The last days of Anthony Bourdain, who took his own life in 2018, are the focus of a large part of a new unauthorized biography, which even before its publication has generated strong controversy and angered family and friends of the American chef.
“Down and Out in Paradise”which goes on sale next October 11, draws a dark portrait of the final part of the life of the chef, writer and television star, who in June 2018 hanged himself in the room of a French hotel where he was staying while preparing an episode of his popular show “Parts Unknown.”
Excerpts from the book released in recent days by the US media describe a lonely Bourdain, who took steroids and drank until he passed out, who frequented prostitutes and who lived immersed in a complex relationship with the Italian actress. Asia Argento.
The biography includes text messages sent by Bourdain to Argento, including a tense exchange they had the night before his death, in which she tells him that she can no longer continue with him because of how possessive he had become, according to the magazine. People.
Also the last words that the couple exchanged and that the author, Charles Leerhsen, uses to open the book.
“I’m fine. I’m not spiteful. I’m not jealous that you’ve been with another man. I don’t own you You’re free. As I said. As promised. As I really meant”, he wrote to Argento. “But you were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life”he added.
“It would have been so easy to have helped me here. I needed so little. But “fuck you” is your answer”, the chef later indicated, before which the actress, who accused him of “idiotic possessiveness”, asked him to “I’ll call the damn doctor.” “I am the victim here,” Argento launched.
The following passage, published this week in The New York Times, could be translated as follows:
Bourdain: Is there anything I can do?
Argento: Stop breaking my balls.
Leerhsen obtained the most controversial materials from the book of files and messages recovered from Bourdain’s phone and computer, which are in the hands of his estate and controlled by his wife, Ottavia Busia-Bourdainfrom whom he had separated but who until his death remained his confidant.
The author told the Times that he obtained those materials from a confidential source, but that Bourdain’s estate has not objected.
Who has done it is the chef’s brother, Christopher Bourdain, who in August wrote to the publishing house Simon & Schuster denouncing that the book is defamatory and full of falsehoods and asking that its publication be stopped until numerous errors were corrected.
“Everything that (Leerhsen) writes about relationships and interactions in our family as children and adults he either made up or completely misunderstood,” he explained to The New York Times.
In addition, many of those closest to Bourdain and people who had worked with him refused to be interviewed for the book, according to the author because he was asked to do so by the chef’s agent and presenter for many years, Kim Witherspoon.
Leerhsen did exchange some emails with Argento, but the actress told the Times that she has not read the book and that she clearly told the writer that she “could not publish anything he told her.”
According to Leerhsen, his goal was to write a biography that was far from the “official” version and would explain “why the guy with the best job in the world took his own life.”
Bourdain, who died at the age of 61, rose to fame with his book “Kitchen Confidential” (2000) and gained great popularity in subsequent years thanks to his television programs for The Travel Channel, Food Network and CNN, in which he was mainly dedicated to traveling the world discovering the gastronomy and culture of different countries.