for YouthAIDS.[24]

On May 1, 2022, Wynonna and Naomi Judd were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as members of The Judds.[25][2]

Additional interests[edit]

On June 7, 2008, Wynonna sat down for a live Internet chat for her fans in which she was asked questions submitted during the session. Over 6,000 fans signed up in a 5-minute span causing the server to crash. A total of 18,000 fans eventually logged on to watch Wynonna's chat live via Stickam.com.[26][27] In 2009, she also became the spokeswoman for Alli, the only FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss product, which featured the artist in a national marketing campaign.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Wynonna and businessman Arch Kelley III had a son together before marrying in 1995. They had a second child together but divorced in 1998.[5]

Wynonna married again, to D. R. Roach, her former bodyguard, on November 22, 2003, in Tennessee. On March 22, 2007, he was arrested for sexual assault of a child under the age of 13; she filed for divorce five days later.[29]

In November 2003, Wynonna taped an appearance on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show discussing what she described as a severe dependence on food.[30] The episode aired in February 2004. Judd had been working with the show in an effort to lose weight and get to the root of her dependence. In September 2005, she made a second appearance on the show, discussing how she had lost some weight. She also focused on improving relationships with her mother and her father Michael Ciminella, from whom she had been estranged for almost a decade.

Wynonna was a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards, conducted to support independent artists' careers.[31]

On December 24, 2011, Judd became engaged to boyfriend Scott "Cactus" Moser, best known as the drummer for Highway 101.[32] They married on June 10, 2012, at her home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee.[33]

On August 18, 2012, Moser was severely injured in a motorcycle crash in South Dakota. He was on U.S. Route 16 in the Black Hills when he crossed the center line and hit a car. Injuries required his left leg to be amputated above the knee.[34][35]

In June 2018, Wynonna's daughter Grace was sentenced to 8 years in prison for violating her probation period. She had pleaded guilty to possession, manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamines.[36][37]


Studio albums

Compilation albums[edit]


  • The Reunion (1999)
  • Live From Venice (2002)
  • Her Story: Scenes From A Lifetime (2005)
  • Live From My Place (2021)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Billboard Music Awards

  • 1992: Country Single (No One Else On Earth) Award
  • 1992: Best New Country Artist Award

Music Business Association

  • 1992: Best Selling Country Female Award

Country Music Association Awards

  • 1992: Female Vocalist Nomination
  • 1992: Best Album Nomination
  • 1992: Best Duo (with Clint Black) Nomination
  • 1994: Female Vocalist of the Year Nomination

Playboy Awards

  • 1993: Concert of the Year (Black and Wy) Award

Academy of Country Music Awards

  • 1993: Top Female Vocalist Nomination
  • 1993: Album of the Year Nomination
  • 1994: Top Female Artist Award
  • 2003: Humanitarian of the Year Nomination

Grammy Awards

  • 1993: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: "Wynonna" - Nomination
  • 1994: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: "Only Love" - Nomination
  • 1994: Best Country Vocal Collaboration: "A Bad Goodbye" (w/ Clint Black) - Nomination
  • 1995: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: "Is It Over Yet" - Nomination

American Music Awards

  • 1997: Favorite Female/Country Nomination

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • 1997: Top Female/Country Nomination

GMA Dove Awards

  • 2005: Favorite Country Recorded Song Nomination

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Judds | Family, Songs, Albums, & Facts | Britannica".
  2. ^ a b Williams, Chris (May 1, 2022). "Judds Inducted Into Country Hall of Fame in Tearful Ceremony a Day After Naomi's Death". Variety. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  3. ^ "Ray Charles, The Judds to join Country Music Hall of Fame | The Seattle Times". Archived from the original on August 16, 2021.
  4. ^ "Fast Facts". Wynonna official website. Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Huey, Steve. "Wynonna Judd biography". Allmusic. Retrieved April 12, 2008.
  6. ^ James, Susan Donaldson (April 1, 2011). "Ashley Judd's Story of Abuse Echoes Family's Sad Narrative". ABC News. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  7. ^ Dukes, Billy. "Country Stars' Real Names: Wynonna Judd". Taste of Country. Archived from the original on August 17, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Wynonna: Bio". Wynonna official website. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  9. ^ "Country Music | Ken Burns | PBS | Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd Biography | the Judds Songs | Country Music". PBS.
  10. ^ "Wynonna-Review of Wynonna's first self-titled album". About.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
  11. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  12. ^ Buttars, Lon (September 25, 1993). ""Black & Wy" give 2 great shows in 1". Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  13. ^ "Dance/Mix Show Airplay". Billboard. January 15, 2005. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Wynonna & The Big Noise | News". Wynonna.com. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  15. ^ "Wynonna Recruits Jason Isbell for Self-Titled New Album". Rolling Stone. November 6, 2015. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  16. ^ "Naomi Judd, of Grammy-winning Duo The Judds, Dies At 76". Bloomberg.com. April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  17. ^ "Judds Inducted into Country Hall of Fame in Tearful Ceremony a Day After Naomi's Death". May 2, 2022.
  18. ^ "Wynonna announces she'll continue the Judds tour without mother Naomi Judd". Entertainment Weekly.
  19. ^ "404 Not Found | firstcoastnews.com". www.firstcoastnews.com. Retrieved March 11, 2023. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  20. ^ "Wynonna Judd To Sing On 'Army Wives'". accessonline.com. February 22, 2010. Archived from the original on April 8, 2022. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Dorothy Hamill and Andy Dick among 'Dancing' stars". New York Post. February 26, 2013. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "Walk of Fame: Inductees". Music City Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on November 6, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  23. ^ "CNN.com - Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. January 19, 2007. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  24. ^ "Youth Ambassadors". Archived from the original on February 23, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  25. ^ Kristin M. Hall, AP Entertainment Writer (May 1, 2022). "The Judds, Ray Charles join the Country Music Hall of Fame". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 1, 2022. Retrieved May 1, 2022.
  26. ^ "Wynonna: Stickam blog". Stickam Blog. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  27. ^ "Wynonna: Timeline". Wynonna official website. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  28. ^ "Healthy Weight Loss Pill". Myalli.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  29. ^ "Wynonna Judd's Husband Arrested in Texas". CBS News. March 27, 2007. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "Wynonna Judd". Oprah.com. November 13, 2003. Archived from the original on May 12, 2022. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  31. ^ "IMA Judges 2007". Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  32. ^ "Wyononna Engaged". December 29, 2011. Archived from the original on May 12, 2022. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  33. ^ Gicas, Peter (June 20, 2012). "Wynonna Judd Ties the Knot!". E! Online. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  34. ^ "Wynonna Judd Postpones Shows After Husband's Crash". Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  35. ^ "Wynonna Judd's Husband – Leg Amputated After Motorcycle Crash". TMZ. Archived from the original on August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  36. ^ "Wynonna Judd's daughter Grace sentenced to 8 years in prison". www.msn.com. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  37. ^ Evans, Morgan (June 26, 2018). "Wynonna Judd's daughter, Grace Pauline Kelley, sentenced to 8 years behind bars". Fox News. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.

External links[edit]