Ashley Judd (born on April 19, 1968) is an American actress. Judd is
perhaps best known for her leading roles in a series of late 1990s and early
2000s thrillers, including Kiss the Girls, Double Jeopardy and High Crimes.
Ashley Judd was born in Granada Hills, California to Michael Ciminella, Jr., an
Italian American marketing analyst for the horseracing industry, and Naomi Judd,
a well-known country music singer; she has a half-sister, Wynonna Judd, who is a
country music superstar. At the time of her birth, her mother was working as a
nurse, and had only become well-known as a singer along with her daughter
Wynonna in the late 1970s. Judd's parents divorced in 1972, and in 1974, her
mother took her back to her own native Kentucky, where Judd grew up in poverty,
as the family sometimes lived without running water, electricity, or a
Ashley Judd was raised in her mother's Baptist religion, and attended twelve schools before college. She was a sister of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and is a Phi Beta Kappa alumna of the University of Kentucky, where she majored in French and minored in anthropology, art history, theater, and women’s studies. She did not graduate with her class, leaving university early to drive cross-country in pursuit of an acting career in Hollywood, where she studied with well-respected acting teacher, Robert Carnegie, at the Playhouse West. During this time, she worked as a waitress at “The Ivy” restaurant.
Judd began acting on television, and appeared as Ensign Robin Lefler, a Starfleet officer, in two 1991 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She also played the daughter of Swoosie Kurtz's character on three of the six seasons of the NBC drama, Sisters. She made her feature film debut in 1992's Kuffs, and had the starring role in 1993's independent film, Ruby in Paradise, for which she received good reviews. Ashley Judd also had a role in the 1994 Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers, but her scenes were cut from the final print. She gained further critical acclaim for her role in 1995's Smoke and Heat.
By the end of the 1990s, Ashley Judd had managed to achieve significant fame and success as a leading actress, after leading roles in several thrillers that performed well at the box office, including Kiss the Girls in 1997 and 1999's Double Jeopardy. Several of her early 2000s films, including 2001's Someone Like You and 2002's High Crimes, received only moderate reviews and mixed box office, although she did receive positive notices for her performance in the 2004 biography of Cole Porter, De-Lovely, opposite Kevin Kline.
Ashley Judd, as YouthAIDS Global Ambassador, speaks at an event in South Africa (January 2005)During the 1990s, Judd dated athlete Brady Anderson, singers Lyle Lovett and Michael Bolton, and actors Matthew McConaughey and Robert DeNiro. She became engaged to Scottish Indy Racing League driver, Dario Franchitti, in December of 1999, and the two were married at Skibo Castle, near Dornoch, Scotland, on December 12, 2001.
Whenever her schedule allows, Ashley Judd regularly attends University of Kentucky basketball games, frequently sitting next to Donna Smith (wife of UK Coach Tubby Smith), or in the student section. Last year, she was a guest columnist for a local Kentucky newspaper, writing about the NCAA Championships. Ashley Judd is frequently sought out for celebrity camera shots during televised games. At the request of her cousin, posed for a poster wearing only a hockey jersey for fundraising purposes for her alma mater's hockey team.
When in Manhattan, she attends services at a Charismatic Missionary Baptist Church.
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