Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Ashley Judd and Naomi Judd
Ashley Judd is detailing how her mother's death has impacted her health.
On Wednesday, the 54-year-old actress spoke to UCLA professor Dr. Jonathan Flint as part of an Open Mind lecture series and revealed that she fractured her leg due to grief-associated clumsiness as a result of her mother Naomi Judd's suicide.
The Double Jeopardy star suffered a fracture of the femoral condyle over the summer. She shared that although her injury wasn't severe and she "healed in two months, lickety-split," the incident gave her time to pause and grieve.
"It was what it was," she said. "Clumsiness is associated with grief, and there were other people in our family, after mom died, who fell down stairs and had accidents, and that's just what mine happened to look like. It really allowed me to grieve. It really allowed me to stop what I was working on at that moment and to grieve."
PEOPLE previously reported in May that country singer Naomi Judd died April 30 by suicide following a long battle with mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. In her candid conversation, the actress explained that she was also able to process her mother's death thanks to support from her inner circle.
"The day that my beloved mother died by suicide, I had so many people to call. There were five women who were with me within moments of my sharing that tragic news with them, and they are my chosen sisters," Judd recalled. "I was just reflecting overnight. I had one of my 2 a.m. wake-ups overnight, and I was reflecting on those first days after her passing and how there was always someone with me at my house."
Along with her latest leg injury, Judd previously spent several months recovering from a "catastrophic accident" in February 2021 when she shattered her leg in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the time, the Divergent actress was visiting the African country for research on the Bonobos, an endangered ape species, when she tripped over a fallen tree and broke her leg in four places. Judd underwent an eight-hour surgery at a hospital in South Africa after she was transported by six men in a 55-hour rescue. Judd spent months in intensive physical therapy and previously said her progress was faster than anyone expected.
"We expected my foot — if ever — to *begin* to move in one year," she wrote, calling her rapid process "unheard of."
"In four months to the day, she went [and] blew us all away. Now, after crying while trying to spell the ABCs with a paralyzed foot….well, you see!" Judd added. "My leg will never be the same. She is a new leg. And I love her. We are buddies. We have a come a long way and we have a fabulous life ahead."
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Earlier this year, Judd celebrated the anniversary of the "grueling" accident with a 25-mile hike in the Appalachian Mountains and even said she wants to go back to the Congo.
"Good greetings, 2022. It is nice to see you, on this, the 11 month anniversary of having broken my leg in four places and paralyzing my foot (not to mention nearly hemorrhaging to death)," she wrote on Instagram.
"I have just walked a nourishing twenty five miles in my #Appalachian home-place, the #GreatSmokyMountainsNationalPark, and then romped up and down our annual New Year snowy paths on an #Alp in #Switzerland," she continued. "All this has me feeling ready. For what? Yes. #Congo. I return now. My heart is open and eager."