Anderson Cooper tears up talking to Ashley Judd about suicide of his brother, death of her mother

Anderson Cooper was joined by actor Ashley Judd on the Wednesday episode of his podcast, and the two had an emotional conversation about grief and the loss of loved ones to suicide.

Judd spoke about the suicide in 2022 of her mother, country music star Naomi Judd. And Cooper shared his struggles dealing with the suicide of his brother Carter Cooper in 1988. The two confided in each other as they talked through their emotions, memories and experiences dealing with loss.

Despite knowing her mother suffered from mental illness, Judd said she still was not prepared for the moment of her death.

“My mother’s death was traumatic and unexpected, because it was death by suicide, and I found her,” Judd said on “All There Is with Anderson Cooper.”

“I’m so glad I was there, because even when I walked in that room and I saw that she had harmed herself, the first thing out of my mouth was, ‘Mama, I see how much you’ve been suffering,'” she said.

Judd said she held her mother in bed after she found her, telling her: “All was forgiven long ago. Leave it all here. Take nothing with you. Just be free.”

Cooper became tearful speaking about the grief he grapples with over the suicide of his brother.

“One of the things I’ve found so hard about losing my brother to suicide was I get stuck in how his life ended and my shock over it and the realization that I didn’t really know him,” Cooper said, choking up.

“I’m here, Anderson,” Judd said, and thanked him for opening up about his struggle with grief.

“I think we all deserve to be remembered for how we lived,” Judd said. “And how we died is simply part of a bigger story.”

Cooper and Judd noted that despite death, the spirit of their loved ones continues to guide them today.

“It’s one of the things that I’ve learned in talking to people that’s really been helpful to me is this idea that you can still have a relationship with somebody who had died and, in fact, that relationship can grow and change and morph,” Cooper said.

Judd then encouraged people not to ignore their grief.

“If a thought crosses the mind, pay attention to it,” she said. “Consider it a nudge, perhaps from your loved one.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at You can also visit for additional support.