October 17, 1990

Naomi Judd tells reporters she has hepatitis and will have to give up performing. She and Wynonna hold the press conference in the same room in which they auditioned for RCA in 1983. The pair were in the middle of their successful Love Can Build a Bridge Tour when the then-44-year-old was given the devastating news.

It was also announced that Wynonna would continue making music as a solo artist, while Naomi was expected to step out of the limelight and focus solely on her health. But to everyone’s surprise, including maybe Naomi’s most of all, her retirement became more of a resurgence.

After the Judds wrapped their farewell tour in 1991, Naomi became an active spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation, and also created the Naomi Judd Education and Research Fund. A former nurse, she devoted much of her time and resources to education and support for those dealing with the deadly disorder.

In 1999, Judd starred in a TV movie, ‘A Holiday Romance,’ and returned to the stage with Wynonna, performing together for a New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Ariz. She followed that performance by a marked return to the spotlight, joining her daughter on their Power to Change Tour in 2000 and appearing on several TV shows, including Hallmark’s ‘Naomi’s New Morning’ in 2005 and as a judge on CMT’s ‘Can You Duet’ in 2008. Judd also authored several books, including ‘Naomi’s Guide to Aging Gracefully.’

While it is uncommon for people with Hepatitis C to lead such a productive life, the Kentucky native says a combination of conventional and alternative medicine, including taking plenty of vitamins each day and eating a healthy diet, helped cure her of the illness.

The Judds @ ACM Presents Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women Of Country
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Since improving her condition, the Judds reunited on stage in 2010 for their final tour, The Last Encore, and appeared together on a reality show in 2011 on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Judd also acted in a Hallmark movie, ‘Nearlyweds,’ in 2013, and continues to make appearances speaking about her battle with and recovery from Hepatitis C.

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