Ashley Tyler Ciminella was born on April 19, 1968, in Granada Hills, California. Although both her mother, Naomi Judd, and her half-sister, Wynonna Judd, would go on to become famous country singers, things weren't always easy for Ashley as a child. After her parents divorced in 1972, she moved to Kentucky with her mother and lived in poverty, frequently lacking bare necessities such as running water, electricity and a telephone.
Ashley attended 12 schools in 13 years before enrolling at the University of Kentucky to study French, anthropology, theater, art history, and women's studies. In 1990, when she was only a few credits shy of graduating, she decided to drop everything and drive across the country to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.
ashley judd on star trek
Ashley found television work in no time. She appeared on two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1991, and she played Reed Halsey on the NBC series Sisters from 1991 to 1994.
In 1992, Ashley landed her first movie role in Kuffs, alongside Christian Slater and Milla Jovovich, and appeared in the made-for-TV movie Till Death Do Us Part. She returned to the big screen in 1993 with a starring role in Ruby in Paradise, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Judd also earned an Independent Spirit Award for her role as Ruby.
ashley judd in heat
In 1994, Ashley was given a role in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, but her scenes were left on the cutting room floor. The following year was a big one for Ashley, as she appeared in The Passion of Darkly Noon opposite Viggo Mortensen, in Smoke with Harvey Keitel, and in Heat with big-screen legends Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
In 1996, Ashley played Matthew McConaughey's wife in the Southern courtroom drama A Time to Kill. That same year, Ashley took on the role of the legendary Marilyn Monroe in the HBO biography Norma Jean & Marilyn, for which she was nominated for an Emmy, and she appeared in the big-screen flops Dick Richards and Normal Life.
ashley judd in kiss the girls
Next, Ashley costarred with Morgan Freeman in the thriller Kiss the Girls (1997), which raised her profile exponentially. However, her subsequent projects, The Locusts (1997), Simon Birch (1998) and Eye of the Beholder (1999), weren't quite as successful.
It wasn't until 1999 that Ashley starred in another huge box-office success, Double Jeopardy, in which she played a housewife framed for the murder of her husband. The following year, she appeared in Where the Heart Is with Natalie Portman and in the TV movie The Ryan Interview.
Ashley kept busy throughout the next few years with roles in the romantic comedy Someone Like You... (2001), the thriller High Crimes (2002) with Morgan Freeman, the chick flick Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) with Sandra Bullock, Frida (2002) alongside Salma Hayek, and Twisted (2004) opposite Samuel L. Jackson.
ashley judd in de-lovely
In 2004, Ashley received significant critical praise for her role as Cole Porter's wife in the biopic of the famous composer, De-Lovely.
Although 2005 was a quiet year for Ashley, she reappeared on the big screen in 2006 in the romantic drama Come Early Morning with Laura Prepon and in the thriller Bug opposite Harry Connick Jr.
In February 2006, Ashley checked into the Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas, where she spent 47 days receiving treatment for depression and isolation.
ashley judd the model and humanitarian
In addition to her acting career, Ashley Judd is the face of cosmetics brand American Beauty, a division of Estee Lauder, and of H. Stern jewelers.
Ashley is also active in several humanitarian causes. Most notably, she is the Global Ambassador for the international AIDS awareness organization YouthAIDS and she frequently speaks at pro-choice events.
As for her love life, Ashley dated several famous men, including Robert De Niro, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Bolton, and Lyle Lovett, before marrying Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti on December 12, 2001.