Anthony Bourdain’s elderly mother admits she was “never really a fan” of her famous son’s tattoos, but she said she plans to get one in his memory. In an interview with The New York Times, Gladys Bourdain revealed that she plans to get “Tony” tattooed in small letters on the inside of her wrist as a personal—and permanent—memorial to her late son. Gladys will use Anthony’s tattoo artist for her ink and it will be her only tattoo.
Bourdain, a TV chef and host of the CNN travel show Parts Unknown, got his first tattoo at age 44, shortly after the publication of his breakout book, Kitchen Confidential. Anthony went on to get several more tattoos as he chronicled his culinary journeys, opting for ink over a camera.
Last summer, Bourdain told Maxim that while he didn’t “overly place importance on them,” he felt that tattoos “commemorate in a way that photographs can’t.”
“I stopped taking photographs a long time ago when I travel, Anthony told Maxim. “There’s this realization that the lens is inadequate to capture the moment, so maybe I’m just looking to mark time in another way that’s very personal.”
Bourdain described his first tattoo as a “beautiful, very thick tribal tattoo,” which he admitted did not make his first wife, Nancy Putkoski, very happy. Bourdain explained that he got the tattoo to congratulate himself on his sudden change of fortune after the success of his bestselling book.
“I thought, I deserve to go do something for myself,” Bourdain explained. “I really enjoyed it. You get one, you want another right away.”
Anthony Bourdain also admitted that he always got a “big endorphin rush” whenever he got a tattoo. He also didn’t rule out getting future tattoos, even in his 60s.
“I well understand that any additional tattoos are not going to make me any younger, any hipper, any more relevant, or even more attractive,” Bourdain said. “It’s a selfish, personal thing. I jokingly say, ‘I’m driving an old car. It’s filled with dents. One more dent ain’t gonna make it any worse than this.'”
Anthony Bourdain was found dead by a longtime friend after taking his own life in a France hotel room on June 8. The late author and TV star was cremated in France. Gladys Bourdain, a former editor at The New York Times, told NBC News the last time she from her son was in an email on Mother’s Day. Gladys said she had no idea that Anthony was struggling.