Ashley Taylor Judd (Ciminella) was born April 19, 1968 in Los Angeles, CA. She is the youngest daughter of Naomi Judd and Michael Ciminella. Ashley graduated from Franklin High School in Franklin Tennessee in 1986. She then attended the University of Kentucky where she majored in French and gradu- ated Phi Beta Kappa in 1990. In 1996, she was named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People In The World". She comes from one of the more preeminent families in the entertainment industry, but Ashley Judd has tried hard to find her own path - and has done so too much acclaim. She is quickly amassing enough Hollywood clout to rival her mother and sister's Country music fame.
The Judd family did not always have an easy life. They grew up dirt poor in Kentucky while mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna attempted to make it as singers. They moved around the State often, never remaining in the same home for long. The family made ends meet by growing their own vegetables and making their own soap and they seldom had any running water or electricity. However, when mom and sis finally got their break, it opened up whole new doors for young Ashley. She had always been a sensitive and intelligent child with an active imagination. When the family finally had some cash, Ashley was able to attend the University of Kentucky, where she studied French and graduated with honors in 1990.
Even today, Ashley has the reputation of an intelligent and verbose celebrity with just the right dash of southern charm. When school was done, Ashley flirted with the idea of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, but instead took Wynona's advice and headed to Hollywood. Although she was new on the scene, it didn't take her long to find work. She impressed casting agents with her charm and radiant confidence. The first role she was offered was in Christian Slater's Kuffs, but she surprisingly turned it down due to the required nude scene. The producers were impressed with her moxy and offered another minor role instead so that she could get her SAG card. Since then, Ashley has continued to impress, taking roles selectively and carefully managing her career. She has turned down roles in films starring her mom and sister in order to distance herself from their fame, but has earned it in her own right. Judd has quickly become both a darling of the critics and of audiences after roles in films like Smoke and Heat. She also won an Independent Spirit Award for her role in 1993's Ruby in Paradise. A romantic at heart, she has already purchased her dream house. It is an old home which she intends to remodel with C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia as her inspiration; in other words, full of cubby holes and secret nooks and crannies.
Ashley Judd is married to IndyCar driver, Dario Franchitti. On December 12, 2001 the two were married at Skibo Castle, near Dornoch, Scotland. Befire marriage she dated baseball player Brady Anderson, singers Lyle Lovett and Michael Bolton, and actors Matthew McConaughey and Robert De Niro.