The country singer, 59, was seen holding onto Jelly Roll (real name Jason Bradley DeFord) while they sang “Need a Favor” at the awards show in Nashville on Wednesday, November 8. Following the performance, some viewers began to express concerns regarding Judd’s health, and she later took to Instagram to explain her behavior.
“Don’t read the comments, I read the comments!” Judd said in the video. “I’m just gonna come clean with y’all. I was so freaking nervous. I got out there and I looked at Jelly Roll. I wanted it to be so good for him. I could cry right now, but I’m not going to because I’m such a fan of his and he asked me to sing and I said, ‘Absolutely!’”
Judd recalled her anxiety kicking in once she took the stage, adding, “I got out there and I was so nervous that I just held on for dear life. And that’s the bottom line. All is well!”
Before the CMAs, which took place at the Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee, Judd discussed her decision to join Jelly Roll, 38, to open the ceremony.
“I have to show up for people like people did me,” she told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet. “That’s my job now is to pass it on because people have been so generous with me and now it’s my turn to be generous with people like Jelly Roll and that’s what I’m doing.”
Judd also opened up about her emotional performances, saying, “I have my ups and my downs and that’s life, and I’m just telling the fans. Like the other night, I got emotional, I felt [my] mom. And I got overcome and I just said, ‘I need some water and I need somebody to hold onto me for a second while I take a deep breath and cry.’ And I just do it because that’s the way life is.”
Wynonna’s mother, Naomi Judd, died by suicide in April 2022. She was 76 years old.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” Wynonna and sister Ashley Judd wrote in a joint statement at the time. “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.”
Four months after Naomi’s passing, an autopsy report revealed that the late singer died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Wynonna later got candid about how she and Ashley, 55, grew closer after the loss of their mother.
“We both kind of look at each other like, ‘I’ve got you,’ right? And we look at each other and we say, ‘Yeah.’ We’re so united right now, I think more so than we have been in a long time,” she explained on CBS Sunday Mornings in September 2022.
For more from Nashville, check out Us Weekly‘s VIP Guide to Music City.