Pop culture outlets were ablaze in 2013 when it was revealed a tracking device had been found in Ashley Judd’s car — and that she accused her sister, Wynonna Judd, of putting it there — but what more do we know about this story?
To recap, this situation started when one of Ashley’s cars was taken to a repair shop. According to TMZ, the car was taken because Wynonna’s then-teen daughter Grace Pauline Kelley suspected the vehicle was being followed. In fact, according to a statement to police (via USA Today), the mechanic found a box containing a tracking device inside the vehicle. That alone would be worrying enough, but things took an even darker turn when Ashley told police she believed the person responsible was none other than Wynonna.
It’s worth noting that the Judd family has never claimed to be drama free. In fact, the opposite is the case. Following the tragic death of family matriarch Naomi Judd, Ashley referenced her well-known openness. “We’ve always been an incredibly open family,” she wrote in a op-ed for The New York Times. Ashley has also made no secret of her sometimes troubled relationship with Wynonna. Still, a spy charge is pretty big…so what led to this situation?
It was about a custody battle
In her report to the Tennessee Police Department (via USA Today), Ashley Judd revealed that she and Wynonna Judd were engaged in a vicious custody battle over Grace Pauline Kelley at the time of the persecution incident.
According to Radar, sources familiar with the situation told The National Enquirer that Ashley had been awarded custody of her niece after Wynonna allegedly committed “nasty name callings, disparagements and substance abuse.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wynonna wasn’t too pleased about her daughter being placed in her sister’s care. Eventually, sWynonna started working with a private investigator… and that’s when things got really shady. According to her lawyer, the investigator presented her with a tracking device. Wynonna then gave the device to her ex-husband and daughter’s father, who placed the device in Ashley’s car. (A classic tag game – but make it illegal.)
It should be noted that while the Judds have disclosed family quarrels in the past, Ashley had no intention of going public. In a statement posted to her now-defunct website and reported by ABC News, the actress criticized the media for obstructing the investigation by “aggressively pursuing and publishing details, some of which should be private.”
… and Wynonna was following someone – just not Ashley
Shortly after news of the tracking device broke, Wynonna Judd’s attorney admitted she was involved in the situation, even though she didn’t put anything in the car herself. However, her attorney wanted to make one thing clear: That means she was stalking her daughter, not her sister (via Radar). We’re not entirely convinced that’s better, but it clears up any questions as to whether she was spying on Ashley Judd.
Unfortunately, as for Grace Pauline Kelley, she has had more than one run-in with the law in the years since the incident. According to The US Sun, she has been in and out of prison on drug charges. She was most recently arrested for violating parole and is in jail – despite being granted leave earlier this year during part of her pregnancy. A source who spoke to the publication also revealed that Wynonna had been incredibly supportive of the pregnancy and regularly checked in with her daughter.
It’s clear that a lot has happened for the Judd sisters since the tracking ordeal in 2013 – from Kelley’s struggle with the law to the heartbreaking death of their mother. But through ups and downs, they always find their way back to each other. The Judds may not be free from drama, but the love they have for each other is undeniable.