"It is the most glorious thing in the world to be the father of a little girl," said the man who was adored by people around the globe, but who's own world revolved around his daughter.
When Anthony Bourdain passed away on June 8, 2018, we lost an amazing chef, a talented television host and a brilliant storyteller, leaving the world a little bit bleaker for his fans. But as much as we grieved the world-renowned celebrity chef, it was his family that were the most devastated. He left behind a broken-hearted ex-wife, Ottavia Busia, as well as a daughter, who have never forgotten him.
Bourdain and Busia first met through a mutual friend and were instantly struck with an attraction for each other. They fell deeply in love and after numerous dates, the two finally tied the knot on April 20, 2007. Before they knew it, the same year, they were given the gift of their daughter, Ariane. Things seemed to be going well for a while and the chef doted on his little girl.
However, things slowly started to fall apart between the food expert and his mixed martial arts wife and in 2016, the two decided to split. But it was an amicable separation as Bourdain told People that year, "My wife and I live, have lived, very separate lives for years... There's no drama here. We get along really, really well and it's not a big lifestyle change happening here."
The Kitchen Confidential author had even moved on and found love again with Italian actress and director Asia Argento. He continued to travel the world and explore the culinary delights it had to offer. Then in 2018, tragedy struck when the 61-year-old reportedly took his own life.
According to EOnline, CNN confirmed the news with a statement: "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."
And they were devastated at the fact that they would never again get to see or hold him again. Soon after his passing, Busia honored him by writing to him about their daughter and spoke about the small tribute the then-11-year-old paid to her dad. "Our little girl had her concert today," the devastated widow said on Instagram with a photo of Ariane at a microphone. "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."
She knew that this message was important to send to him because she had seen how close her ex-husband and daughter were to each other. Bourdain was truly a loving father and this was evident when in 2016, the host told People that he loves to spend time with Ariane in his downtime. “If I’m not traveling, I’m pretty much doing jack s— on a Friday night,” he said. “I’m not going to the hot new restaurant. I’m not walking a red carpet. I’m cooking something that my daughter decides she wants, or staying very close to home. When my daughter goes to sleep, I’m out. I’m done.”
He even spoke about how the two of them had a shared love of cooking. “Anything she can cook with me, she’s very happy, though it makes me nervous. She’s been cooking with me since she was seven. The first time she picked up a knife, for a dad that’s a terrifying thing, but I taught her well so so far so good.” In his book, Appetites: a Cookbook, he wrote, “I became a father at fifty years of age. That’s late, I know. But for me, it was just right. At no point previously had I been old enough, settled enough, or mature enough for this, the biggest and most important of jobs: the love and care of another human being," according to Access Online.
He also wrote, “From the second I saw my daughter’s head corkscrewing out of the womb, I began making some major changes in my life. I was no longer the star of my own movie — or any movie. From that point on, it was all about the girl. Fatherhood has been an enormous relief, as I am now genetically, instinctually compelled to care more about someone other than myself. I like being a father. No, I love being a father. Everything about it.”
A source close to the chef told People shortly after his death. “It was quite evident that Tony was a ‘lighter’ human being around his daughter. When he spoke about her, his eyes danced. He talked about her constantly.” The now-12-year-old Ariane had changed his life completely.
"For me, [love] means the same thing it meant in 2012 and the same thing it will mean in 2014. It is the most glorious thing in the world to be the father of a little girl," he said on The Taste in 2013. "She warms my heart so much each day. She loves cooking in the kitchen with me, gets up on a little chair and takes it really seriously. We make ratatouille together, omelets, she loves it. She puts on her little apron. She's the joy of my life."
R.I.P Anthony Bourdain.