The Moving Reason Why Naomi Judd Changed Her Birth Name

The aspiring country singer felt like her given name didn't fit her, so she turned to the Bible for inspiration.

Naomi Judd The Judds
Photo: Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

It's hard to picture Naomi Judd going by any other name, but, as it turns out, the late country legend bore a different moniker until she was in her 30s.

The singer was born Diana Ellen Judd on January 11, 1946, in Ashland, Kentucky. She took the last name of her first husband, Michael Ciminella, when they married in 1964. But she told Bob Millard, the author of the 1988 biography The Judds, that she didn't think twice about changing her last name back to Judd when they divorced.

"I was having a time with this long name," she recalled per Taste of Country. "Whatever I did, it gave me troubles, and I did not feel like a Ciminella. I was a Judd and darned proud of it."

At the same time, she decided to look for a new first name, too. According to Millard's book, Naomi felt that the name Diana didn't fit "her own spiritual, rural Kentucky conception of her true heritage."

After searching the Bible for women with stories she could relate to, she settled on Naomi.

She and her oldest daughter Wynonna went on to form the country music duo The Judds. Together they won five Grammys and scored 14 No. 1 singles.

Sadly, Naomi died at the age of 76 on Saturday, April 30, 2022, after a years-long battle with severe depression and anxiety.

"Though my heart's broken, I will continue to sing, because that's what we do," Wynonna told the audience at the Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday—just one day after her mother's untimely death.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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