It’s been over three years since Anthony Bourdain took his own life at the age of 61.
The iconic chef, author, and television personality left behind an 11-year-old daughter, a legion of adoring fans, and a slew of unanswered questions.
After decades in the trenches of New York City’s hyper-competitive fine dining scene. Bourdain’s midlife career success made him the envy of millions.
But according to an upcoming book by journalist Charles Leerhsen, behind the fame, the food, and the jet-setting lifestyle lurked a man plagued by self-doubt and bouts of crippling depression.
According to Leerhsen, Bourdain spent his final days “injecting steroids, drinking to the point of blackout and visiting prostitutes, and had all but vanished from his 11-year-old daughter’s life.”
In Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain, Leershen included text messages that were written by Bourdain just hours before his suicide.
Excerpts from the book were published in Tuesday’s New York Times and have already generated tremendous controversy.
“I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job,” Bourdain wrote to his second wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain shortly before he hanged himself in a Paris hotel.
“I am lonely and living in constant uncertainty.”
Leershen reports that in his final days, Bourdain was “incensed” over paparazzi photos of girlfriend Asia Argento dancing with journalist Hugo Clément in a Rome hotel.
Apparently obsessing over the press coverage of this alleged act of infidelity, Bourdain conducted online searches of Argento’s name “hundreds of times” before his death.
“I am okay. I am not spiteful. I am not jealous that you have been with another man. I do not own you. You are free. As I said. As I promised. As I truly meant,” Bourdain texted Argento on the last day of his life.
“But you were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life.”
“I can’t take this,” Argento allegedly responded.
“Is there anything I can do?” Bourdain asked, to which his ex replied, “Stop busting my balls.”
According to Leerhsen, Bourdain’s final text, sent to Argento just moments before his death, read simply, “OK.”
In a 2018 interview with The Daily Mail, Argento addressed the allegations that she bears any responsibility for Bourdain’s death.
“People say I murdered him. They say I killed him. I understand that the world needs to find a reason. I would like to find a reason too,” she said.
“People need to think that he killed himself for something like this. He cheated on me, too. It wasn’t a problem for us,” Argento continued.
“He was a man who traveled 265 days a year. When we saw each other, we took really great pleasure in each other’s presence, but we are not children. We are grown-ups.”
In an interview with the Times, Leerhsen speculated that despite his many successes, Bourdain was ultimately unhappy with what his life had become.
“I think at the very end, in the last days and hours, he realized what he had become,” Leerhsen said.
“I don’t respect him killing himself, but he did realize and he did ultimately know he didn’t want to be that person he had become.”
Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain is scheduled for release on October 11.