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Anthony Bourdain realized he had become 'bully', 'neglectful dad' during his final days, says author

'He realized he'd become the person he'd vowed never to be,' said 'Down and Out in Paradise-The Life of Anthony Bourdain' author Charles Leerhsen
UPDATED OCT 16, 2022
Anthony Bourdain killed himself in 2018 (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain killed himself in 2018 (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Famous Chef and host Anthony Bourdain, who killed himself on June 8, 2018, inside his hotel room in France, realized he was a bully in his final days, claims writer Charles Leerhsen. The biographer of an unauthorized biography of the legend, 'Down and Out in Paradise - The Life of Anthony Bourdain,' mentioned in the book that a moment of despair led to the 61-year-old's death.

Leerhsen also believes that the celebrity chef, who was dating Italian film actress Asia Argento at the time of his death, had become obsessed with her. “I think in his last months, if not his last hours, he came to realize he had, in fact, become this terrible bully to the people he worked with, he’d become a neglectful father, and everything was all about his obsession with this woman."


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According to The Sun, Leerhsen stated, “I think he had a moment of enlightenment which was also like a moment of despair because that was the thing he had vowed never to become.” Further, he explained, “He was a mature man and he understood what was happening to him more than a younger person if they get swept up in fame in their twenties." Charles later explained, "He vowed never to become that sort of monster that fame can turn you into."  

Chef Anthony Bourdain and actor Asia Argento attend the 2018 Women In The World Summit at Lincoln Center on April 12, 2018 in New York City.
Chef Anthony Bourdain and actor Asia Argento (Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Leerhsen also said, “It seemed that at that point he was too exhausted from travel and from drinking to fix things, to untangle the knot he’d made of his life. He was just too exhausted and I think that led him to this brief moment where he decided to do what he did." Furthermore, he added, “As with a lot of suicides, if he’d somehow got past that moment, he may have never done it. He was always a very impulsive person, very full of romantic big ideas and I think it fit into that pattern of his life, that he realized he'd become the person he'd vowed never to be.”

The book released on October 11, 2022 (
The book was released on October 11, 2022 (

The writer also stated, "The coroner’s report stated that on the last night he had gone for a boozy dinner on his own and he drank quite a lot that night. Alcohol was I think a factor in his reaching that state." Further, he said, “Bourdain talked about the gap between the romance of traveling, which always seems so attractive, and the actual traveling itself which is very wearing. It was no different for him just because he was Anthony Bourdain."


Later, Charles explained, “He traveled 250 days a year while ingesting large amounts of a substance that will fatigue you. He was exacerbating that problem of fatigue and it left him in a state of total physical and mental exhaustion." However, he explained, “He didn't ever try to achieve that state of relief from exhaustion where he might then start to repair his life and move on with it. He certainly had a lot going in his life to build on.”

Executive Producer Anthony Bourdain speaks on stage at CNN Films - Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at TFF Panel & Party on April 16, 2016 in New York City. 26123_001_0112.JPG
Anthony Bourdain (Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner)

Meanwhile, the author said, “Soon after his death I was walking down the street in Brooklyn, where I live, and I saw a poster on a bus stop. Charles went on to add, “I thought ‘Wow, what a cool guy.’ He looked like the coolest guy in the world like he didn’t care but he was pulling it all off. But then he’d wound up taking his own life. Now it seems obvious but I thought ‘How did that happen?." However, he explained, “It was all about this question of how the guy with the best job in the world and the best life in the world could wind up taking his own life." “Not that I was going to solve the mystery of exactly why someone kills themselves, but I might be able to understand better how he got to that point of complete despair," he said.

The book, 'Down and Out in Paradise - The Life of Anthony Bourdain,' was released on October 11, 2022 and was published by ‎Simon & Schuster.