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Ashley Judd (born April 19, 1968) is an Americamarker actress, well known for playing a number of strong women characters in films such as Ruby in Paradise, Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy, and High Crimes.

Early life

Judd was born Ashley Tyler Ciminella in Granada Hills, Californiamarker, the daughter of Naomi Judd, a well known country music singer and motivational speaker, and Registered Nurse who worked at West Valley Community Hospital in Encino, California and Michael Ciminella, Jr., a marketing analyst for the horseracing industry. Judd has a half-sister, Wynonna Judd, who is also a country music singer. At the time of her birth, her mother was unemployed and did not become well-known as a singer until the early 1980s. Judd's parents divorced in 1972, and in 1973, her mother took her back to her native Kentuckymarker, where Judd mostly grew up. She also lived in Marin County, California for two years during grade school.

Judd attended thirteen schools before college, including the Sayre School in Lexington, Kentuckymarker and Franklin High School in Tennesseemarker. She briefly tried modeling in Japan during one school break. An alumna of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gammamarker at the University of Kentuckymarker, she majored in French and minored in anthropology, art history, theater and women's studies. She spent a semester studying in France as part of her major, a move that mirrored her role as Reed in the television series Sisters. She graduated from the UK Honors Program and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa, but did not graduate with her class. Forgoing her commitment to join the Peace Corps, after college she drove to Hollywoodmarker, where she studied with well-respected acting teacher, Robert Carnegie, at Playhouse West. During this time, she worked as a hostess at The Ivy restaurant and lived in a Malibu, Californiamarker rental house, which burned down during the great Malibu fires of fall 1993. On May 9, 2007, it was announced Judd had completed her bachelor's degree in French from the University of Kentucky. In a May 2007 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Judd explained she had completed her degree requirements in 1990 with 27 more hours taken than the required 120 hours, but had mistakenly thought she was one class short. She only needed to "sign a piece of paper" in order to graduate. DeGeneres then surprised Judd by presenting her with her diploma, which DeGeneres had acquired from the university.


Judd appeared as Ensign Robin Lefler, a Starfleet officer, in two 1991 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Darmok" and "The Game". From 1991 to 1994, she had a recurring role as Reed, the daughter of Alex (Swoosie Kurtz), on the NBC drama Sisters. She made her feature film debut with a small role in 1992's Kuffs. In 1993 Judd fought for and was cast in her first starring role playing the title character in Victor Nuñez's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winning, Ruby in Paradise. She received rave reviews playing Ruby Lee Gissing, a young woman trying to make a new life for herself, and it was this performance that would launch her career as an actress. Oliver Stone, who had seen her in Nuñez's film, cast Judd in Natural Born Killers, but her scenes were later cut from the version of the film released theatrically. But the following year she gained further critical acclaim for her role as Harvey Keitel's estranged daughter in Wayne Wang's Smoke and also as Val Kilmer's wife in Michael Mann's Heat. That same year she also played the role of Callie in Philip Ridley's dark, adult fairy tale, The Passion of Darkly Noon.

By the end of the 1990s, Judd had managed to achieve significant fame and success as a leading actress, after leading roles in several thrillers that performed well at the box office, including Kiss the Girls in 1997 and 1999's Double Jeopardy. Several of her early 2000s films, including 2001's Someone Like You and 2002's High Crimes, received only mixed reviews and moderate box office success; although, she did receive positive recognition, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, for her performance in the 2004 biography of Cole Porter, De-Lovely, opposite Kevin Kline.

Judd is currently the magazine advertising "face" of American Beauty, an Estée Laudermarker cosmetic brand sold exclusively at Kohl's department stores, and H. Stern jewelers. In June 2007, Goody's Family Clothing announced they were going to be releasing three fashion clothing lines with Judd in the Fall to be called - "AJ", "Love Ashley" and "Ashley Judd." Regarding the clothing line, Judd said, "I'm thrilled to be involved in a clothing line that provides simple, lovely solutions for women's wardrobes. I've always loved items that you can throw on easily and know that you'll feel and look good. This line does just that, while keeping with the best of current styles and trends."

Personal life

During the 1990s, Judd dated baseball player Brady Anderson, singer Michael Bolton, and actor Matthew McConaughey. In December 1999, she became engaged to Scottishmarker auto racer Dario Franchitti, who was at the time driving in Champ Car World Series (he has since raced in IndyCars and NASCAR). The two were married at Skibo Castlemarker, near Dornochmarker, Scotlandmarker, on December 12, 2001. She and her husband divide their time between a home in Scotland and their farm outside Franklin, Tennesseemarker.

Ashley regularly attends University of Kentuckymarker basketball games, frequently sitting next to Donna Smith (wife of former Kentucky Coach Tubby Smith), or in the student section. Last year, Judd was a guest columnist for a local Kentucky newspaper, writing about the NCAA championships. She is frequently sought out for celebrity camera shots during televised games. Judd posed for a poster wearing only a hockey jersey for fund raising purposes for their alma mater's hockey team. She is also an avid practitioner of yoga, cooking and gardening.

In February 2006, Judd entered a program at Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texasmarker and stayed for 47 days. She was there because of personal issues, including depression and codependency.

Judd is active in humanitarian and political causes. She was appointed Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of the international NGO Population Services International (PSI), promoting AIDS prevention and treatment, and speaks and demonstrates at pro-choice events. Judd was honored November 10 as the recipient of the fourth annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero. Award for her work with PSI. Judd received the award at a private award gala on the evening of November 10, 2009 at The Montage Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills. Guests enjoyed special celebrity tributes to Ashley Judd, dinner, a silent auction and an exciting live auction, with all proceeds to benefit PSI. On October 29, 2006, Judd appeared at a "Women for Ford" event for Democratic Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. She has also campaigned extensively locally and nationally for a variety of Democratic candidates, including President Barack Obama in critical swing states.

A disagreement between Judd and Indy race car driver Milka Duno took place during the 2007 Indy Racing League season. After the final race of the 2007 season, the actress stated to the assembled news media, "I know this is not very sportsmanlike, but they've got to get the 23 car (Duno) off the track. It's very dangerous. I'm tired of holding my tongue. She shouldn't be out there. When a car is 10 miles (an hour) off the pace, it's not appropriate to be racing. People's lives are at stake."

Judd was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky on May 9, 2009. In July 2009, Judd enrolled at Harvardmarker's John F. Kennedy School of Government in the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) program.

Political activities

In 2008, Ashley supported Barack Obama.In 2009, Judd appeared in a one-minute video advertisement for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, in which Judd condemned Alaska governor Sarah Palin for supporting aerial wolf hunting. In response, Palin stated the reason these wolves are killed is to protect the caribou population in Alaska, and she called the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund an "extreme fringe group".


Year Title Role Other notes
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Robin Lefler "Darmok" and "The Game"
1991–94 Sisters Reed Halsey 32 episodes
1992 Kuffs Wife of Paint Store Owner
1993 Ruby in Paradise Ruby Lee Gissing Won the 1993 Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female
1994 Love Can Build a Bridge Ashley Judd
1995 Heat Charlene Shiherlis
Smoke Felicity
The Passion of Darkly Noon Callie
1996 A Time to Kill Carla Brigance
Norma Jean & Marilyn Norma Jean Nominated for the 1997 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Normal Life Pam Anderson
1997 Kiss the Girls Dr. Kate McTiernan
The Locusts Kitty
1998 Simon Birch Rebecca Wenteworth
1999 Double Jeopardy Elizabeth 'Libby' Parsons Nominated for the 2000 MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
2000 Where the Heart Is Lexie Coop
Eye of the Beholder Joanna Eris
2001 Someone Like You Jane Goodale
2002 Frida Tina Modotti
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Younger Vivi Abbott Walker
High Crimes Claire Kubik
2004 De-Lovely Linda Porter Nominated for the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Twisted Jessica Shepard
2006 Come Early Morning Lucy
2007 Bug Agnes White
India's Hidden Plague Herself
2008 Helen Helen
2009 Crossing Over Denise Frankel
2010 Tooth Fairy Completed


  1. Ashley Judd Biography (1968-). USA WEEKEND Magazine
  2. Actress of the Week (2006)
  3. [1]
  4. Ashley Judd
  5. Newman, Judith. "We are Family" Ladies' Home Journal (March 1998, pages 152-155, 213-214)
  6. Blackford, Linda. Ashley Judd is finally a UK graduate Lexington Herald Leader (May 10, 2007)
  7. Ashley Judd: Can you tell her movies apart? | Twisted (Movie - 2004) | Movie News | Movies | Entertainment Weekly
  8. » Blog Archive » Ashley Judd to design clothing collection with Goody’s
  9. Ashley Judd - Judd Lashes Out At Eating Disorder Claims
  10. The Star Online eCentral - Malaysia Entertainment
  12. Austin American-Statesman wire story. September 11, 2007 -
  13. "India's Hidden Plague

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