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Encore Presentation: Interview with Naomi Judd

Aired February 1, 2004 - 21:00   ET


NAOMI JUDD, COUNTRY SUPER STAR: I attracted a psycho ex-con boyfriend who did heroine and beat me.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight a no holds barred half hour with Naomi Judd. The country super star opens up about her daughters Wynonna's arrest. Her own battle with a life threatening illness and a lot more. A wild one on one your not going to forget. Naomi Judd next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Naomi Judd to Larry King live. The country music superstar one half of the Grammy winning Judd's, with her daughter Wynonna. The other daughter ain't doing too bad either. The author the new book, "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life."

Usually when she's on this show, we talk about health issues or faith. Tonight we're going to talk about a lot of things. But we're going to deal first with the -- before we get to the book, the marriage of Wynonna. Sorry I could make it, what was it like?

JUDD: We missed you and Shawn.

KING: What was it like?

JUDD: First of all, we had a wedding at a tiny little church. Wynonna and I share a valley, called Peaceful Valley. Not that it is always peaceful. But it was so metaphorical and symbolic that we walked out to this tiny church that only sits about 50 people, just blood relative. It was basically her gene pool sitting there. Very meaningful service. But we walked out and I realized we were on our land, which is a big psychological fortress for us, this awesome wilderness. And I looked across the meadow and there were the buffalo and the sheep. I was carrying Gracy (ph), Grace Pauline (ph), who's 7, and I thought, this is just a peak moment. It was just one of those, here's Wynonna with her soul mate, finally. I mean, you've met Shawn...

KING: A great guy.

JUDD: ... your happy. I was just on the phone with Shawn. You've found yours, of course, I got mine. And then to see Wynonna finally with someone who's appropriate for her. But just the whole picture...

KING: We have a great picture from that wedding, by the way, of you and Wynonna and...

JUDD: There's Miss Ashley.

KING: Just starred on Broadway.

JUDD: Miss Broadway.

KING: Miss Broadway.

JUDD: She's playing Maggie. Remember Elizabeth Taylor's in Hen and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Tin Roof" (ph)?

KING: Sure.

JUDD: I was in New York last week, and we were lying in bed just having a mommy daughter moment. She acts like she's about 8. I was rubbing her feet. I said, I'm thrilled that you know how to act on the big screen and of course, on the Broadway stage but it's much more important that you know how to act in real life. And, of course, she rolled her eyes and...

KING: How does Wynonna, is she contrite over the drunken driving charge? How is she handling that?

JUDD: You know her.

KING: What happened?

JUDD: Wynonna is a fabulous driver. First of all, she's been driving since she was 14 which is not a good thing, but we always lived in the country. She'd get my '57 Chevy out. She drives tractors and farm (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But it was the week of her wedding and one of her best gal pals birthday so Wynonna had been under all this stress, she had been touring up the last minute. She had all sorts of preparations to make. And she had a couple drinks, and she absolutely knows better. Wynonna's 39 years old. But she just kind of let it get away from her, and that's all it takes. But how weird is this, I'm the spokes person for MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

KING: You're the spokes spokesperson.

JUDD: Yes. I'm an R.N. I have taken care of far too many people who were involved in motor vehicle accidents.

KING: But she didn't cop out. She (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to it right away, right?

JUDD: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I, of course, didn't have to say a peep to her, because she was devastated. In fact, we were worried about her because she has two children herself. And it was -- it was a gut wrenching time for her. They gave her the maximum sentence because she asked for it. This kid does more charity work in a year than all of the artists I know.


JUDD: Yes, I drive her now.

KING: How did her husband handle it?

JUDD: Well, same as myself and Larry her pop and Ashley. Course, Ashley was sort of giggling about it because Ashley is like a snot on a door knob. She gets away with everything. She's been an actress all her life. But Wynonna always gets busted, pun intended. But Wynonna is not only been given the most harsh sentence, but she's got to do 200 hours of public service, which she already does. I mean, on Christmas Eve our family spent the entire day Christmas Eve, wearing hair nets serving food at the rescue mission because she does it every year.

KING: You have a great family. She's a great girl, your daughter. You ought to be very proud.

JUDD: She even makes DUI jokes now, because she has to laugh to keep from crying. She's feeling very self-conscious. I will tell you this, the day before I came out here on this book tour we spent the whole day together. And she was holding my hand tight. Even when we walked through the movie lobby, she just feels that people are...

KING: Everybody is looking at her?

Do you know what we ought do, you her and Ashley ought to come on together, the three of you.


JUDD: You guys behind the cameras bring your oxygen masks because we can suck it up real fast.

KING: We're going set that up. All right the new book. "Naomi's Breakthrough"...

JUDD: I have to tell you one thing about Wynonna. Her husband has ADD. So you really need to have Roach (ph) on at some point because the two of them together...

KING: He has Attention Deficit Disorder.

JUDD: Yes, so does she.

KING: So they both do. Do they forget they're married?

JUDD: You have to just really see it to believe it.

KING: It's not a funny thing to have.

JUDD: But in our family, we do the bend over double belly laugh every five minutes. So Roach (ph) he asked me, do you know -- he calls me ma'am/mom, do you know how many people with add it takes to change a light bulb?

KING: How many?

JUDD: Hey do you want to go to the movies?

So that's kind of what it's like.

KING: All right. You've written the book "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life." Before you get into that, you're very candid about your own life, right, in this book?

JUDD: Always have been.

KING: Teenage pregnancy.

JUDD: Yes, 17.

KING: Unhappy first marriage. And you got pregnant the first time you had sex?

JUDD: Yes, the night before senior year of high school. And when you had Wynonna on -- and her segment with you was very compelling. It's always so surreal to be sitting in a hotel, I'm on the lecture circuit. I talk about health issue and social activism. I was there in my hotel bathrobe having room service and I'm watching "Sweet Tator" on TV with you. She calls you Uncle Larry. It's so weird. Last night I watched Ashley on "High Crimes." I come in from a very busy day and I'm by myself in a hotel room.

KING: It was a good movie by the way.

JUDD: Thank you.

KING: She was good in that movie. I liked it.

JUDD: She loves those really psychological thrillers. She has this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) torch, inner core that just nails them.

KING: So back to you. You got pregnant your first night?

JUDD: Yes, you all talked about it. What I was going to say on your segment with Wy. My whole life exploded into chaos, because Brian my little red-headed brother, sort of the Andy Griffith Opie kind of character was dying of Hodgkin's Disease in 1963, small town American, Appalachia. Remember that was another time in our society. I was a town good girl and mommy and daddy took Brian to Ohio State University. Took their life savings out to see if they could find a cure for him, and I was left alone, vulnerable. Very sheltered, naive little kid. And this older boy came by and I got pregnant, and I don't fault him. It takes two to tango.

KING: You had the baby?

JUDD: Yes, her name is Wynonna Ellen Judd (ph). I had her graduation night of high school. I graduated right into motherhood.

KING: Did you think of aborting?

JUDD: Never. Never. The pro life organization has asked me to be their spokes person. I mean, here I was small town America 1963, that whole (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I got $1.50 a week allowance. Couldn't drive a car, never worked. So if ever there was a situation -- but it never donned on me, because -- and of course later when I learned about ultrasounds and worked labor and delivery as an R.N., it's not something I could do. However, I just can't tell other people what to do.

KING: Was the father responsible at all?

Did he help?

JUDD: He left town. He split. Soon as I told him. A few months later when I told him, never saw him again, never saw him again. No contact whatsoever, but...

KING: Never in his life?

JUDD: No, never acknowledged her. And that was this horrible spiritual burden that I carried around for the better part of Wynonna life, Because I kept feeling that it was really his role, it was his choice, if you will, to come find her.

KING: Look what it produced, Wynonna. The incredible Wynonna.

JUDD: That's right, there's only one Wynonna.

KING: What a voice.

JUDD: But see she knew about him. It was her choice.

KING: To find out.

JUDD: She never sought him out, which stunned me. They found him dead in a trailer in Appalachian from...

KING: She never saw him?

JUDD: No. She wishes she had now. But I think, and I will say this to any parent out there who's struggling with this deep dark secret. I think that on some intuitive primal level the children know. And I think Wynonna always felt terribly guilty because she never really connected with the guy that I married who gave the kids a name and gave us home.

KING: Let me take a break. When we come back, we'll talk about a breakthrough guide and 20 choices to transform your life with Naomi Judd. Don't go away.



JUDD: I want you to understand that you guys are kind of like my brothers. What I have is a very serious illness, and I'm going to retire. I have got to quit. But I have kind of had my day in the sun. I need to take some time in the shade.


KING: You call yourself a road scholar with a degree in the school of hard knocks. What led to this book "Breakthrough Guide"?

JUDD: I was told in 1990 that I had Hepatitis C and the authorities, the guys in the starched white lab coats said I had three years.

KING: To live?

JUDD: Which was horrific. I found out later that when someone gives us that kind of a grim prognosis, they're putting a medical hex on us. They're giving us a medical curse.

KING: Had a doctor here once say you should never say anyone's terminal. First, we're all terminal.

JUDD: Thank you.

KING: And you should never put that on someone. People do get better.

JUDD: I think it's mental malpractice, frankly. And I really am very much an advocate for revamping our whole medical system. I call it the wealth care system not the health care system.

KING: So how does this lead to...

JUDD: I was told as I was sitting in a wheelchair with my back side hanging out in that little hospital gown. All of a sudden I'm the patient instead of being the care provider, the RN. I felt betrayed by modern medicine that I was so enamored of and I had to strike out on my own so for ten years, I've been sort of sitting at the feet of these brainiacs, Nobel prize winning physicists, Nobel prize winning chemists, a lot of people who have sat at this very desk with you, the most brilliant experts in science and medicine and I studied their double (UNINTELLIGIBLE) placebo based clinical trials and I absorbed all this empirical data and used it on myself. But the whole time I knew, I prayed that I would be sitting here with you right this minute sharing this with standard issue folks. Because that's where my heart is.

KING: But how did this lead to "A Breakthrough Guide With 20 Choices"?

JUDD: I had such a tsunami of information from all this cutting- edge revolutionary information on how people heal.

KING: All this deals with health, all the 20 choices?

JUDD: It's about healing. It's about the psychology of happiness. It's about -- it's about the fact that all emotions drive our behavior.

KING: You say we all make our own choices?

JUDD: Amen.

KING: Bolts of lightning don't happen?

JUDD: I say that we can't choose our circumstances but we always choose our reaction to our circumstances. So, when I had all this information that I had used on myself and I am a documented miracle myself, I'm -- you know me. I'm not going to tell you anything that I haven't done myself. I hope and pray that people trust me because I think they know that that's my role in life to share with them what I have done.

KING: You're giving them 20 things to do? This is like a self- help book?

JUDD: It is a self-help book but last night at my bookstore signing here in Los Angeles, there were hundreds of people -- we do a Q&A, I put mikes in the audience -- and what they were saying is that they've already started reading this and it's not really a self-help book in that genre because it's so personal.

KING: You write everything about yourself?

JUDD: It's so exquisitely personal. I start out telling my story about how I got myself off welfare and food stamps. About how I raised the kids alone even though I felt desperate and anonymous and very scared, often. That I figured out how to get into this preposterous fantasy of making country music a reality for Wynonna. And then, of course, how I saved my own life when I was given a terminal death sentence.

KING: So you write all this?

JUDD: I start out in each chapter with a story. Then I give the actual psychological rationale. I feel very strongly about proving everything that I say and then at the end I have a section called your turn now where I ask you to play detective, become a casual observer and step back in your own life.

KING: How much do you believe in the health area is mind over matter?

JUDD: That's one of the seminal concepts in the book. I studied here at the psycho-neuro-immunology lab here at UCLA as well as Dr. Steve Pinker, who's head of neurosciences at M.I.T. Some of my best gal pals now, Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz. She's a neuro-anatomist, a Ph.D. and a psychiatrist and Dr. Andrew Wiel, you know well. Dr. Dean Ornish is a dear pal. What I found out, Larry, it is -- it's one of the most stunning revelations of my life.

KING: Which is?

JUDD: That the mind -- the brain is a three-pound organ. You can see and you can measure the brain. It's a three-pound thing. I call it a drug store because it has all these pharmaceuticals, these neuro chemicals, hormones and neuro chemicals known as neuropeptides. The brain is a thing. It's an organ. The mind, the mind is an information pathway. The mind is your body's control tower. It tells your brain what chemicals to prescribe and secrete.

So that what happens is that when your mind, the essence of who you are, when your mind tells your brain to secrete all these neuropeptides, serotonin, and dopamine, norepinephrine, the feel-good cascade that makes Larry feel really good, these molecules of emotion, I call them, bind at your organ receptor sites throughout your body so they can help your immune system or they can harm your immune system.

KING: Depending on what you think about them?

JUDD: Exactly. You literally become what you think about all day. I say your belief becomes your biology. And I learned this. I have to give credit to a lady named Candice Perk (ph). She's a neuropharmacologist at George Washington. And I, again, I studied her documentation. I mean, I've sat through slide shows and I garnered all this hard documentation.

KING: You're not dealing with never neverland here?

JUDD: I don't do that.

KING: And we get a break. We'll be back with Naomi Judd's superstar self. The author of "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide. 20 Choices To Transform Your Life." We'll be right back.







KING: We're talking with Naomi Judd, who's come through so much. Did you know what you were doing?

I mean, when you did so many gutsy things with your life, over coming things.

Were you aware of it or is this now looking back saying, I did that?

JUDD: I think all along, my whole voyage of self-discovery has led me to this point. All of the mistakes and the wax and the heartbreak and setbacks and all were really I say life gives us a test first and the lessons come later. KING: Look what you went through, the teenage pregnancy, single mom, two daughters on welfare, strife with your own daughter, your own parents go through a divorce, then you become a superstar, then threatened with a life threatening illness, then you experience enough for several life times when you think about it.

JUDD: It kind of sounds like a country song, doesn't it?

KING: Someone out to write this, right.

JUDD: But there are people out there watching right now that have been through worse. And I know that it's our personal ground zeros that really strip us down and allow us to grow.

KING: But how do we -- how do we make the choices?

You make your emotions work for you, et cetera.

JUDD: Exactly.

KING: How you do that?

JUDD: One of the key things I learned is that emotions drive all of our behavior, all of our behavior. Not the intellect. That's why you and I know so many smart people who are messed up and unhappy. In fact, We Are ten times more likely to be depressed today than we were 40 years ago.

KING: Smarter you are the more likely you are to be depressed. Well, as someone once said, there's a lot to be depressed about. In fact, depression was kind of pretty smart idea when you look around you.

JUDD: Well...

KING: Pessimism ain't a bad idea.

JUDD: Pessimism is a very, very bad idea. It's bad for your spirit and your mind and your body, because your mind...

KING: I'm joking. How do you make emotions work for you?

JUDD: When you have an emotion that's very -- it's very knee jerk reaction. Emotions are very primal and instinctive. They go through the amygdala (ph) which is part of the lymphatic system, the emotional part of the brain.

KING: Don't throw words at us.

JUDD: Some of my neuroscientist friends may be watching.

KING: I can tell.

They'll call me later. But when you have an emotion, it it's so primal. And it's triggered by your childhood. In the book, I show you how to discover your beliefs which create your memories and your experiences. Your beliefs are based on your early childhood. Your memories and experiences. So I lead you very gently through all of this stuff. And I rewrote the book three times so it would be very clarified, very simplified for you and easily, easily understood.

KING: Are you saying Freud was right?

JUDD: No. I prefer Young.

KING: They both deal with the effect of beyond?

JUDD: There's no question about that. When I studied with Dr. Francis Collins, she said the human genome research project at the NIH, she decoded the human genome sequence. We learned, actually, it's a bit more hereditary than environment. We nature, nurture, nature, nurture. We now know it's a bit more heredity than we thought. However when I worked with Dr. Steve Pinker at MIT Neurosciences, we discover that your choices are your personal power, of every moment of your life, you have a moment of power, and that is your choice. So, I say, I would say to the guy standing with me in the checkout line at Wal-Mart that essentially heredity gives you the gun. Heredity hands you the gun, but...

KING: What you do with it?

JUDD: Your choice, your environment pulls the trigger.

KING: Someone once said it's not the fire in the house, it's your reaction to the fire in the house.

JUDD: Absolutely.

KING: And you determine that reaction.

JUDD: I finally realized that I can't show them my circumstances but I can choose my reaction.

KING: Correct.

JUDD: Security is an illusion. I figured that at 17 when my whole world, everything I knew and trusted and believed in exploded into chaos. My little brother died, I'm pregnant. I'm knocked up in small town America in '63. And My Parents started getting a divorce. 85 percent of all parents who lose a child get divorced. How tragic is that?

So I figured out -- that was my first life lesson. I show you in the book how to delve into discovering your core life lessons because they've made you who you are right this second.

KING: The self-help section is you do teach the reader what do.

JUDD: Absolutely.

KING: You're saying 20 choices to transform you life, and you're giving them the choices. JUDD: I show you illustrations from my own life, but then I show you the scientific rational, for instance, that your emotion drives your behavior. Therefore, if you're standing in front of the refrigerator, because you have this emotionally that has you ready to tear the hinges off that sucker and eat everything inside, I show you that the flip part of that emotion is awareness. Where you just for a second remember what good old Naomi said about flipping that mental switch and you ask yourself, am I really hungry or did I just get an irritating call from my mom?

That's your point of power.

KING: I'm the master of my fate. I'm the captain of my soul.

JUDD: Absolutely. I love that.

KING: We're going to take break. "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life." I'll tell you some of the chapter headings, really are incredible. Makes you want to get this. Don't go away.





KING: We're back with Naomi Judd. The book is "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life." It's always great to have her with us.

Here are some of the chapter titles. "Peace of Mind is the Goal." "Change Your Mind, Change Your World." "Life is a Series of Multiple Choice Questions." What do you mean? We always have choices? A, B, C, D?

JUDD: Everything is choices. I'll tell you a quick one. I was over here in Hollywood in my early 20s, and because in life we attract what we feel worthy of, it's all about our self-esteem level. We won't let ourselves have more than we think we deserve. Right? So I was on welfare and food stamps. Didn't have a car to take the kids to the pediatrician on a city bus. I just felt crummy about myself. So I said, on the self-esteem level, mine was probably one on a one to 10 scale. Having said that, I attracted a psycho ex-con boyfriend who did heroin and beat me.

KING: You attracted what?

JUDD: I attracted this sick puppy, because we attract what...

KING: Because you were at that point.

JUDD: Yes, nobody does it to us. We're doing it to ourselves through others, through other people. Our relationship with ourselves is a mirror for the people we attract.

KING: Didn't later when you were going to the Oscars, you had a kind of efiphany (ph) over something?

JUDD: Epiphany.


KING: I'm Jewish from Brooklyn, we don't know. I have never in my life walked down the street and said, epiphany. OK? But I read you had an epiphany. To me, an epiphany is sort of like something you eat. You have an epiphany with potatoes, it's not bad. Put a little epiphany on your crab grass and it will grow better. OK. But you had -- whatever it was you had on the way to the Oscars. What happened?

JUDD: I love to laugh. I love you. Well, now, that night I -- he had broken in, because I finally realized this guy was a turkey. He broke in my house and just beat the bejesus out of me. And I escaped with the kids in their little jammies. And it was very pitiful. I found myself at the Haloway (ph) motel down here in little (ph) Santa Monica. Nice night clerk, we had no money. He let me in, because I was a mess. And I was looking in that little medicine cabinet mirror, and it was looking in the mirror of truth. And I decided to literally and figuratively face myself that night.

And, Larry, absolutely flipped me around, because I realized that battered face -- I was trying to put makeup on my big old black eye, and there was nothing I could do about it. But I had an epiphany that just changed me forever. I realized that I was doing it to myself. And I started going below that superficial reflection and asking myself some hard questions. And I realized that you and I only get to be a victim once. After that, we're a volunteer.

KING: Great statement. When you made it big, hit it real big, things happened, big, limos, red carpets and hit records. Did you always think -- often think back to when you didn't have anything?

JUDD: Always. I mean, today...

KING: Still do?

JUDD: I just don't understand materialism. I choose to live in a very modest two-bedroom house with a carport. My car is 10 years old. I just don't ...

KING: Why? Why? Why live there?

JUDD: I think first of all, I am blue collar. I just have that mentality. Mama lives in a house I was born in -- well, the house I was raised in. She moved it, by the way, years ago. We feel so strongly about home. I say home is where we start from. And it is our heart's resting place. She moved it several blocks because the hospital was encroaching and destroying our neighborhood. She's moving it again next month to another part of town.

KING: So you never forget your roots? JUDD: No. And I never forget the fans who have allowed me to have this platform. And that's what I'm doing right this second on this show. I'm here to offer them this book, because I'm I live, feistier than ever.

KING: One of your chapters says, become a detective and investigate your past. Always look at things that happen to you and how you reacted to them, right? Delve into it. Don't run away from it.

JUDD: It just disturbs me in today's culture that we know more about celebrities than we do our own family members. We live -- I mean, I know you were 9 1/2 when your dad died. Your mom's name was Jenny. She died not too long ago. You have Larry Jr. You've got Kya (ph).

KING: Andy. Little boy. You know all that.

JUDD: I know all that. Not just because I love you and I'm so proud to consider you a personal friend, but you're a big-time celebrity. It's scary that people don't know who they are. And by that, I mean, they don't know what their beliefs are. As I said, they don't understand how to look back with adult informed eyes and look at their childhood.

I talk about birth order forming our personality. I talk about the fact you have a sense of self-esteem by the time, self-worth by the time you're only three stinking years old. You feel like you're a winner or a wiener. So I tell you how to discover your beliefs, what you're based on your memories and your experiences. So that you're free. You've outgrown those clothes. Now you learn how to outgrow those emotional hand-me-downs. Discover your values. Your values are who you are right now.

KING: You write, know forgiveness, know peace. K-n-o-w. Know forgiveness, know peace. No forgiveness, n-o, no peace. N-o. You forgive all the people who have hurt you?

JUDD: I do. But you know what? It was a sweat soaked struggle. I would rather run naked through a teamster meeting.

KING: Did that come through your faith?

JUDD: It did. It did. And can you believe we actually have documented research on how forgiveness is absolutely necessary to heal.

KING: You mean you help yourself when you forgive?

JUDD: Yes. Because all these toxic emotions are encoded on a cellular level in our body. The body has memory. So, forgiveness is not for that idiot that hurt you. Forgiveness is actually a gift you have to give yourself to open up healing. See, the spirit and the mind and the body are a continuum. Your mind believes everything that you tell it. Your mind believes everything you think and say.

KING: The giver gets more than the getter?

JUDD: Yes, that's true.

KING: That's absolutely true.

JUDD: And I'll show you actual techniques and exercise. I'm a real practical sort. And I give you technique to do all this stuff.

KING: One of your chapters says, intuition is your secret guidance system. Can't you have bad intuition? Didn't you ever have a hunch that's wrong?

JUDD: You ask such good questions. Sure, you can, but I think that if you really sort of allow the movie to play out -- intuition is one of my greatest teachers. I practice solitude, which I call the classroom of silence. And I think in this overstimulated, materialistic, phony-baloney society that tries to tell us who to be, we live in homes without walls and they're just constantly trying to get us to buy their stuff, telling us we're not right. So that we are defined by them. They tell us how to think and how to feel about yourself. And solitude allows us to be defined from within by listening to our intuition.

KING: So you're not saying don't make a snap judgment. You're saying take your intuition and look at the next box in the cartoon?

JUDD: Yes. Intuition, if you think about -- intuition...

KING: If I do this, what will happen?

JUDD: Yes, intuition is having the networks. But when you really tune into your intuition, it's like you hook up to satellite, to cable. And all of a sudden, you get all these other channels. And with the intuition, Wynonna, who is such an old soul, she calls intuition when your gut gets it before your head gets around to figuring it out. We were talking about that at the supper table one night, and Wy (ph) says, mommy, what the heck is intuition? You're always telling us that solitude is refreshment for our soul and the divine wisdom that tells us who we really are, our compass. And Ashley said -- she's my intellectual pennant. Ashley said, I was reading Rousseau the other day, and he called it the divine intelligence, which allows us to discern in the twinkling of an eye between vain and deceptive knowledge, and that which is true and right.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll pick up with that. Our guest is -- our guest is Naomi Judd. Hard to believe where she came from.





KING: We're back with Naomi Judd. The book, "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide."

OK, What did Wynonna say?

What did Wynonna say in response?

JUDD: Wynonna -- you know, she's just so B flat. She said well heck yes when your gut gets it before your head gets around to figuring it out. You need to come to supper at the Judd house, it's really interesting.

KING: Says in another chapter risk allows you to become who you were meant to be.

You are saying take risks?

JUDD: That's why I'm here. That's why I'm here. I think it's hard for people to look at us, our clothes match. And, you know, we're -- they don't understand that we are -- we're just like them. You know, we have the same insecurities. We have the same disappointments and betrayals and personal struggles in our personal growth. And I remember so well moving to Nashville, Tennessee. I had 200 bucks in an old plastic pocketbook and a car whose name was hunk- a-junk. The kids wouldn't let me pick them up from school because they were so embarrassed. I had to pick them up at the 7/11. I remember -- do you know what I gave Ashley for Christmas this year, I just thought about, Miss Kitty. Hello Kitty stuff, because when she was little, she -- I just barely had enough to get us food and she wanted this Hello Kitty stuff and I couldn't get it for her.

KING: You got it this year?

JUDD: Yes. I got Wynonna yard art.

KING: What are those problems...

JUDD: Do you know what yard art is?


JUDD: Yard art is the big plaster deer for the front yard. It's hill billy thing.

KING: Are you kidding?

JUDD: Yes.

KING: You didn't?

You bought her that stuff that...

JUDD: Yes.

KING: That's nauseous, that stuff?

JUDD: No. KING: That's terrible. Yard art. Like a giraffe sitting in your yard?

JUDD: It's a deer. I just hope Billy Bob didn't come by and shoot it.


JUDD: We're odd. Like, we are not into materialistic stuff. Last year I took them to Tennessee State Women's Prison. Wynonna said, Mommy next year can't we just go to the mall?

KING: One of your chapters, you become what ever you think about all day. Explain that.

JUDD: We know, and I can explain this on a neuroscientist level. But our thoughts are everything. We create our own agenda. We literally become whatever we think about all day. I talk in the book about how do emotional house cleaning. I get into the area of wound addiction. Some people get really identified with their problem. I'm sure you know a lot of them. I talk about how to -- I'm a recovering perfectionist myself. I talk about control freaks, women who have the disease to please. Energy vampires and all that. I tell you how -- what the problem is, but I also give you very practical way to get over it.

KING: Do you think it's harder in this modern society to help yourself?

JUDD: It's interesting to me that we are -- we're twice as wealthy as we were 40 years ago. We have better education, better health care, more opportunities, more material goods, and we're less happy. We're less happy. We're 10 times more likely to be depressed.

KING: Explain that?

JUDD: There's no doubt in my mind, it gets back to my core issue in this book, that you don't know who you are. That you don't know your values. Your values -- we talk about beliefs based on memory and experience. Your values are what you think is important and what matters to you. People don't -- they don't know. That's why today we have followers, following followers. And I say we only get to be a victim once, we are a volunteer after that. I think Britney Spears is a perfect example, sort of a poster child.

KING: In what way?

JUDD: She was a victim because I think we throw away our prepubescent teens, our little girls. The fabulous book called "reviving your feeling" on the issue. But she was a victim by the society. She didn't have people around her who helped her be defined from within and now, unfortunately, she's the greatest proof of this issue. People are nauseated or turned off by cults, but I think that America today is actually in a cult following the trends. And this phoney baloney...

KING: Society stuff?

JUDD: It's a very transient disposable culture out there. People feel more isolated. I'm so knocked out that people are forming book groups over this book. They're telling me -- in fact, last night I had people buying eight and 10 copies...

KING: It's great.

JUDD: ... at Barnes and Noble and saying they're doing get togethers to have community, to come in unity.

KING: We're back with our final moments with Naomi Judd. The book, "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide." Don't go away





KING: We're back with Naomi Judd. The book is "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life."

You don't hide you age, right?

JUDD: I will be 58. You know what...

KING: You don't look bad.

JUDD: I am little girl in a women's body. See there's three things, there's chronological age, which is how old you are in years. We all know that you're 70.

KING: Go ahead.

JUDD: I saw it on TV.

KING: I know...

JUDD: I sang happy birthday on tribute.

KING: I know, go ahead.

JUDD: We are going to have to talk later.

There is chronological which is the number of years you've been here. There's biological age which has to do with how you're physiologically measuring up. And then there's psychological age. Psychological age is everything. When I look in a woman's eyes, I'm not looking at her wrinkles or whatever. I'm looking for her spirit. I'm looking in her eyes. I feel so strongly about the fact that this culture is whacked. We have got it so backwards about our obsession with youth and beauty. I started a skin care line called Esteem so that I can literally have a tangible manifestation of this philosophy and be vicariously alone with a woman, Shawn, your wife, in the bathroom, get her to look in the mirror of truth and start being defined from within. Start figuring out who she is. The No. 1 cause of mental illness is not knowing who you are. And this culture, people don't know who they are.

KING: Is there a judge on Star Search II? Do you like doing that?

JUDD: Be afraid, be very afraid.

KING: Are you going to be like the evil judge?

JUDD: No. I'm the one that will tell you if you need a breath mint. Arsenio Hall and I are the only ones that were asked back. We have two new judges. It starts January 17, on CBS live.

KING: What do you mean by this title, resign as general manager of the universe? Stop controlling things?

JUDD: Exactly. I say that when you are dusting a picture frame, you don't see the picture. That was one of the blessings of my illness. When you get Hepatitis C, since the liver is sort of the most overworked misunderstood organ in the human body, it shuts down your show. I was in a fetal position. In bed. I couldn't brush my own teeth. I really had to quit being this perfectionist, I'll do it myself.

So I learned the hard way. And I think that illness is actually a message that something's out of balance in your life. We know that 85 percent of all illnesses are stress related. One of the first messages I got from having Hepatitis C was to live fully in the moment.

KING: Are you still learning?

JUDD: Oh my gosh. I have insatiable need -- get that look out of your eye. I have this...

KING: Just cut it out.

JUDD: Were we married...

KING: You set me up. Don't give me prior lives. You set me up pretty good.

JUDD: To learn.

KING: Two scorpios flying over the table. Stop that.

JUDD: I get out there on life's highways and I'm just a student of human behavior. I am learning more now. Life is absolutely fascinating. And I want to -- I go out on these book signings, as I said, I do Q&As, the pinch and ouch. I put microphones in the crowd and they're now people coming that have formed these book groups. And I have my personal history.

I say it's never too late, by the way, to have a happy childhood because I teach you how to look back with informed eyes and see everything in completely different light. Truth is circumstantial. So, when they ask me these questions, these very stimulating questions in these Q&A sessions, I keep getting insights. I just keep getting led further and further. Ideas get stronger when they're shared.

KING: So you're learning every minute? Every day is a new adventure?

JUDD: Absolutely. Life is unpredictable. And we don't know. I had a couple really close calls. By cracky, I'm going to -- somebody said it's not how many breaths you take, it's how many moments take your breath away. So I live in the moment.

KING: Are you going to sing again?

JUDD: I just found out that the Judd duet on Wynonna's new CD "What The World Needs Now Is Love" is going be the next single.

KING: So you're back?

JUDD: I have always been around.

KING: I know, but I mean you're back back.

JUDD: Sometimes I go in the woods and figure out how to write great books like this.

KING: You're a doll. Thank you, darling. Naomi Judd. The book is "Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices To Transform Your Life." The publisher is Simon and Schuster. Thank you very much.

JUDD: You're in it.

KING: I'm in this book?

JUDD: Yes. I credit you. All these interviews, inner-views, have helped me learn about myself.

I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on LARRY KING LIVE. There's more news ahead on your most trusted name in news, CNN. Have a great rest of the weekend. See you tomorrow night.



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