“The worst thing Asia ever said to me, she’d had a bad day, she was doing a play in uh, Turin? Somewhere in Italy. And she was rehearsing and she’d had a really bad day with the director. Dude, of course. And she comes home and she’s f— furious,” he remarked during a February interview with Popula, which was conducted a few days after PEOPLE traveled with him to Lafayette, Louisiana for the filming of an episode of Parts Unknown.
“And we’re texting back and forth, cause we only argue by text. She’s like, f— angry. F— you too! You always wanna win! You always wanna win!” he continued, adding that “I was really offended by this. I was so hurt by this.”
“I do not need to win,” Bourdain explained to writer Maria Bustillos. “I am not a competitive person. I need to survive.”
Argento, an Italian actress prominent in the #MeToo movement, and Bourdain had been in a relationship for more than a year. The pair met during the filming of Parts Unknown in 2016 and began dating a year later. Argento, 42, collaborated with Bourdain on his CNN show, and recently directed an episode set in Hong Kong.
Following the news of Bourdain’s death, Argento released a statement on social media. “Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did,” she wrote on Twitter. “His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated.”
In the interview, the late chef also told Popula that he was frustrated that Harvey Weinstein — whom Argento alleged forced oral sex on her in 1997—was seeking treatment for a sex addiction in Arizona at the time, and not behind bars.
“For me, I have this discussion with a number of people, as you might imagine,” Bourdain told writer Maria Bustillos. “However much people might want to see Harvey Weinstein dead or in jail, he’s in f——g Arizona. He is in Arizona, eating in restaurants in Arizona. And at off the grid restaurants in Arizona, so he can’t even eat at the best sushi restaurant in Scottsdale. He’s gotta go to some s— f——g place. So Arizona, I mean, as much as I’d like to see him, you know beaten to death in his cell … ”
Bourdain then shared a scenario of how he thought Weinstein might die.
“My theory of how he goes is uh, he’s brushing his teeth in a bathroom, he’s naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, he’s holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and he’s brushing his teeth—he suddenly gets a massive f——g stroke,” Bourdain said. “He stumbles backwards into the bathtub, where he finds himself um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone.”
“And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death,” he added.
In June, Weinstein pled not guilty to multiple sexual assault charges — including rape — brought against him in New York City. Weinstein was indicted in late May on charges of rape in the first and third degree as well as criminal sexual acts in the first degree. Weinstein was arrested on May 25 on those same counts and released on bail.
His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement that he was not surprised by the indictment, noting that it “does not add anything to the case we did not already know.”
“Mr. Weinstein intends to … vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies,” Brafman said. “We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr. Weinstein to be acquitted.”
Last week, 45 prominent members of the #MeToo movement — including Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette, Terry Crews, Anthony Rapp and Mira Sorvino — signed an open letter of support for Argento, who they say has been blamed her for the death of the 61-year-old celebrated chef by online trolls.
“Asia has now found herself on the receiving end of vicious cyberbullying and repulsive slander at the hands of internet trolls who hold her responsible for Anthony’s death,” the statement, obtained by The Wrap, states. “She has been accused of everything from causing her boyfriend’s suicide to trying to use her “survivor status” and the #MeToo movement to advance her career.”
“We are here to ask those who are angry and grieving the loss of Anthony to find a healthy outlet for their pain,” the statement continued. “Asia is a survivor, just as we are, and her fame and outward show of strength does not make her any less vulnerable. Asia is not a headline — she is a human being, and she is in horrific pain.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Video: Anthony Bourdain Reflects on Calling the Shots on His Show