Wynonna Judd Reveals the Real Reason She Changed Her Name at Age 12

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Wynonna Judd has arguably one of the most recognizable names in country music, but did you know she was born with another name?  

In a newly released episode of Southern Living’s “Biscuits and Jam” podcast, Wynonna Judd revealed that she made the decision to change her name at age 12 just before entering into the music industry with her mother, Naomi Judd. The Kentucky native shared: 

Well, I started playing the guitar when I was 8 years old, and I was known in my family to be the girl with the guitar. Everywhere I went, I had a guitar. And I was so convinced that I was going to be successful. I changed my name at age 12 to Wynonna.


Wynonna was born Christina Claire Ciminella on May 30, 1964.

In the interview, Wynonna expressed that even at the young age, she felt that she needed a new name in order to make it in show business. She explained that her inspiration for the name came from her love for music, adding: 

I got the name from a song called ‘Route 66.’ There’s a line that says, ‘Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona.’ So, I just decided to change it. I know people probably think I changed for professional reasons, but that’s not why.” 

Wynonna’s Mother Naomi Judd also adopted a stage name.  

Naomi Judd, who was born Diana Ellen Judd, also adopted a stage name early in her music career. She recalled feeling that the name Diana did not match “her own spiritual, rural Kentucky conception of her true heritage.” When selecting a new moniker, the singer drew inspiration from the Bible and chose the name Naomi. 

Wynonna and Naomi performed together as The Judds beginning in the 1980s and went on to earn 14 No. 1 songs, five Grammy Awards, nine CMA Awards, as well as countless other accolades. In May of 2022, Naomi tragically died from “the disease of mental illness” just one day before the duo was set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame


RELATED: The Judds will be honored at this year’s CMA awards. 

Watch Wynonna Judd honor her late mother at The Judds: Love Is Alive – Final Concert below.