Famous for her critically acclaimed role in Ruby in Paradise (1993), performances in movies like Heat (1995) opposite Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Kiss the Girls (1997) opposite Morgan Freeman and current stint as the lead character in television serial Missing, Ashley Judd is the American actress who got her taste of success in Hollywood and television as well. Born in 1968 in a family of successful country singers – mother Naomi Judd and half sister Wynonna Judd, Ashley’s birth name was Ashley Tyler Ciminella. After her parent’s divorce in 1972 Judd was moved into Kentucky with her mother and spent most of her childhood there. Her first shot to fame was in two 1991 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Darmok and The Game).
Judd was appeared in the drama serial Sisters which continued from 1991 to 1994. During that time she had her debut film in the bucket – Kuffs (1992) where she appeared in a small role. But the role that kicked off her journey in Hollywood and caught attention of critics was her performance as Ruby Lee Gissing in Ruby in Paradise (1993). The film earned her Chicago Film Critics Associations Award for Most Promising Actress and Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Female. There was no looking back for her since then. She appeared in films like Smoke, Double Jeopardy, The Passion of Darkly Noon, Where the Heart Is, Someone Like You, High Crimes and many more. While most of her films got only mixed reviews, her performance always received high appreciation. She has also been a well-known model of for brands like American Beauty among many others. Judd reportedly has an estimated net worth of $22 Million.
Judd is a well-known philanthropist, humanitarian and self claimed feminist. A major portion of her wealth goes into charities and foundations like YouthAIDS, Women for Women International, Equality Now, International Center for Research on Women, Jeans for Genes, Malaria No More and many others. She travels frequently with these foundation groups around the world to witness the life of poor and underprivileged and works for their betterment. Judd funded three award winning documentary films for YouthAIDS which were telecasted on VHI, National Geographic and Discovery channel. Apart from that, Judd is known to pursue her hobbies of running, rock climbing, mountain hiking, yoga, cooking and gardening. Judd says that her idea of southern comfort is feeling the nature with open window, listening to the night time sounds and with no air conditioner. She loves to cook for her husband Dario Franchitti on weekends and particularly prefers to bake chocolate chip cookies to relive stress. Known as an avid reader, Judd’s favorite picks are Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Mind Over Money and Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. She is also known to attend University of Kentucky basketball games religiously along with other Kentucky football games.
In 2001 Judd married Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti at Skibo Castle in Scotland and they have no children. She was reported to suffer from depression, insomnia and codependency and attended a program at Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas for 47 days. Judd is also known as political activist and supported Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. She is named as one of the ‘The 50 Most Beautiful People In The World’ and ‘25 Most Intriguing People’ by People magazine and ranked 20 in FHM Magazine's ‘100 Sexiest Women in the World’. In 2009 Judd was awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky and in 2010 she received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.