Naomi Judd was married to her husband, Larry Strickland, for 33 years before her death on April 30, 2022. Her family and spouse continue to keep her memory alive in a number of ways following her devastating passing.
Who Is Larry Strickland?
Larry is the son of a preacher and grew up listening to gospel music. He attended his first gospel concert at the age of 12, knowing right then and there that music was his ultimate passion. After serving in the U.S. Army for four years, he began performing in gospel quartets across the country.
In 1974, the musician was asked to join JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, and began touring and recording with Elvis Presley soon after, according to his official website. Elvis died in 1977, but Larry continued to perform with the group.
How Did Larry Strickland Meet Naomi Judd?
It was music that led Larry and Naomi to cross paths for the first time in 1979. At the time, she was searching for her big break in the music industry with her daughter Wynonna Judd, whom she welcomed with ex Charles Jordan in 1964.
A decade after they first met, Naomi and Larry got married in Nashville. He continued to prove how supportive he was as her career took off while performing as The Judds with Wynonna, singing hits like “Grandpa,” “Love Can Build a Bridge,” “Give a Little Love” and many more.
How Many Times Had Naomi Judd Been Married?
Prior to her marriage to Larry, Naomi was married to her first husband, Michael Ciminella, from 1964 to 1972. They welcomed one child during their marriage, daughter Ashley Judd, in 1968.
How Did Naomi Judd Die?
Naomi died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 76 in April 2022, one day before The Judds were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy,” Wynonna and Ashley said in a statement at the time. “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”
Both Wynonna and Ashley attended the Country Music Hall of Fame ceremony on May 1, 2022.
“I’m gonna make this fast because my heart’s broken and I feel so blessed,” Wynonna told the audience. “It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and blessed. Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing because that’s what we do.”
Larry also spoke out after his longtime wife’s death and shared details about their final months together.
“For the past 13 years or more, I was with her 24/7,” the gospel singer told People in December 2022. “I never left the house without Naomi knowing where I was going and when I would be back. As far as taking care of myself, I’m not sure that fits my situation. When you have a mate that has a mental illness, you walk that path with them.”
He continued, “When you lose someone to suicide, you don’t get a chance to say bye,” adding, “[After losing Naomi], it was pain like I’ve never felt before.”
Larry said he was “consumed by what happened” and hopes to “help relieve any kind of hurting or suffering for others” by working with the National Association of Mental Illness.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).