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Larry King Live

Wynonna and Naomi Judd Discuss 'The Power to Change'

Aired January 28, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they're back in tune and kicking off their first tour in nearly nine years. Naomi and Wynonna Judd are here for the entire hour, and they're taking your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's great to have them, and to know them and to be with them. They're the Judds, Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd, and they're back, six- time Grammy award winners. They have sold times of albums, broken all kinds of records.


KING: Wynonna's new album is "New Day Dawning" from Mercury. That goes in stores next week. They have a big reunion tour, and the tour is called "Power to Change." It kicks off February 4 in Denver.

Why the title, Power to Change?

N. JUDD: Because we want to tell everybody it's not too late to take your life back.

KING: Was your life gone?

N. JUDD: No, we're telling them, and we're telling you. My life is fab -- actually three words fab-u-lous.

KING: How did this come about, Wynonna?

WYNONNA JUDD, SINGER: A conversation between mother and daughter on a beach, as corny as it sounds, talking about the millennium last year, coming into the 2000 idea, freaking out about the future, but yet faithful about the Judd family and what are we going to do about the next 50 years.

W. JUDD: Where do we grow from here.

KING: Because when you two ended, you were on with us, and you said goodbye, you will not do this again. So what prompted the change? Just because it's a millennium?

W. JUDD: Because mom is cured. Because I'm doing great. Ashley is thriving. All three Judd women just wanted to come together and celebrate, and just stop for a minute and say, thank you.

KING: It ended why? Why did you stop, Naomi?

N. JUDD: I had hepatitis C. I contracted it by a needle when I worked as an ICU nurse. And it's a killer disease. Four times more people will die with hep-C than AIDS in this next decade, believe it or not, it's that much of a booger of a disease.

KING: You stopped working.

N. JUDD: Yes, I was told, go home and die. They gave me about three years based on the pathology report of the liver biopsy, and I take a licking but I keep on ticking. I am cured. I have been free of the virus for two years now.

KING: What cured it?

N. JUDD: I took a drug called Interferon. It doesn't really kill the virus. It just interferes, hence the name. It interferes with the virus's ability to replicate.

But I also -- and you know this, because you and I are pals -- but for the last eight years, I have been studying all the various ways that people can heal, and I have integrated all the integrative medicine approaches, and I have learned how to change my lifestyle.

KING: Did her getting better bring you closer, Wynonna?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Because you splits, right?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Let's discuss that. Let's go back.

W. JUDD: Let's talk about me.

N. JUDD: Let's not.


KING: Because we know about, if there's power to change, who's changed more than just you two, right? OK, the two of you -- were you a singer by yourself?

N. JUDD: No, never.

KING: You had were never been a singer.

N. JUDD: No.

KING: How did the Judds start?

N. JUDD: I was going to become a MD. I really loved medicine so much. And I was finishing nursing school, and this little 12-year-old had the chops.

KING: And she was singing at 12.

W. JUDD: Yes I was. I knew then.

KING: And Ashley was how old then? Eight?

N. JUDD: She was 8.

W. JUDD: Eight.

N. JUDD: And I will tell you this, because of Chance, your 7- month-old, and you're going to have another...

KING: Ten-month old.

N. JUDD: Is he?

KING: He's aging.

W. JUDD: And you're bringing him tonight for me to squeeze him until his eyes pop out, OK.

KING: Later on, he'll be here.

W. JUDD: Then you've got another one coming in June.

And I would say this to all the parents out there, the greatest gift you can give your children is your time, and the mountaintop experience that summer when she was 12 and Ashley was only 8 years old, I took away the TV, believe it or not, and she discovered music, and Ashley discovered a book. And tonight, all across America, Ashley's big movie "Eye of the Beholder" opens because she fell in love with her imagination.

KING: And were you Wynonna, what might be called natural? Were you a natural singer?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: You just took to it?

W. JUDD: Never had any kind of schooling whatsoever. It comes from within.

KING: Did you know you wanted to be a singer at a young age?

W. JUDD: Yes. I knew I wanted to be a dreamer. I knew that I wanted to take chances. I watched her long enough to know that we were crazy, and I was going to jump out there and do something weird and wonderful, and I just went for it.

KING: Crazy how? How were the Judds at that time crazy?

N. JUDD: Take risks, you know. You always make fun of our red hair, and that is a visual symbol for us to say, live in technicolor, don't live in boring black and white. W. JUDD: Crazy as in I think people think sometimes that I'm crazy in this music world because I take such chances. I'm sort of a rebel.

KING: Musically you take chances?

W. JUDD: Yes, and I think people think that's crazy because it's not the norm, but I've sort of carved out a niche for myself in this business as being, you know, a rebel with a guitar, and I think I knew even as a child, it has nothing to do with number ones, it has nothing to do with success; it has to do with the spirit of being a Judd woman and being able to jump out there and go for it.

KING: Since you were not a singer, what prompted this to be an act? Why wasn't it just Wynonna?

N. JUDD: She wouldn't leave -- she just wouldn't leave me alone.

It was, frankly, a hormonal convergence.

KING: What?

W. JUDD: Let's say it all together.

N. JUDD: She was going into puberty. And being a single, working, struggling mother, and I was always very expressive, very emotional and creative myself, so -- and I actually read this in "Rolling Stone." This is how I found out the answer to your question. She was doing an interview after she went solo, and she said, that I realize now that summer when I was 12 that I was terrified because I needed my mom so much, and I love my mother so desperately, and she was all I had so I began to resent her, because I was trying to individuate, but yet...

KING: What -- you had to learn to sing?

N. JUDD: Yes. But we learned to sing together because we were having such problems.

W. JUDD: It's instinctual, but it's also something that cannot be taught. I think you have to be -- I think you have to have it within, you know what I am saying?

KING: There's the early Judds.

Now how did Ashley take all this? What was the affect on her?

W. JUDD: She went into her room and sort of discovered herself, because the two of us were so linked, you know, singing together.

KING: She was kind of left out?

W. JUDD: She was at times, and it's unfortunate at the time, because there was some guilt there when we'd go on the road and leave, but she carved her own path, and she did it herself so -- and look at her now. KING: The saga of the Judds continues. There they all are. And we'll be back with more of Naomi and Wynonna, six-time Grammy winners. We could list all things think won, all the records they've sold, and they're back on tour starting in February. We'll be back with more, and we'll include your calls.

Don't go away.


W. JUDD AND W. JUDD (singing): Is there a man who will turn your head and knock you off of your feet? Sweet talk and big blue eyes make a cold heart skip a beat. He'll drive you wild with a smile, and then he'll treat you cruel. Well I ain't going to fall for that because momma didn't raise no fool.

So give a little love and squeeze in a little kiss. Give a little hug, I want some more of this. Take a little time. Yes, make a little fuss. That's what a woman wants, so give a little love.


KING: We're back.

Want to take a peek at the Judds over 20 years ago when they appeared with my friend Ralph Emory? Watch.


W. JUDD AND W. JUDD (singing): I always do what my mama says, say my prayers and go to bed. She tells me dress like a lady. She wants to see me dressed with ribbons in my tresses. I know mama must be doing something right, because she's got a man each and every night.


KING: Naomi, the clothing was rather normal then, Naomi. You looked out of you know downtown Woolworth. What was that?

N. JUDD: I got -- it's vintage clothing. That was 6:00 in the morning. Wynonna's in high school. I was working as a nurse at a small hospital in Franklin, Tennessee. That's a little song I wrote while I was doing the supper dishes one night. And what was that?

W. JUDD: "Hoochie-Coochie Mama."

KING: When the Judds started, what was the first hit?

W. JUDD: "Mama He's Crazy."

KING: OK, was that -- how old were you then?

W. JUDD: Eighteen.

N. JUDD: Nineteen. KING: Was that a big hit?

N. JUDD: Yes.

W. JUDD: Number one.

KING: I mean, did the Judds get real known right away?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Was there anything bad in that?

N. JUDD: No, see I was 37, so I had already...

KING: Anything bad for her in that? Too much too soon?

W. JUDD: A little bit. It was like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose for me, trying to keep...

KING: Wild, suddenly your famous, right?

W. JUDD: It was wild. It was staying in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, ordering room service at midnight, thinking I was on the path of Elvis, you know, rich and famous, stuff happening everywhere around me, trying to live up to the expectations of a parent.

N. JUDD: What bothered me, because what matters more to me is the personal stuff. You know, I was telling Ashley on the phone this morning, it's so much more important to me that you know how to act in real life as opposed to the big screen.

W. JUDD: That's hard to do, though, when you're in a goldfish bowl.

KING: Yes, but she was 19 years old.

N. JUDD: Well, I know, that's what I'm saying. She never had to balance a checkbook. She didn't have to go pick up her dry cleaning before 5:00, because they would close.

W. JUDD: No, but I had a corporation with about 50 employees that I had to take care of, and I don't have time to do that, mom. You do that.

KING: How did you get a recording contract so quick?

N. JUDD: We walked into -- I used to go down my one day off on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, my one day off from the hospital, and spray on a lot of Jungle Gardenia cologne, and put a fresh flower in my hair and my little $10 swap meet dress and say, hi, y'all, you want to hear our record?

KING: Were you a show business mom?

N. JUDD: No.

W. JUDD: Yes.

N. JUDD: Wait a minute -- I wouldn't let you play in a band or do anything until you graduated.

W. JUDD: Well, it depends. See, everybody...

KING: But she plugged for the both of you, right?

W. JUDD: She was a show business mother. Of course, she was raising two very high-spirited, creative women. You know, so when you say showbiz mother, she wasn't a stage mother, pushing us up on stage.

N. JUDD: Yes, big difference.

KING: No, she wouldn't she go work if it's bad for you.

W. JUDD: Right.

KING: But she was there, right? You wanted that recording contract? You...

N. JUDD: For her, I felt like she really needed it, because she was a little different from the other kids.

W. JUDD: Well, and she was also wanting it badly, too. That was something that we discovered on the mountaintop in Kentucky. We had stars in our eyes. I mean, I saw you, and you would wear those little dresses. You were working it, baby.

KING: Was there any at this time male influence in the Judds' life. Did you remarry? No?

N. JUDD: No.

KING: Did you have any -- was the father close to the kids or not?

W. JUDD: I had a father manager. I had someone who sort of understood me more musically than personally, and I sort of remember walking into his office feeling like, OK, this is the way it's going to be. It was like the old days when they were the manager and you were the singer, and I learned a lot. I learned a lot in those 10 years, but I would never want to go back to that.

KING: And you had a string of hit, right? A ton of hits? You were making a lot of money?

N. JUDD: I think what happened, Larry, is I think people -- I think they saw themselves in us. I think they knew that we were small town girls from Ashland, Kentucky, and that we...

KING: No pretense?

N. JUDD: Exactly. We didn't try to be something we weren't.

W. JUDD: Well, they were watching us live our lives in front of them, and they felt like this with us. They felt like they were rooting for us and praying...

KING: How did they know you so personally? How did they know all about you? Well, this is true of country music singers, right? This is the Nashville idiom -- you're closer to your fans than any other element of showbiz?

W. JUDD: This is back in the old-fashioned days, when we actually would walk into radio station and sing live. This is back in the days...

N. JUDD: With a guitar, just...

W. JUDD: This is back in the day when we'd have fan club parties and we'd invite 3,000 of our fans and hang out with each one of them.

KING: Elvis did that in the '50s.

W. JUDD: Yes. This is a time when careers were made; it wasn't just one-hit wonders. We actually had a fan base and a foundation in country music. and from there, we went out into the world, so.

N. JUDD: But I think they knew that I was a single, struggling working mom. And you know, right now, 18 percent of all American households are single-parent households. I think they knew that we were very spiritual. We have deeply-held beliefs. We're high spirited also, as well as being spiritual. And so we, you know, we love fun. We're wacky.

KING: Do you think you missed the male influence?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Do you think that would have been important for the kids?

N. JUDD: I'd be interested to hear Ashley's take on that.

KING: What's yours?

N. JUDD: I know beyond a shadow of a doubt...

W. JUDD: I was raised mainly by strong women, and...

KING: You mean other than Naomi?

W. JUDD: Yes, I think my grandmother, what you would call the matriarchs of the...

KING: Naomi's mother or your father's mother?

W. JUDD: Both actually. They both had a huge impact on me in terms of learning about life, but she was just about all I had, and I wanted more, and I still pray and think about it a lot, about what it would have been like, but should have, could have, would have.

KING: Did you ever remarry? N. JUDD: Oh, yes. I married Larry Strickland, who was Elvis's backup singer. Larry and I have been together 20 years, have -- it's the jewel in my crown. You know, we have the most satisfying...

KING: I never see him though. Every time I see you, it's just you.

W. JUDD: Would you come and hang out with the two of us all day in a dressing room?

KING: He's got a good point.


N. JUDD: He's our manager.

KING: Because I've been on your show. You've had your own show. I was your guests, right?

N. JUDD: Yes. You were so good.

KING: I've never met Larry Strickland.

N. JUDD: Larry Strickland is a man's man. He's from a salt of the Earth family down in North Carolina.

KING: How did does he treat his stepdaughters?

N. JUDD: You tell them.

W. JUDD: It's wonderful to have a relationship with someone who doesn't try to tell me who I am, who supports who I am personally more so than professionally. Everything else is born from that.

KING: Ashley is not married?

W. JUDD: No.

KING: Are you engaged? Someone reported that you were engaged.

W. JUDD: Who me?

KING: Yes.

W. JUDD: Heck no.

KING: Let me look this up. I thought I saw this today.

W. JUDD: You've been reading those tabloids again, Larry.

KING: No. Someone reported you were engaged.

W. JUDD: I am not engaged. I am sort of free and single and looking for love on the Internet as I said today on "Donny and Marie." Just kidding.


KING: OK, recent reports -- all right, I'll just tell you what it says here, say you're engaged to your bodyguard, Dan Roach.

W. JUDD: Engaged? No.

KING: OK, I like effect, though. That really made Dan feel good, right? That's makes him good -- feels like an idiot? To me? To Dan? Are you kidding?

W. JUDD: No. It's in the tabloids at this point, and I'm sort of waiting too see what happens next.

KING: I didn't know my producers read them.

W. JUDD: I didn't know I was having so much fun.

KING: We'll be right back with the Judds on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll take your phone calls, too.

Don't go away.


W. JUDD AND W. JUDD (singing): Mama, he's crazy, crazy over me. And in my life, it's where he stays I always want to be. I've never been so loved. He beats all I've ever seen. Mama, he's crazy. He's crazy over me.


KING: Before we ask Naomi about raising two volatile daughters like this, what caused problems between the two of you Wynonna? I mean, that was well reported, that the two of you were not always...

W. JUDD: Wow, that's a great question. How do I answer that in...

KING: You don't have to answer it. Well, I mean, you don't have to. But I mean, what caused it?

W. JUDD: I think at 18, when you're supposed to be getting your own apartment and making all your mistakes away from home, I was on a bus. Think about it, folks, you know, on a bus with mom, trying to live up to all the expectations, wanting to be by myself, wanting to be with her, wanting to honor her. You know, the Bible says honor thy mother and thy father, never said anything about being on a bus.

KING: Were you always religious?

W. JUDD: I've always been spiritual. I've always run from religion. I've always kind of run from God.

KING: Organized religion. W. JUDD: But God has constantly saved me. So I think that's what saved our relationship, because quite frankly, we were like tying two cat's tails together and throwing us over a clothesline when we first started out. Now we get along so well, it's kind of scary.

KING: Naomi, did you make some mistakes? What was the biggest?

N. JUDD: Nobody's ever asked me that. Well, you're the titan of talk. I should...

KING: The titan of talk. By the way, are we picking the Titans Sunday? You don't care, do you?

W. JUDD: The tight ends, you mean?

KING: Titans.

W. JUDD: Oh, the Titans. Yes, yes, I am.

KING: I'm picking them. OK, just everybody has a Super Bowl pick. I'm picking Nashville. I love the St. Louis Rams. I've just got a feeling about the Titans.

W. JUDD: I want everybody to win, but unfortunately, we've got to pick one, and they're from Nashville, so there.

KING: OK, the titan of talk goes back to his question.

N. JUDD: I think the greatest mistake I made was probably in the ways I communicated. I was a screamer and a yeller, and people asked me all...

KING: To both kids?

N. JUDD: Yes, much more for Wy, because she was much more problematic, you know, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, children...

W. JUDD: I am writing a book, by the way, someday called "My Story," no.

KING: She was tougher?

W. JUDD: I was very emotional. Ashley was inward. I was outward. OK, I'm a singer. If I feel something, Larry, I am going to holler it. She's within, I am without -- outgoing. And I think was much more of a communicator.

N. JUDD: Well, behavioral therapists tell us that children...

W. JUDD: Answer the question.

N. JUDD: They form their personalities within the sibling structure. That's how you develop all your little personality quirks, and Wynonna was very boisterous. She was incredibly high maintenance. So when Ashley came along, she was much more of a smooth ride. KING: So you shouldn't have screamed?

N. JUDD: No, it doesn't work. It does not work.

KING: Were there periods of time when you didn't talk to each other?

N. JUDD: Yes.

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: And still sang together?

N. JUDD: Yes.

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: What's that like? In other words, two people not getting along...

W. JUDD: It's Hell on Earth.

KING: ... who go on stage together, smile, look at each other, play to that audience.

W. JUDD: If you think about the fact that people who stutter can sing. People who have accidents...

KING: You're acting then.

W. JUDD: ... and all that. There is something magical, because music is a language all of its own. Music...

KING: You fake it then?

W. JUDD: It was my therapy. I have to admit that it was grace, you know, grace and mercy.

KING: So the two of you could not talk to each other all day, not talk to each other backstage - -ladies and gentlemen, the Judds -- how you doing!

W. JUDD: I was extremely honest about our relationship in the interviews. It got me in trouble, because I was always appearing to be the, sort of, rebellious...

KING: Bad one.

W. JUDD: Yes, and I kind of resented that, because I was living my life in front of everybody. But musically, we always could communicate, always.

N. JUDD: Harmony is not only two voices singing in unison; harmony is one voice deciding to complement, bolster and support another.

KING: During this period, did Ashley take sides?

N. JUDD: No, and that was...

KING: She was close to both of you?

N. JUDD: That actually create and lot of emotional angst for Ashley, because she loves us -- there are three Judds, and I feel very vindicated finally that America knows that. Because first we were a duet, then there was a solo Judd, when she went out on her own and individuated. Now everybody knows that there have always been three Judds.

KING: One could say that Ashley is pretty known.

We'll be back with more of the Judds on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. In a couple of minutes, your phone calls.

Don't go away.


W. JUDD AND W. JUDD (singing): My shepherd woman, you broke into my (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I'm out of control. How did you get to me? No one else on Earth could ever hurt me, break my heart the way you do. No one else on Earth was ever like this. No one could touch me like, no one can love me like you.


KING: The Judds have sold more than 26 million albums, had 14 singles rise to number one, were named country music duo of the year, eight straight years and...

N. JUDD: Oh, stop, stop.

KING: ... some of those eight, you weren't getting along. Must have been wild to go up and get award.

W. JUDD: You keep talking about that, man.

KING: Well, let's set it straight. Do you think you've been misunderstood?

W. JUDD: Yes, I do.

KING: OK, where?

W. JUDD: But I'm OK now with it. I just want people to remember that it's it's hard being in this business at 18. I'm past all of that now, so I don't dwell on the past. It just -- it conjures up all kinds of moments when I'd come in off the party...

N. JUDD: ... wagon.

W. JUDD: And I'd get on the bus, and she'd be sitting there in her pajamas were her arms folded, saying, you know, if you were not on stage, I'd ground you for a week.

KING: You were judgmental?

W. JUDD: Yes.

N. JUDD: Yes, I used to have a real issue about that.

W. JUDD: She wanted me to be everything couldn't be. I think we all live vicariously through our children.

KING: Did your illness get you closer?

W. JUDD: Yes, I have held her in my arms and watched her be vulnerable, unlike I ever have before.

KING: Did you think you were going to lose her?

W. JUDD: Yes.

N. JUDD: She would literally crawl into bed with me at night. She'd get her pajamas on and just crawl in bed with me and hold me, me because I would be in such pain and be aching so terribly, you know, have the headache from Hell that would go on for months and months.

KING: But you have a lot of faith, right?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: You're a very believing person. Did you ever doubt your faith during this period?

N. JUDD: Never.

KING: You know, you're lying in bed, you think you're dying, you don't question God?

N. JUDD: I can honestly tell you that the one thing I never questioned was the fact that there is divine order, that there is a supreme being behind the universe. I've always known that. It's as if it's in my DNA.

W. JUDD: Now we questioned why. I'll tell you right now. I have questioned why a thousand times, but I have not questioned who, and that's the only thing that's gotten me to where I am today.

KING: Now you have your own radio show. You do motivational speaking. You did a CBS TV movie, right?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Now you're back on tour. Are you back all the way now? Are you in...

W. JUDD: Back all the way?

(LAUGHTER) KING: But I mean, are you a total show business person again?

W. JUDD: Can't you tell by her hair?

N. JUDD: I don't think I have ever been a show business person. My greatest performances happen off stage.

KING: Are the Judds now -- is this just like a farewell, hello?

N. JUDD: It has an end.

W. JUDD: It has an end.

KING: It has an end, and it will end?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: And you'll go back to being a solo?

W. JUDD: I'll go back to my real job.

KING: Which is singing as Wynonna, right?

W. JUDD: It's wonderful to be -- yes, I will. In April, I have an album coming out...

N. JUDD: "New Day Dawning."

W. JUDD: ... by myself. That's what's wonderful of about this family -- we come together, we do stuff, but we individuate as well. Ashley and I are talking about doing sometime, acting together.

KING: Like.

W. JUDD: It's a dream to be with her in a movie. I said, if I can just touch the hem of your garment.

KING: Can Ashley sing?

W. JUDD: Yes. Yes she can.

KING: Does she want to sing?

W. JUDD: I think Ashley could get a record deal. There's no doubt in my mind. That child is fearless.

N. JUDD: She is. She is fearless.

KING: Has you sung, the three of you?

W. JUDD: She has sung with us. And Elijah and Grace love her singing. Of course, they're 5 and 3, so she had to start somewhere.

N. JUDD: You know, it all goes back to that magical summer when she discovered that her gift was music. That's how she communicates her innermost, and, you know, she has this radiant inner core, and Wynonna is an authentic singer. She is the real deal. She sings with such emotional honesty.

W. JUDD: Thanks, mom.

N. JUDD: Ashley Judd, when she discovered that book -- and actually, I still have it -- C.S. Lewis, "Chronicles of Narnia." When I handed that child a book, she just -- her fantasy blossomed. She just began to fall in love with literature and her imagination. She's the most voracious reader.

KING: Will you be doing a lot of new material on this tour?

W. JUDD: Yes, we will be doing the classics. You're going to be seeing the past meets the present meets the future with this tour. You're going to see things that you haven't seen before, but you're going to see the familiar conversations between us on stage that, you know...

KING: How many cities?

W. JUDD: Twenty one.

KING: Starts February 4 in Denver. The Judds are back in "The Power to Change" tour. We're going to go to your calls right after this.

Don't go away.


W. JUDD (singing): How could I know that everything would change except the way I miss you on some rainy days?



KING: We're back with the Judds, Wynonna and Naomi. They're on tour starting February 4th, "The Power to Change" tour.

Let's go to some phone calls, and this is Nashville, Illinois -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I...

KING: There is a Nashville, Illinois?



CALLER: My question is for Wynonna. Being young and starting singing and growing up as a young woman, how has your children adapted to your success?

W. JUDD: They don't get it, and I love that.

KING: How old are they?

W. JUDD: They're 5 and 3 1/2. And they don't -- they know that mommy sings, but past that, they were raised in a bunk, they're on a bus. They think that's normal, but yet it's not a big deal to them. And I really love it that we're going to be on the road together with grandmother.

KING: How does grandmother -- how do you like being a grandmother?

N. JUDD: Oh, it's a deal, because when I was raising Wy and Ash, I was on welfare, I didn't have a car. It was grim. And now this is fun.

KING: You were pretty broke, huh?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Greenwood, Nova Scotia -- hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening.


CALLER: Hi. Hi, Wynonna, hi.

W. JUDD: Hello.

CALLER: I wanted to know, would you have still considered making a career out of singing if your mother hadn't accompanied you in the beginning?

W. JUDD: I probably would have not found my way professionally, but I believe that God had a plan for me. I do believe in that, the divine order of things. But that's a really interesting question I've had to deal with a lot in my life. What would have happened if I didn't have mom kicking butt for me.

KING: It's impossible to answer.

W. JUDD: I think I would have been a lot different of a person, because I would have had to really, you know, work harder, use my mind. But I had her.

KING: You -- you said during the break, she has the voice of her generation, right? She's considered the voice of her generation?

N. JUDD: Well, Robert Hillburn here in Los Angeles, a big critic for the "L.A. Times," said that.

W. JUDD: OK, Mother.

KING: There's no voice like it, right?

N. JUDD: She's an artist in the truest sense.

KING: You believe that's a gift, right?

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Just a gift?

N. JUDD: Did nothing to earn it, it's what you do with it, right?

N. JUDD: No, I see what you're saying. I think -- I think your talent is what God gives you. That's your genetic makeup, that's what your environment -- because I study with a lot of behavioral therapists that say nature and nurture, heredity and environment. And I think the fact that she had a very eclectic life, you know?

W. JUDD: I feel so deeply. That's why I'm a good singer I think, too. I feel things. I wish I didn't, Larry. I wish I could just say, oh, you know, I went to visit a children's hospital today. I get physically ill. I can't always figure out why I feel the way I do, but through music, I can purge those feelings. I don't know where it came from. Maybe it's a genetic thing, but I also think we had a really tough time. But we made it. We made it through, so...

N. JUDD: But see, you have to expose your children. just like with Ashley tells me now because I felt a lot of guilt, frankly, for being such a gypsy. I was an adult running away from home all the time. I love all of these subcultures in this marvelous country.

W. JUDD: And now Ashley moves around from town to town, and now she thrives on it. We've taken the negatives and the tragedies and we've turned them into triumphs.

KING: Like some -- you like all ethnic groups, you like all...

W. JUDD: We love all that.

N. JUDD: I love it.

W. JUDD: We thrive on it.

N. JUDD: To me, it's just the families now, but Ashley was just saying the other day -- she's looking at another script right now. She said, Mommy, you know, all of these eccentric, odd people that you exposed sister and I to, she said, now I have this encyclopedic range of behaviors to draw from.

W. JUDD: Mm-hmm.

KING: San Francisco for the Judds -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, I just wanted to ask you one question -- I have to tell you, you look more like sisters than mother and daughter -- but the made- for-TV movie, did you feel that that was an actual portrayal? And did you have any input with that?

KING: Of your life, was there a made-for-TV...

W. JUDD: It depends on who you ask.

N. JUDD: Are you talking about "Holiday Romance," the Christmas movie I was in?

W. JUDD: No, the miniseries.

CALLER: It was your life portrayal.

N. JUDD: Oh, the miniseries.

W. JUDD: I didn't endorse it, and I thought it was very inaccurate.

KING: Who played you?

N. JUDD: Viveca Davis.

W. JUDD: I'm sorry. I just went blank.

KING: Could she sing or they dubbed in?

W. JUDD: Yes, she did awesome. She's my friend. But I felt that it was very Hollywood at times. They didn't draw enough on the joys and the celebration. It was all about drama. I guess you can't sell as many, you know...

KING: Naomi, what did you think of it?

N. JUDD: Frank Lee (ph), our former manager, with whom we have since split, had signed us to do the miniseries deal unbeknownst to us. And...

KING: You mean you approved it?

W. JUDD: No, but once you signed a contract we feel very strongly...

KING: But you weren't in it, right?

N. JUDD: No, we weren't involved in the negotiations.

W. JUDD: But Mom did go there and say -- I will say this about it. It was accurate about the history and the music, but a lot of the drama stuff got a little, I think, out of control. But people who know the Judd women know. They know better. They know how much love and truth is there.

KING: Isn't it very hard to be estranged from a daughter? I mean, a daughter don't have to love you. I mean, daughters can -- but a mother with a daughter. I've never...

W. JUDD: But a mother.

KING: I know. I've never understood a parent who could be apart from a child, I mean, and take that.

N. JUDD: I don't either. I think the mother-daughter relationship, no question about it, is the most complex on earth.

W. JUDD: Woo-hoo.

N. JUDD: Any psychologist worth their salt, worth their degree, will tell you that in a heartbeat. But my big issue these days is the fact that we're carte blanche. We're just throwing away our children. Our mutual friend Bill Moyers says that our children are being raised by appliances.

W. JUDD: Not on this deal.

N. JUDD: You know, being out there on the lecture circuit for the last eight years, being involved with some of the most brilliant minds in America -- Colin Powell is one...

KING: He's going to be on tomorrow night. We're going to replay our interview tomorrow night.

N. JUDD: I love his mentorship program. I feel like in this country, we are so skewed. First of all, we're spiritually malnourished. We have a moral bankruptcy going on.

W. JUDD: Go, sister, tell it all.

N. JUDD: But we are absolutely throwing our children away.

W. JUDD: I can tell you what the Judd women do. We don't always support everything we do, but we support who we are. And there's a big difference. I mean, for me sometimes...

N. JUDD: Wait, wait, wait, wait.

W. JUDD: I mean...

N. JUDD: I don't know. I saw your eyebrow go up. What?

KING: Explain that.

W. JUDD: Sometimes I don't agree with the things Mom does. She will come to me and say, I really don't agree with what you did. But we support each other in who we are and we know that we're children of God.

KING: You're there for each other no matter what.

W. JUDD: No matter what. Yes, let me make sure I say that.

N. JUDD: Absolutely no question about it.

W. JUDD: Regardless of what, we're there.

KING: Back with more of the Judds.

Tomorrow night, we'll repeat our interview with Colin Powell.

Monday night, we'll future "The View." Barbara Walters and the whole gang will be was. We like to do that every six months or so.

And Tuesday night, we'll be in New Hampshire with two editions of LARRY KING LIVE, at 9:00 and instead of repeating it midnight Eastern we'll do a live show midnight Eastern on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

I'm Larry King. Back with more calls for the Judds after this.



W. JUDD (singing): Woman to woman right from my heart. And you take it or leave it, but it's true. Woman to woman, me to you.


KING: We're back with the Judds.

Montgomery, Alabama -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, I'm a longtime Judds fan, and I'm excited about the reunion tour and Wy's new album. And my question is has Wynonna ever taken Naomi for a ride on the back of her Harley.

N. JUDD: Oh, yes.

KING: Oh, tell me about that. You have a Harley?

W. JUDD: I have two.

KING: There we see them. How long have you been riding a motorcycle?

W. JUDD: When I went out on my own, I got a Harley. It was my freedom, my sense of adventure. And I have ridden Mom around a couple of times. I'm thinking about getting a sidecar, though. It's a little more her deal.

KING: You like it? No fear?

W. JUDD: I get to be cruise and be free. I get to get out of the hotel -- and look for me on your street.

N. JUDD: Her alter ego is "Biker Betty."

W. JUDD: OK, I knew that was coming.

KING: What's it like on the back?

N. JUDD: Oh, I love it. Of course I wear a helmet, because when I worked as a nurse, we called motorcycles -- well, you don't want to know.

W. JUDD: Donor machines. N. JUDD: Donor machines. OK, there you go. Bed fillers. But just to show you the difference between the three of us, Ashley will be bare back on a horse -- we share a valley called Peaceful Valley out in the wilderness -- Wynonna's on her Harley, and Larry and I go out on our Amish horse-drawn buggy.

KING: All right, single motherhood. You faced it, now your daughter faces it. Do you learn from her or are you doing things differently from...

W. JUDD: Yes and no.

KING: What's the hardest thing about it?

W. JUDD: The hardest thing about it is sometimes you feel like you could stop a train with your teeth, and then four hours later you're on your knees begging for wisdom. It's the darndest thing. It's the roller coaster ride of life. One minute I'm up, the next minute I'm down. They are the joys of my life, but they really -- they bust me a lot.

KING: Is their father close to them?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: So that's good?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: He talks to them, he sees them, he takes them, right?

W. JUDD: Mm-hmm.

KING: So that part is healthy?

W. JUDD: Yes.

KING: Did you have that? You didn't? No?

W. JUDD: No. And I feel very strongly that we all need two- parent families in America. I agree with Alan Keyes on this, that that's what's -- that's the bottom line. I'm really a very practical, simple person, and I think that the decline of the two...

W. JUDD: Practical and simple, everybody.

N. JUDD: Well, I'm talking about...

KING: Look at the hair, folks.

N. JUDD: ... pragmatically speaking.

W. JUDD: Oh, OK. We keep each other accountable.

N. JUDD: I am a simple, practical person.

KING: So finish. What were you saying?

W. JUDD: I'm sorry.

N. JUDD: I think we need -- I think the decline of the American families is what's wrong with our country. And it breaks my heart.

W. JUDD: We're about -- we say family values, but the value of family is sort of my theme this year. Every family out there is not normal anymore. And for us, we just want to remind people to not give up...

KING: What is normal since jets and television and...

W. JUDD: I mean, yes.

KING: What's normal? Two parents?

W. JUDD: I mean, when she grew up...

KING: A man, a woman, a boy and a girl? Was there ever really that -- what was that famous television show with...

N. JUDD: June Cleaver?

KING: No -- yes -- "Leave it to Beaver." Was there ever "Leave it to Beaver"?

N. JUDD: "Ozzie and Harriet"? I think those TV shows were good to an extent that they gave you some sort of paradigm. They said yes, families do have supper together, the kids...

W. JUDD: But it was unbelievable.

N. JUDD: ... the kids do do chores. But we weren't allowed to watch "The Donna Reed Show" because...

KING: But there was no blacks...

N. JUDD: ... she wore...

KING: ... there was nobody poor.

N. JUDD: Absolutely not.

KING: The father went out to work. We didn't what he did.

N. JUDD: Donna Reed wore pearls.

W. JUDD: Hello.

KING: Dover, Delaware -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Wynonna.

KING: Why doesn't somebody say hello to Naomi?

CALLER: Oh, hello, Naomi, I'm sorry.

KING: All right, go ahead.

CALLER: Wynonna, would you like to see your children follow in your footsteps and have a musical career?

W. JUDD: I have given them roots and wings, and it's up to them. If they do follow in my footsteps, I hope they will love me and support me as much as I do my mother.

KING: So but it wouldn't be one way or the other? If they did, fine?

W. JUDD: It scares me.

KING: It would scare you?

W. JUDD: It would scare me just because I know how hard it is. And I don't think we want to see our kids go through that. But...

KING: Hard? It wasn't hard for you. I think that's the side view of it, right?

W. JUDD: Emotionally it was. The physical part, I'm a rocker. The spiritual and mental part, it's just so hard on me because I'm just so interested in the music and I'm not interested in all of that other stuff. So that's the part that's hard. It's like with you. You love your work, but all the stuff that goes around it, all the long days and traveling and living out of a suitcase, that's the hard part.

KING: That you don't like.

W. JUDD: That's the hard part.

KING: Back with more of the Judds. Their tour starts February 4th in Denver. They're going to a lot of cities. It's "The Power to Change" tour.

I want to talk about that, change, after this.


W. JUDD (singing): I've got my mind on the open road. I found a new way that I want to go. Then love started talking, your love started talking. When love starts talking, you've got no choice but to shut up and listen. It's a powerful voice. Open the door, let it walk in. That's what you've got to do when love starts talking.



KING: Before we talk about change, let's take a call for the Judds from Charlotte -- hello. CALLER: Hi, Larry. I just have to say that I love the Judds' sense of style, and I was wondering who put together tonight's dead animal ensemble?

KING: That's funny.

W. JUDD: This, by the way, is faux. Can you say "faux"?

KING: What's faux mean?

N. JUDD: Not real.


W. JUDD: This is not real. This is a velvet sort of thing and this is an acrylic.

KING: So nobody died for this?

N. JUDD: No, we're animal rights activists. We belong to PETA. Wynonna has -- what?

KING: Don't have fur coats?

W. JUDD: I have 60 animals. So we are fun, full of fashion, simply because we're wacky. And Mom's the one out of control now.

N. JUDD: But Badgely and Mischka, these outrageously talented designers from New York, are going to be doing my stage benefits.

W. JUDD: And I do my own stuff.

KING: So no one died from this?

N. JUDD: No, we don't do that.

No, sir.

KING: No beast died?

Power to change -- why do we resist it so much? By the way, change is the thing most feared by people.

W. JUDD: Yes.

N. JUDD: Yes. That and speaking in public. The American Psychiatric Association said the No. 1 phobia is fear of speaking in public.

W. JUDD: Larry's got that...

N. JUDD: Change is the true nature of our world, and we wanted to encourage people, as we step across the threshold into the new millennium -- this is such a symbolic time to step into this arbitrary, you know, time barrier that we've just broken -- we want to tell people it's not too late to take your life back. But you have the power to change. So we have entered into a corporate sponsorship with big Kmart. And we have an essay program because...

W. JUDD: "Lady's Home Journal," you can write an essay. Send it to "Lady's Home Journal."

N. JUDD: Or you can look us up on the Web at or ladyshomejournal, a 250-word or less essay saying...


N. JUDD: ... how you've changed, what you've overcome, whether it's a physical disability, whether you've gotten away from an abusive husband or whatever. And we're giving 10 prizes $5,000 shopping sprees.

W. JUDD: Big Kmart is.

N. JUDD: And we're going to honor these women. We're going to bring them to the show.

W. JUDD: They get to come to the show. They get to do my hair -- no, just kidding.

N. JUDD: We came up with it because Wy and Ashley and I know a little bit about change, and we really feel like we're heading into a time when the feminine energy, that women are really coming into their power. And we want to celebrate the normal people out there who live in everyday land who are heroes, "sheroes."

KING: Baltimore, Maryland -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, my question is, in the midst of all of your success, what was the hardest lesson that you guys had to learn?

N. JUDD: I can say that for me it was embracing the change, carrying on with this theme of the power to change, of being defined from within and realizing that even though the current medical establishment -- and I'm a member of the mainstream medical community as an R.N. -- but they just had no answers for me. So I had to embark on my own voyage of self-discovery and become pro-active.

KING: For you?

W. JUDD: The hardest part is wanting to be an example sometimes but making mistakes and having to sort of forgive myself and not rely on the world. You know, the Bible says be in the world but not of it. It's been hard to live in the public eye and want to do the right thing but make mistakes.

KING: Back with our remaining moments with the Judds. The tour starts February 4th in Denver. You can check your newspapers for a city near you.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LOVE IS ALIVE") W. JUDD AND N. JUDD (singing): Love is alive and at our breakfast table every day of the week. Love is alive and it grows every day and night, even in our sleep. Love is alive and it's made a happy woman out of me. Love is alive and here by me.


KING: Naomi Judd has her own syndicated radio show. It's called "Heart to Heart With Naomi Judd."

N. JUDD: I need some tips.

KING: What do you do? Take phone calls?

N. JUDD: I go out to my -- I've got you beat -- I go out to my barn in my backyard, I sit there in my pajamas...

KING: Satellite?

N. JUDD: Yes. I have one guy there. He flips a switch, connects me to my imaginary producer somewhere out there.

KING: And you answer problems?

N. JUDD: I talk heart to heart to people all over America for four hours.

KING: So people say, Naomi, my husband left me.

N. JUDD: Yes.

KING: I'm not making fun of that.

N. JUDD: No, I love it.

KING: Omaha, Nebraska -- hello.

N. JUDD: Because it's real.



CALLER: Hello, Naomi, Wynonna.

W. JUDD: Hello.

CALLER: Your new songs are awesome. What was it like for you all to step back out into that light again together on stage in Phoenix, Arizona?

N. JUDD: Emotional fireworks.

KING: Is that where you got together for the first time since this split?

N. JUDD: Yes, for the first time in nine years.

KING: In Phoenix, when was that?

W. JUDD: That was December 31st. The first time we actually...

KING: New Year's Eve.

W. JUDD: Yes, but the first time we stepped out on stage was December 4th of the year before, which was even stranger because that was our farewell concert. And the feeling is much like right before you go under, when they get you the anesthetic stuff. Literally, you don't really remember it. You're sort of surreal, out of your body.

KING: Scared?

W. JUDD: Exhilarated and terrified all at the same time.

N. JUDD: I was shockingly scared, and I'm the queen of serene. And I'll tell you what did it, not just the fact that I hadn't been on stage in nine years and had all new material, but I was so celebratory because I'm cured. I've been free of this virus for two years now. She has individuated and changed so much. She's now a storm trooper out there on stage and a force to be reckoned with. But there is this intoxicating -- I was almost drunk with this supernatural energy. And the music and the vibe in that room was...

W. JUDD: It was like the wedding day, the honeymoon, everything all at once. Ashley was there. It was almost too much, but it felt right because the heart was there, the music was there, the family bond thing happening.

KING: After this tour, do you want to do it again or not?

W. JUDD: I want to take a nap.

N. JUDD: You know, I want to be real clear that -- and I worry about her. We laid on the couch...

W. JUDD: Thank you, mother.

N. JUDD: ... in her hotel room last night in our hotel bathrobes and talked about the fact that she is Wynonna. You know, like you said, the voice of her generation. She has a brand new album, "New Day Dawning" coming out.

KING: What are you afraid of?

N. JUDD: I don't want her to get lost in this, because she and Ashley and I are three very different women. We are intensely bonded. Our family is first, but yet Ashley's a movie star.

KING: Now a superstar.

N. JUDD: Well...

W. JUDD: Mega, megababe. N. JUDD: She's a star next door as far as I am concerned. She's my little sweet pea. And it matters more that she doesn't pretend to be somebody she's not unless she's on the screen. Wynonna's a recording audience. I love my radio show. Basically, I'm a communicator...

KING: So your biggest worry is what?

N. JUDD: Just that she's going to get temporarily lost.

W. JUDD: Well, the critics and the fans are having a hard time sometimes distinguishing between -- I mean, when you're part of a family, just like with the Donny and Marie thing, wherever I go, it's how's your mother? Where is she? And it's a blessing, but sometimes it can be a burden. Because I don't know where the Judds end and where I begin.

KING: Yes.

W. JUDD: So one thing about it, we go to family counseling and we talk about it. So we're communicators and we'll work through it. She worries about me because I love her so much, and I sometimes let her be the boss and sort of sabotage my own ideas.

N. JUDD: I don't want to be the boss anymore. That's the good thing about this work.

W. JUDD: Oh, can I get that in writing?

N. JUDD: It's balance now.

W. JUDD: I was her producer, by the way, in the studio. So we evened it out. I got to tell her what to do.

KING: Is she the star?

N. JUDD: Wynonna is -- I call her my starlight, and Ashley is my star bright.

KING: It's been great having you with us. Thanks, guys.

W. JUDD: Who's your buddy?

KING: You're about to meet Chance.

W. JUDD: Yay.

KING: OK, our guests have been the Judds, Naomi and Wynonna. "The Power to Change" tour kicks off February 4th in Denver. Wynonna has a new album out. Ashley's new film, "Eye of the Beholder," opens today wide.

N. JUDD: And it's good.

KING: Tomorrow night, Colin Powell. Thanks for joining us.

Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." Good night.



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