Actress. One of two daughters born to Naomi Judd (the other daughter is Wynonna Judd), she is the one who decided not to become a country music singer, although she is reported to have the voice to do so.
She chose instead to go to college, the University of Kentucky, and then to become an actress.
Ashley's first big part was in the film Ruby in Paradise in 1993, but she didn't become a household name until starring in A Time to Kill with Matthew McConaughey (who she briefly dated) and Sandra Bullock in 1996. She had an opportunity for a bigger part in her first-ever role (a minor role as a store owner's wife) in the movie Kuffs (1992), but it would've involved a nude scene, which she adamantly refuses to do. Star Trek geeks know her well from her two appearances as Ensign Robin Lefler on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1991, one of which was the episode entitled "Darmok," considered by many to be one of TNG's finest. (Her other appearance on TNG was in "The Game.")
There was talk of bringing back Ensign Lefler for the movie Star Trek: Nemesis while it was in production in 2001, but Paramount (Star Trek's production company) balked at her megastar-level salary request, and recycled the idea into bringing back Wil Wheaton as Ensign Wesley Crusher for a brief cameo.
She has raised eyebrows with her well-publicized personal life and her relationship with her family, which has at times been tumultuous. She married stock car racer Dario Franchitti in 2001.
She is a self-described intellectual and devout Christian.