On Friday morning, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was found dead in a Paris hotel room from an apparent suicide, leaving behind his girlfriend, Asia Argento, and his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, whom he had with his ex-wife, Ottavia Busia. In what turned out to be his final interview with People, Bourdain told the publication in February that he felt “some responsibility” to “at least try to live” for Ariane, who had inspired him to stop living a dangerous lifestyle.
As quoted by People, Bourdain said that he felt he had “things to live for” at the present but hinted that it wasn’t always that way, even considering all of his accomplishments as a chef, best-selling author, and television personality.
“There have been times, honestly, in my life that I figured, ‘I’ve had a good run — why not just do this stupid thing, this selfish thing… jump off a cliff into water of indeterminate depth.'”
Anthony Bourdain added that before his daughter’s birth, he was the type of person who would “go to places” where he was “asking for trouble.” He added, however, that he was no longer sure whether he’d do such dangerous, “daredevil” things, considering how he had become a father, and how he was feeling “reasonably happy.”
As People further noted, Bourdain emphasized in the interview that he felt “happy in ways that I have not been in memory,” and in ways that he claims he had never expected. While he did not name any particular person as the reason for his happiness, Bourdain said that this was a result of meeting “somebody really strong,” which People suggested appeared to be a reference to Asia Argento, whom he started dating after his divorce from second wife Ottavia Busia. Bourdain also spoke in length to People about conquering cocaine and heroin addiction as a younger man, and how he switched to pursuing things he enjoys, such as films and books, with considerably “more zeal” than the average person.
According to Good Housekeeping, Anthony Bourdain’s daughter Ariane lives with her mother in New York City, and has mostly been kept out of the spotlight, given her late father’s celebrity status. That, however, didn’t stop Bourdain from referencing her in multiple interviews, including one with mom.me’s Amiee White Beazley in 2015, where he proudly talked about how Ariane, then 8-years-old, had a penchant for eating unusual foods, as inspired by her parents and by Bourdain’s fellow celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, and took her martial arts training seriously despite her young age.
“She’s been training jiu-jitsu since age 4. My sole duty as a parent and as a father, particularly raising a little girl who is going to grow up to be a young woman, is that she will never look to men for affirmation, or anyone else for affirmation or self-worth or be physically intimidated by anyone. My daughter spinning arm bars is a thing of envy—Ronda Rousey quality.”
As noted by The Takeout, Anthony Bourdain’s 2016 cookbook, Appetites, was mostly dedicated to his daughter, and included a number of dishes he enjoyed cooking for Ariane, whom he described as one of his “harshest critics.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.