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Anthony Bourdain raved about daughter months before death: 'She knows she's loved'

The chef, author and travel host gave his daughter love and guidance — what he called "these basic things" — and marveled as she grew into her own person.
/ Source: TODAY

Anthony Bourdain was best known for his love of food and its inextricable place in culture, but there was another side to the chef, author and world traveler that the public rarely saw — he was also a devoted father.

In one of his final interviews, the 61-year-old opened up about that role and raved about the young girl who meant so much to him.

Bourdain spoke to the website Popula in February, and in that now-published piece, he revealed that his girlfriend, Asia Argento, shared with him an important message: "Children create themselves independently of us."

That meshed with the star's own views, in that he believed it was important to prepare his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, for the world around her without trying to shape her in his own image.

"All you can do is show," he said. "Like, in my case, my daughter feels loved. She knows she’s loved. She has good self-esteem. Very important. And good martial arts skills. So no man, no boy ... she knows she can take any boy in her age group."

Beyond that, all he really wanted for her was to be herself.

"That’s all I can do as a father," he explained. "I can’t pick all of the things that ... you know. I can’t. She so far ahead of me. I can’t pick her music, her boyfriends, whatever, however she’s going to turn out."

So he gave her the love and guidance — or what he called "these basic things" — and left the rest to her.

"I think how resolute she is, how much she wants to change the world, is willing to sacrifice in order to change the world," Bourdain continued, taking no credit for it. "That’s gonna have to come from within."

Bourdain also spoke of Ariane's mother — his second wife, Ottavia Busia, whom he separated from in 2016 but never divorced.

"Her mama … her mom is awesome," he said.

Just days after Bourdain's death by suicide in June, his ex shared a photo of their daughter performing at a School of Rock concert, carrying on a love of music and style that he didn't push on her, but she inherited all the same.

"Our little girl had her concert today," Busia wrote, addressing the late chef. "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."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit for additional resources.