Ashley Judd Reveals Childhood Abuse In New Memoir

Access Hollywood
Ashley Judd looks serene at the 2010 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2010 -- Getty Images
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Ashley Judd looks serene at the 2010 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, D.C. …

In Ashley Judd's just-released new memoir, "All That Is Bitter & Sweet," the actress writes candidly about her childhood, during which she says she was sexually abused.

The actress appeared on NBC's "Today" show with co-host Meredith Vieira on Tuesday and opened up about the book, in which she also writes about her past rocky relationship with her country star mom, Naomi Judd.

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"First of all, my mother loves and adores me and my dad absolutely loves and adores me; they did then, and they do now," the actress told Vieira. "We came from a dysfunctional family system that didn't work very well. So, the kinds of things that happened to me are very typical and standard and indicative of a family system that doesn't work very well."

In the book, Ashley makes claims about past inappropriate incidences with her mom and step dad Larry Strickland.

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"Mom and pop were wildly sexually inappropriate in front of my sister and me ... a horrific reality for me was that when pop was around I would have to listen to a lot of loud sex in a house with thin walls... " she writes, "Today" reported.

Naomi issued a statement to "Today," saying, "I love my daughter. I hope her book does well."

"I'm very grateful for my mother's exquisitely gracious attitude toward my right to share my narrative," Ashley told Meredith. "You know, the book is very honest [but] it's not necessarily accurate, because everyone in my family has their own perspective and their own experiences. But it's very true for me."

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The actress said a 2006 stint in rehab for depression inspired her to write the tell-all.

"I just didn't know quite what was wrong with me," she said. "I looked really good on the outside [but] I had a lot of anxiety and insomnia, and I realized eventually that I was really powerless over my childhood, and the coping strategies that I developed had made my adult life unmanageable."

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The actress reveals in the book that she was sexually abused by an unnamed family member, which lead her to contemplate suicide as a teen.

"I took to playing with mom's gun, trying to decide if it would be worth it to shoot myself ..." she reportedly writes in the book. "There were many days after school ... I would expertly check the chamber, load bullets, give it a spin and with a jerk of my wrist click the chamber into place, cock the trigger and then hold then gun to my right temple. To me, the way my family lived was already killing me."

Ashley also reportedly writes about raped at the age of 15 while modeling in Japan and about a seperate incident with an unnamed adult male model, who attempted to force her to have sex.

Despite her past, Ashley said she has made peace with the events and is now looking ahead.

"You know, it's too late to go back and have a happy childhood, but by the grace of God and you know, a pretty simple program of recovery and fellowship, life is good today," she told Meredith.

The actress is now working to help other women around the world with their struggles.

"I began visiting brothels and slums and forcibly displaced person's camps, and I wanted to share with the world the stories that, however improbably, were entrusted to me. I didn't know where to put it, like I didn't have a place in my brain or in my heart, so I started putting it on the page," she explained during the "Today" show interview on Tuesday. "I was really encouraged by people I trust to include some of my own story, because why I love [humanitarian] work really baffled people, and so I eventually got willing to put it in there."

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