Monarch viewers have noticed an "eerie coincidence" in one of the show's storylines that seems similar to the real lives of famed mother-daughter country music duo The Judds. Now, addressing the comparisons, Monarch executive producer Jason Owens — who is also a music industry alum — tells PEOPLE that the show was never intended to mirror the iconic family. "What feels like art imitating life is really just one of the strangest, saddest, eeriest coincidences I've seen," Owens said. Please Note: Monarch Spoilers Below.
Monarch was created by Melissa London Hilfers, and is described as "a Texas-sized, multigenerational musical drama about America's first family of country music." In the debut episode, the family's matriarch Dottie Roman (played by Susan Sarandon) is revealed to have been diagnosed with cancer. With months to live, Dottie decides that she wants to die on her own terms, so she plans her own funeral and makes the decision to take her life. With her eldest daughter Nicky (Anna Friel) by her side in her bedroom, Dottie takes a lethal dose of pills.
This storyline struck many as being similar to the death of Naomi Judd, who died by suicide in April. IN the wake of her passing, Judd's daughters — singer Wynonna and actress Ashley — issued a statement, explaining that their mother had long been struggling with her mental health. "Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," the sisters said in a joint statement. "We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory." Notably, Monarch's storyline is a mere coincidence as it was written in 2019 and finalized prior to Naomi Judd's death.
Following the tragic news, The Judds — Naomi and Wynonna — were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. During the induction ceremony, Wynonna and Ashley spoke about their late mother. "My momma loved you so much and she appreciated your love for her and I'm sorry that she couldn't hang on until today," Ashley said while fighting tears.
"My heart's broken and I feel so blessed," Wynonna added. "At 2:20, I kissed her on the forehead and I walked away and this is the first place I've been. The last thing we did together as a family was with her, we all gathered around her and we said, 'The Lord is my shepherd.'" Notably, the Judds were a powerhouse country music duo, but they quit performing in the early '90s following Naomi's Hepatitis C diagnosis. They had recently reunited for a performance at the 2022 CMT Awards earlier this year. Monarch airs Tueadays at 9 p.m. ET, on FOX.