More March Madness: Ashley Judd Is a Newspaper Columnist

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(AP) March Madness has led Ashley Judd to a new role: newspaper columnist.

The 36-year-old actress — and rabid University of Kentucky fan — is writing a column for the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader during the NCAA tournament.

Judd, who attended UK, frequently attends the school’s basketball games.

“She knows the game,” Mike Johnson, deputy managing editor of the Herald-Leader, told The Associated Press on Thursday. “Everybody knows or understands that she’s a big Kentucky fan. She often comes to Lexington for games. It’s not unusual for her to attend the NCAA tournament games.”

Judd’s first column appeared Thursday, while she was in South Africa visiting Nelson Mandela. (The Wildcats survived a scare Thursday afternoon from Eastern Kentucky University, winning 72-64.)

Of UK’s chances of winning the tournament, Judd wrote: “I am an optimist, however, and I always believe,” then listed the keys to the Wildcats’ play to “take us out of the first round and on to the round of 16. By then, I will be back from praying a blessing on Mandela’s noble head to watch my Cats.”

If Kentucky keeps winning, the Herald-Leader hopes Judd will contribute a column each day the team plays. In place of payment, the newspaper will make a contribution to a charity of her choice.

Judd’s screen credits include “A Time to Kill,” “Double Jeopardy” and 2004’s “De-Lovely.”

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