A new unauthorized biography of Anthony Bourdain has received criticism from the celebrity chef’s family over what they call “hurtful and defamatory fiction” surrounding Bourdain’s final days before his suicide in 2018
The book, Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain written by journalist Charles Leershen, had excerpts published by The New York Times and the revelations have certainly gotten people talking.
In one excerpt, text messages Bourdain wrote to his estranged wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, saw that the chef wasn’t happy:
There has been no confirmation stating that Busia-Bourdain, who separated from Bourdain in 2016, provided the text messages. However, she does control his estate, which would include these messages.
Since Bourdain’s separation from his wife, he began a relationship with actor Asia Argento. It was the exchanges he had with her that may give the greatest insight into the chef’s mental state before his death. The book examines their turbulent relationship and cites a specific example where both were upset when separate social media photos depicted each of them with separate partners. Bourdain with his wife and daughter, and Argento dancing with a French reporter.
Bourdain texted Argento about the photo:
Bourdain then wrote that he was hurt that “the tryst” took place in Rome’s Hotel de Russie, where the couple had previously been patrons. Argento responded, “I can’t take this.” She went on to claim that she couldn’t participate in the relationship any longer due to his possessiveness.
When Bourdain wrote, “Is there anything I can do?,” she replied, “Stop busting my balls.” The final text from Bourdain was simply, “OK.” He hanged himself later that day.
According to the Times, the book hasn’t been met with praise but “already drawn fire from Mr. Bourdain’s family, former co-workers and closest friends.” Anthony’s brother, Christopher Bourdain sent the publisher, Simon & Schuster, two emails calling the book “hurtful and defamatory fiction.”
Simon & Schuster responded to these emails:
Argento wrote to the Times to say that she had not read the book and that she “wrote clearly to [Leerhsen] that he could not publish anything I said to him.”
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