Anthony Bourdain ‘never stopped drinking’ and ‘hated’ himself, controversial new biography claims

Jess Hardiman

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Anthony Bourdain ‘never stopped drinking’ and ‘hated’ himself, controversial new biography claims

Featured Image Credit: Erik Pendzich/Alamy/@alexis_schonstein/Instagram

Anthony Bourdain ‘never stopped drinking’ and ‘hated’ himself, according to a controversial new biography from journalist Charles Leerhsen about the late star's life.

Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain is a forthcoming biography which includes some of Bourdain's final text exchanges with family and friends in the lead-up to his 2018 suicide – something that has been met with some backlash from those close to the chef and TV star. 

In new excerpts shared by the Guardian, Leerhsen details Bourdain’s apparent drinking problem, which followed an earlier drug addiction that the star spoke openly about in previous memoirs. 

Bourdain in Parts Unknown. Credit: CNN
Bourdain in Parts Unknown. Credit: CNN

The outlet explains that in the prelude to Down and Out in Paradise, Leerhsen claims Bourdain knew when he started out in television that he was keen to ‘travel around the world, eat a lot of s**t and basically do whatever the f**k I want’. 

“That turned out to be a winning formula, and it left Tony with the distinct impression that, as he more than once said, ‘not giving a s**t is a really fantastic business model for television’,” Leerhsen says. 

But while Bourdain was lucky to be travelling across the globe for most of the year, meeting people from different walks of life and eating incredible food, not everything was as perfect as it seemed – with the biographer saying Bourdain’s trajectory was an ‘age-old story of being careful what you wish for, of dealing with success and love in oceanic proportions’. 

Leerhsen continued: “He became someone that he hated. By the time he realised that, he was too physically exhausted to straighten things out. He thought it simpler to seek what is famously called ‘a permanent solution to a temporary problem’.” 

Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento in 2018. Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Stock Photo
Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento in 2018. Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Stock Photo

The writer also speaks about Bourdain’s troubled relationship with drinking, adding: “Recovery, you might say, was one of the few things he couldn’t go all the way with. If he did something, he did it all out, whether it was comic books as a kid or fascination with the JFK assassination. But he pulled up short with recovery; he never stopped drinking.” 

The American chef took his own life in a hotel room in June 2018, allegedly heartbroken after seeing photos of his ex-girlfriend Asia Argento with another man. 

Argento said in an email to The New York Times that she made it clear to the book's author that he did not have consent to 'publish anything I said to him'. 

Bourdain’s brother, Christopher, meanwhile, sent the publisher two emails in August calling the book 'hurtful and defamatory fiction'. 

According to Esquire, Felice Javit, the vice president and senior counsel for the book's publisher, responded to the claims, saying: “With all due respect, we disagree that the material in the book contains defamatory information, and we stand by our forthcoming publication.” 

UNILAD has reached out to Bourdain's former assistant for comment.

Please drink responsibly. If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support 

Topics: Celebrity

Jess Hardiman
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