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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Ashley Judd reveals family secrets in new autobiography

    Ashley Judd. (Reuters)

    Actress Ashley Judd has revealed painful details about her childhood that came as a result of having a mother determined to gain fame a country music star in her new autobiography, “All That Is Bitter & Sweet.”

    “We are only as sick as our secrets,” Judd writes in the first chapter, describing the abuse and neglect she suffered during her unconventional upbringing.

    “My mother, while she was transforming herself into the country legend Naomi Judd, created an origin myth for the Judds that did not match my reality,” writes Judd.

    PHOTOS: Ashley Judd.

    “I was taught to believe that our lifestyle was normal and never to question it or complain, even when I was left alone for hours, sometimes days at a time, or when I was passed without warning to yet another relative,” explains Judd.

    Now happily married to Indy car racer Dario Franchitti, Judd has created a new family.

    “My family of origin, the one into which I was born, was also brimming with love but was not a healthy family system,” writes Judd. “There was too much trauma, abandonment, addiction and shame.”

    The younger Judd sister reveals that her mother led her father, Michael Ciminella, to believe that he was also the father of her sister Wynonna, but the pregnancy was the result of another man.

    The 42-year-old Grenada Hills native and self-described “mountain woman” wrote that she grew up in a house with marijuana readily available and father who “was prone to taking hallucinogenics with friends on Saturday nights.”

    After her parents’ marriage dissolved, her mother became involved with a man Judd describes as an “abusive full-blown heroin addict with a criminal record.”

    “I loved my mother, but at the same time I dreaded the mayhem and uncertainty that followed her everywhere…I often felt like an outsider observing my mom’s life as she followed her own dreams,” she wrote.

    The gorgeous Golden Globe-nominated actress also reveals a devastating sexual assault she suffered as an adolescent.

    “An old man everyone knew beckoned me into a dark, empty corner of the business and offered me a quarter for the pinball machine at the pizza place if I’d sit on his lap,” Judd writes. “He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth.”

    While that revelation is shocking enough, Judd’s book is just the beginning. More Judd family secrets will be revealed on the new reality show, “The Judds,” debuting April 10 on OWN.

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