With the permission of Anthony Bourdain’s girlfriend Asia Argento, Rose McGowan has released to the media a letter that rebukes speculation that Argento and Bourdain were having relationship troubles prior to his suicide, and focuses instead on how the TV journalist and chef long struggled with depression and thoughts about ending his life.
Soon after Bourdain and Argento began dating, “Anthony told a mutual friend, ‘He’s never met anyone who wanted to die more than him,’” McGowan wrote in her letter.
Bourdain and Italian actress and director Argento began dating two years ago, and he became one of her fiercest defenders and #MeToo supporters after she joined McGowan in coming forward to publicly accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting them.
Following Bourdain’s suicide in France, McGowan traveled to Europe to be by Argento’s side. In her letter, McGowan depicts Bourdain, 61, and Argento, 42, as two creative souls who had “instant chemistry” when they met. They served as each other’s rocks during their individual struggles with depression and suicidal thinking, McGowan claimed.
“And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop,” McGowan continued. “Thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony’s depression didn’t let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice. His decision, not hers. His depression won.”
McGowan added that Bourdain “reached out for help” before his death but he didn’t take his doctor’s advice. She also rebuked people who are blaming Argento; rumors had surfaced that the actress had been seeing journalist Hugo Clement after the two were photographed earlier last week, laughing and hugging in Rome, the Daily Mail reported.
McGowan wrote, according to the Daily Beast, “Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony.”
McGowan added that her friend “has been through more than most could stand, and yet stand she does. She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide.”
McGowan added: “Do NOT do the s****t thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony. We are asking you to be better, to look deeper, to read and learn about mental illness, suicide and depression before you make it worse for survivors by judging that which we do not understand, that which can never fully be understood.”
Bourdain himself had documented his own history of suicidal thinking and self-destructive behavior in his books and in interviews. He revealed that he had overcome raging addictions to heroin and cocaine in the 1980s, but that he also became “aimless and regularly suicidal” when his first marriage to Nancy Putkoski failed in 2005, Page Six reported.
While traveling in the Caribbean, he would regularly get drunk and stoned and visit brothels, he explained in his 2010 book, “Medium Raw,” according to Page Six. His said his state of mind improved when he met a woman in London. That’s when his “nightly attempts at suicide ended,” according to Page Six.
Bourdain shared more of those thoughts in an interview with People magazine in February, saying there were times when he had engaged in reckless behavior or even thought he could be ready to die.
“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,’” he said, recalling something he said he’d once done for his show on the Travel Channel.
But he also told People that the birth of his 11-year-old daughter Ariane with second wife Ottavia Busia, whom he divorced in 2016, gave him reasons to stay alive and be happy.
“I also do feel I have things to live for,” he explained. He said that now “in retrospect, I don’t know that I would do (reckless things) today — now that I’m a dad or reasonably happy.”
Late Sunday, Busia posted to Instagram a photo of their daughter, performing at a concert over the weekend. As if writing to Bourdain, Busia captioned her photo: “Our little girl had her concert today. She was amazing. So strong and brave. She wore the boots you bought her. I hope you are having a good trip, wherever you are.”