What Happened to Ashley Judd? Actress Walks Again Six Months After Life-Threatening Injury

Ashley Judd is walking again, nearly six months after she was flown to South Africa for emergency surgery because she broke her leg during a trip in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The actress has released footage over the weekend of her hiking, showing the incredible progress of her rehabilitation.

This came after she has updated her fans of the healing process.

What Happened to Ashley Judd?

Almost six months ago, Judd was working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an area called Kokolopori.

She said they set up a "research camp" in the rainforest to help look for bonobos, which are an endangered species.

While she was there, she tripped over a log and broke her leg, leaving her unable to walk.

In February, Judd posted images of her being carried in a hammock out of the rainforest by two men, with a caption that told the story of her "grueling 55-hour odyssey."

She said: "Papa Jean: it took 5 hours, but eventually he found me, wretched and wild on the ground, and calmly assessed my broken leg. He told me what he had to do.

"I bit a stick. I held onto Maud. And Papa Jean, with certainty began to manipulate and adjust my broken bones back into something like a position I could be transported in, while I screamed and writhed.

"How he did that so methodically while I was like an animal is beyond me. He saved me."

She also said the internal bleeding could have been fatal, or or could have resulted in the loss of her leg.

The nonprofit with which Judd has partnered, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, released its own tribute to her after the accident, saying she had been transferred to a hospital in South Africa for treatment.

Over the course of the following months, Judd occasionally posted updates, with videos of her in the hospital trying to walk.

She shared another post with a caption explaining how, when she arrived, she needed a blood transfusion and a "Big Operation," despite the fact that the hospital in Johannesburg was "plagued" by the Beta variant of coronavirus.

In April, Judd posted an image of her carrying a hiking guide to the Patagonian Andes, saying she intends to walk them and return to the Congolese rainforest despite a huge recovery journey ahead.

She said: "With the kind of injury I (& many others) have, we speak of degrees. In the video, 109 degrees was an outrageous dream, & trying to reach it was agony. I did 60 of those heel slides a day. I sobbed through them. I made it because of the loving exhortation and validation of my many friends.

"Yesterday, I effortlessly reached the benchmark of 130 degrees. I can nearly reach my knee as you see in one picture. My feet can rest almost parallel. The knee is coming along, the four fractures healing.

"The peroneal nerve injury will take at least a year I concentrate hard at moving my very still foot (and appreciate my sister's medical-grade massages which remind my brain that I do have a right foot). Come June, I will walk with a brace and a cane."

On August 1, Judd posted her most recent video of her walking unaided through the Swiss Alps, wearing a brace around her knee.

She wrote: "Stepping in, I felt in my ease, my natural garment of self, at home in my spirit. My leg and foot, worked beautifully. I walked up hill on uneven surfaces for an hour confidently and came down carefully and easily...

"My leg will never be the same. She is a new leg. And I love her. We are buddies. We have a come a long way and we have a fabulous life ahead."

She also said she could "barely walk" just two months before this, and thanked the various people involved in her long recovery.

Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd speaking onstage in April 2019 in New York City. Judd recently posted images of her walking six months after a major injury. Mike Coppola/Getty Images