'You Made Me Forget Myself': Everything the Late Anthony Bourdain Said About His Girlfriend Asia Argento
Bourdain, who died of an apparent suicide on Friday, and the Italian actress first met in late 2016 when Argento appeared on the Rome episode of Parts Unknown. The pair immediately connected over their love of the arts. "She’s a really accomplished director and writer along with being a longtime actress and a real sponge for culture, music, literature," Bourdain told PEOPLE in 2017. "She’s enormously helpful and inspiring."
The travel host spent about 250 days per year on the road but in between his shoots for Parts Unknown, Bourdain would make time to visit Argento in Italy. “Just a perfect day,” Bourdain wrote on an Instagram of one of their meetings in April. “You made me forget myself.”
While PEOPLE traveled with Bourdain on set of his CNN show in February for what would be his last PEOPLE interview, the quick-witted chef admitted that Argento had made him softer on set. "Oh, yeah. I'm happier for sure," he said. "It's nice to be with somebody who I see as a peer."
"She's been in the circus since she was nine. She knows so much more about so many of the things that are important to me: music, books, film, the technical aspects of film, and just the weird state of celebrity, being somebody that people come up to," Bourdain told PEOPLE in February. "That's something she's dealt with a lot longer than me. I was 44 before that started happening, whereas it's been like that for her since she was a kid."
Bourdain acknowledged that their shared priorities were one of the things that made their relationship work so well. “This woman likes to work. She is strong, independent, creative, and needs to have an obsession, needs to make things," he told PEOPLE. "I think we're both relieved by the fact that we both respect each other's work. Nobody's ever going to say, 'Oh, but you promised we were going to go to the beach.' No, you get a gig, that's it. Work first."
Bourdain was a fierce supporter of the #MeToo movement after Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. (Weinstein has “unequivocally” denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex”). “I am proud and honored to know you,” Bourdain tweeted after the actress went public with her story. “You just did the hardest thing in the world.”
During the PEOPLE interview, Bourdain described himself as being “happy in ways that I have not been in memory” and “happy in ways I didn’t think I ever would be, for sure.” He attributed that happiness to Argento. "I met someone really strong," he said.