Anthony Bourdain's 'Grueling' Work Schedule Caused Depression, Friend Says

Anthony Bourdain's work schedule for Parts Unknown and other projects led him to "isolate," according to a source close to the late TV personality.

PEOPLE spoke with an anonymous source who "worked closely" with Bourdain over the past year, and they allege that his lifestyle took a toll on his well-being.

"​His travel schedule was grueling and he often seemed quite beat-up from it, as anyone would be," the source said. "He'd put everything into the shoots and then go back to his room to isolate."

While Bourdain's work schedule was a lot to handle, it was normal for the celebrity chef to put in more than his fair share of work on Parts Unknown.

"It never struck me as peculiar, but it was as if he gave everything to his work and then had nothing, zero, left for himself afterwards," the source said. "He was always very, very [tired]. He pushed himself extremely hard. Most producers and crew don't work on every single episode, it's just too much especially if you have a family. But that wasn't an option for Tony."

Despite all this exhaustion, Bourdain did not publicly falter to the stress. He apparently carried on his day in normal fashion, albeit a bit tired.

"We never had any sense of depression or mental illness," the source said. "He was not especially cheerful or engaging, off camera, but it was never rude or ill-intentioned. The guy was absolutely exhausted."

Bourdain hosted Parts Unknown for 11 seasons. Before the CNN documentary series, he hosted No Reservations and The Layover on The Travel Channel, as well as A Cook's Tour on Food Network.

As TMZ points out, Bourdain once opened up about feeling isolated on an episode of Parts Unknown. In what was a series of therapy sessions used throughout an episode. Some aspects of the therapy bits are humorous, but some come off much more serious.

"I will find myself in an airport, for instance, and I'll order an airport hamburger. It's an insignificant thing, it's a small thing, it's a hamburger, but it's not a good one, Bourdain said. "Suddenly I look at the hamburger and I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days. ... I feel kind of like a freak and I feel very isolated. I communicate for a living but I'm terrible at communicating with people I care about."

He added, "There's the evil cheeseburger that sets me off. Suddenly I'm super depressed for days. It's like that with the good stuff too. I have a couple of happy minutes there where I'm thinking, life is pretty good."


If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Photo Credit: CBS / Jeffrey R. Staab