Unlike some popular duos, Naomi and Wynonna Judd didn’t stop performing together because they had a falling out. Instead, in 1990, Naomi’s health took a turn for the worse. According to TODAY, doctors diagnosed Naomi with hepatitis C that year. In fact, they gave the Judd matriarch only three years to live. Hepatitis C affects people differently, with it being short-lived in some and turning into a chronic illness in others. It can lead to cirrhosis and other complications.
In a 2019 interview with Dr. Oz, Naomi reflected on how the prognosis threatened her career. “I was flipped out because I was going to lose my career. Wynona and I had contracts for a year of concerts. I felt like I was the CEO of a big corporation. If I didn’t sing, then people didn’t eat. It was hideous,” she said.
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But, once again, the show went on. After The Judds disbanded, Wyonna launched a successful solo career at her mother’s urging, releasing four No. 1 singles. For her part, Naomi refused to give up and beat the disease after five years. Alan P. Brownstein, former ALF chief executive officer, reflected on how much of an inspiration she became. He said, “While a number of celebrities affected by liver diseases contributed in many ways, Naomi was a standout — she was my hero. ”