How Ashley Judd's Dogs Shaped a Major Life Decision

Actress and potential Senate candidate Ashley Judd's aging pets may have been a deciding factor in her choice to part with a renovated Scottish estate worth millions, according to a 2012 interview.

Judd and then-husband Dario Franchitti, a Scotland native, put Rednock, their renovated mansion in central Scotland, up for sale in the summer of 2012, close to six months before announcing their divorce in January 2013. The estate listing asked for nearly $6 million.

According to a profile of the property in the UK's Sunday Times, the actress said she was reluctant to put the eight-bedroom rural home on the market after years of extensive remodeling. Judd says in her memoir (p. 64) that she and Franchitti conducted an "annual stay" in Scotland, but Times author Anna Burnside revealed those visits were becoming more difficult for two reasons: Judd and Franchitti's work schedules left little leisure time, and their seven pets had grown too old to make the transatlantic trip.

The home features luxuries such as "a center island that converts into a massage table, and a heated napkin rack in the butler's pantry." The master bathroom contains two shower heads the size of steering wheels, which, according to the interview, Judd requested. “I wanted it to be like a waterfall, and I got my wish,” she reminisced.

Judd stated in a March 1st speech that she used to "winter" in Scotland until, she suggested, a life of public service became too hard to resist.

In a self-deprecating moment (about 23 minutes into the C-SPAN video of the speech), Judd describes a conversation she had with musician and philanthropist Bono, as he cajoled her to join an AIDS and poverty awareness tour. She recalls her objection to the invitation: "Yeah, but I'm going to Scotland, because we winter in Scotland; we're smart like that." 

Bono persisted, and Judd persuaded Franchitti to postpone their annual stay and join her on the "Heart of America" tour. Judd framed this exchange as a watershed moment where she began to scale back a materialistic lifestyle to dedicate more time to public service.

The 44-year-old actress revealed in a 2012 interview that her dog "Shug" is registered as a "psychological support" dog. She keeps her two dogs and five cats on film sets but assured she can do her job without them present. "It just adds to the quality of life," she explained.

Judd's speech drew national attention thanks to reports that she will enter 2014's Kentucky Senate race as a Democratic opponent to incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell.

The Sunday Times interviewed and extensively quotes Judd in its article, but Burnside does not directly quote her on the assertions that she was "reluctant" to sell or that her dogs motivated the decision. The piece does incorrectly identify her pets as all dogs. The Times has not responded to a request for clarification.

Judd's publicist has not responded to a request for comment at the time of this publication. A representative from Knight Frank, the real estate agency which handled the listing of Rednock, says the property is not currently on the market and could not comment further.

Photo credit: WENN


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