Anthony Bourdain grappled with girlfriend Asia Argento’s alleged affair and raged against his celebrity chef status in foreboding texts leading up to his suicide, according to a controversial biography.
The texts, published by The New York Times on Tuesday from excerpts in “Down And Out In Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain” by Charles Leerhsen, paint a grim portrait of the “Kitchen Confidential” author’s final days. Bourdain died at age 61 in a French hotel room in 2018 while on assignment for his CNN culinary adventure show “Parts Unknown.”
“I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job,” Bourdain texted to his estranged wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, who remained a friend. “I am lonely and living in constant uncertainty.”
An accusatory exchange with Argento, the Italian actor and filmmaker who starred in the 2002 thriller “xXx” with Vin Diesel, is perhaps the most disturbing.
“I am not jealous that you have been with another man. I do not own you,” he wrote the day before his death. “But you were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life.”
Bourdain wrote that he was hurt that the alleged affair happened in a hotel they frequented together.
“I can’t take this,” Argento reportedly texted back and broke up with him.
A day later, the two communicated again via text. The exchange went thusly, according to the Times’ excerpt:
Bourdain: Is there anything I can do?
Argento: Stop busting my balls
Bourdain killed himself later that day.
The book has drawn fire from Bourdain’s brother Christopher, who accused the author of writing defamatory versions of his encounters with family members. But Leerhsen told HuffPost on Wednesday that the chef “intensely disliked” Christopher and stopped talking to him two years before his death. “Others in and near the family have confirmed to me that my portrayal of the Bourdain family dynamic is accurate,” the author said.
As for the texts, Busia-Bourdain controls her late husband’s estate, and his cellphone and laptop containing the messages and texts are part of the estate, the Times noted.
“I obtained the texts from a confidential source or sources,” Leerhsen told HuffPost. “I did not steal or in any sense ‘take’ them; they were given to me.”
Publisher Simon & Schuster described the book as a “groundbreaking, candid, well-sourced — but definitely unauthorized — biography of the celebrity chef and TV star Anthony Bourdain, based on extensive interviews with those who knew him intimately.”
Argento and Simon & Schuster did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for comment.