Anthony Bourdain‘s final moments have been laid bare as the late celebrity chef’s unauthorised biographer makes new claims.
According to Charles Leerhsen, who says he had access to Bourdain’s text messages and other records for his book Down and Out in Paradise – The Life of Anthony Bourdain, Bourdain googled his ex-girlfriend Asia Argento 300 times before he died, The Sun revealed. The late television personality died by suicide in France in June 2018 at 61.
Five days before he died, Leerhsen’s book claims Bourdain saw photos of Argento, now 47, dancing with French journalist Hugo Clément, now 32, and Leerhsen alleges that Bourdain “punished” himself by searching Argento’s name online repeatedly, as well as googling sex worker services.
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Leerhsen, who is the former executive editor of Sports Illustrated, says he believes Bourdain’s last words were written to Argento, sent as they were arguing over text message.
Agrento reportedly wrote to Bourdain, ”Stop busting my balls” and Bourdain reportedly responded, “OK.”
“I think that’s the last thing he said to her,” Leerhsen told The Sun. “She kept texting and kept the argument going after that happened but he didn’t respond after that point because I think he was gone. She didn’t know he was gone.”
Leerhsen said he believes Bourdain was exhausted from constantly travelling and drinking that he was “unable to repair his life.”
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Argento has spoken out in the past about how her alleged infidelity was not to blame for her ex-partner’s death.
“People say I murdered him. They say I killed him. I understand that the world needs to find a reason. I would like to find a reason too,” she told the Daily Mail three months after his death, in September 2018.
“People need to think that he killed himself for something like this. He cheated on me, too. It wasn’t a problem for us.
“He was a man who travelled 265 days a year. When we saw each other, we took really great pleasure in each other’s presence, but we are not children. We are grown-ups.”
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When the text messages were first published in an extract by the New York Times last month, Argento told the publication she had not read the book but told the publication of its author: “I wrote clearly to this man that he could not publish anything I said to him.”
Days after her final text to Bourdain was revealed, Argento seemingly reacted to it being made public by wearing a T-shirt featuring bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman
Argento superimposed a photo of the T-shirt with the caption on her Instagram Story: “Stop Busting My Balls”, the same words she allegedly sent Bourdain before he died.
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Leerhsen said Bourdain’s death is not Argento’s fault, though he said he believes she was “cavalier” with his feelings, calling the relationship a “teenage love affair” and saying Bourdain wanted to be more serious than Argento, which Leerhsen said was something Argento “had every right not be pushed into that kind of relationship.”
“I don’t blame her for what happened to him,” Leerhsen told The Sun. “Although I think she helped drive him to that place of despair, I don’t think she can be held responsible for his death.”
The publication of Down and Out in Paradise – The Life of Anthony Bourdain has been marred with controversy due to the fact that it’s an unauthorised biography, with the Los Angeles Times highlighting that Bourdain’s brother Christopher called it “hurtful and defamatory fiction.”
The Times, however, also said Leerhsen claimed in an email to them that other Bourdain family members and friends who received advanced copies “have confirmed that my take on the Bourdain family dynamic is accurate.”
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