Anthony Bourdain, a famous chef and culinary legend, committed suicide in 2018 and left behind a widow named Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, the mother of his sole child, Ariane Bourdain. However, despite what these facts might lead one to believe, Bourdain’s love life was considerably more convoluted. Although Bourdain and Busia-Bourdain were still technically married at the time of Bourdain’s passing, they had been publicly estranged for several years, giving Bourdain the freedom to pursue other relationships, such as a two-year romance with the Italian actress Asia Argento, with whom Bourdain was still involved at the time of his passing. The public has primarily focused on Bourdain’s connections with Busia-Bourdain and Argento, but they weren’t the only Anthony Bourdain’s only significant relationships with women.
In particular, Bourdain was formally divorced from Nancy Putkoski in 2005 after being married to her for about 20 years, starting in the mid-1980s. However, the relationship started in some shape or form in the early 1970s, when Bourdain was still a high school student, and continued for over two decades. However, nothing is known and publicly said about the woman who stood by Bourdain as he grew up and became famous. So who is Anthony Bourdain’s enigmatic ex-wife? What makes her seem so impenetrable, and why? Here is Nancy Putkoski, Anthony Bourdain’s first wife previously,’s undisclosed story.
Who IS Nancy Putkoski?
It would be quite acceptable if you considered that possibly “rumors about Bourdain’s first marriage have been grossly overblown” because there is so little publicly available information concerning Anthony Bourdain’s first wife, Nancy Putkoski. But it simply isn’t the case. According to Anthony Bourdain, “Nancy and I were either a couple or married for more than two decades.
My wife, my business partner, and earlier still my girlfriend, “through Daily Life, with whom Bourdain had a 2012 interview. According to Bourdain, “At high school, I fell in with your average bad crowd, but I also fell in love with Nancy Putkoski,” as in Daily Life
. He remembered that Nancy was older than he was and that she had graduated from high school a year earlier than he would have had he not completed early. Dwight Englewood is a private high school in northern New Jersey that Bourdain attended while growing up in Leonia, New Jersey (via YouTube). It is plausible to assume that Putkoski also attended Dwight Englewood based on Bourdain’s comments to Daily Life.
Early Life and Meeting Anthony Bourdain
There are few facts available regarding Nancy’s life before meeting Bourdain. She attended Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey, where it is known that she finally met Anthony. Before getting married in 1986, the pair dated for a few years. After graduating from high school, she would continue her education by attending college, but neither the school she attended nor the degree she earned is known.
Nancy mostly remained in the background as her husband gradually rose to recognition and notoriety in his profession. She valued her privacy. Thus, information about her family and professional life was kept out of the public eye. There has been speculation as to why the couple didn’t have children, but there is no definitive reason.
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The Chef Anthony Bourdain
While the couple’s relationship remained solid and encouraging, Bourdain went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America. As the years went by, this allowed him to work in many different professional kitchens, including Brasserie Les Halles, where he eventually rose to the executive chef position. He would work his way up to become among the most influential chefs in the world. His renown grew in 2000 due to the success of his book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.”
He also ventured into the world of television, where he began hosting numerous cuisine programs featuring travel. He participated in the Food Network’s “A Cook’s Tour” series, and he also hosted “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on the Travel Channel. However, his marriage to his wife began to suffer in 2005, and their eventual divorce followed. Even after splitting from Nancy, he continued working and is most known for his current program, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Throughout his career, he has earned various honors and distinctions.
Anthony Bourdain described Nancy Putkoski as a ‘bad girl in high school.
Suppose Nancy Putkoski went to a private high school in New Jersey before enrolling at the prestigious Vassar College in upstate New York. In that case, it’s possible that she, like Anthony Bourdain, was raised in a household with at least moderate financial resources. However, it appears that Putkoski may have also rebelled against the suburban status quo, much like Bourdain, who described himself as an “angry and alienated youngster” who was “liked… but loathed the routine of [his] household,” according to Daily Life.
Nancy Putkoski, who was older than him and “part of a druggy crowd,” was referred to by Bourdain as “a nasty girl.” Not that he believed this to be negative. In reality, he was “smitten,” as he admitted, and this was at least part of the reason he decided to leave high school early. He then proceeded to Vassar, following Putkoski.
Nancy Putkoski and Anthony Bourdain might not have had a committed relationship in college.
It appears that Anthony Bourdain and Nancy Putkoski were high school sweethearts based on his comments and reports that mention the relationship. However, Bourdain made it clear to Daily Life that he was “smitten” with the older Putkoski, regardless of whether or not they had started dating while still in high school. He was so taken with her that he graduated from high school a year early to follow her to Vassar College, becoming one of the few men to enroll there.
According to Bourdain, Vassar was an “exclusive university for women” established in 1861 (through Vassar College). “When I arrived at 17 years old, I discovered that I was a novelty because they had just begun accepting guys. I was an unprepared, immature young man traveling with many female wolves, who essentially taught me how to live in the outside world.”
It would seem from this that Bourdain was hinting that Nancy Putkoski was not the only lady he had a romantic relationship with during his college years. Despite having accompanied Putkoski to Vassar, Bourdain left after two years to enroll in cooking classes at the Culinary Institute of America (via Heavy), which is only 15 minutes away from Vassar.
The Marriage of Nancy Putkoski and Anthony Bourdain
In an interview, Anthony Bourdain recalled meeting Nancy Putkoski for the first time. He gushed about how he was taken by her outspoken, fearless demeanor and ability to “go with the flow.” It was difficult to enter college and get a degree, but Anthony expressed her love of the arts and music. After enrolling at Vassar University, Anthony and Nancy went away to attend the Culinary Institute of America. A year later, he returned.
The two high school sweethearts wed in a short church ceremony in 1986, nine years after they first started dating. Nancy Putkoski, who is a year older than Anthony, and Anthony’s relationship were centered around Simpsons watching, Caribbean vacations, trying new foods, and drug use. Anthony’s drug abuse began due to his wife’s substance habit. Despite their closeness, the couple’s relationship could not be repaired after their 20-year marriage, and Nancy filed for divorce in 2005.
People assumed the absence of children was the cause of the divorce, although Anthony subsequently acknowledged that his job had an impact on the union. His profession involved traveling the world, which caused the 30-plus-year marriage to become tense and contradictory.
The Death of Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain has spent more than 25 years serving as a communicator for those unable to express their opinions to the world. He tried to connect with new people, learn about their cuisine and culture, and make new friends. When Anthony was killed on June 8, 2018, Bourdain committed suicide in a hotel room when Anthony and the TV team were in France recording a new season of “Parts Unknown.” His passing brought tears from fans, friends, and family worldwide.
When declaring Nancy Putkoski to be his “love of my life,” Anthony developed suicidal thoughts after his divorce was finalized. Two years later, he met Ottavia Busia, with whom he had Ariane Bourdain as a daughter. In a February 2018 interview, Anthony bragged that he finally had a reason to live since his daughter was the light in the darkness. So nobody anticipated that he would end his life. Ariane Bourdain performed in a small concert a few days after her father’s untimely death and wore the black high boots he had bought her.
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Nancy Putkoski, Anthony Bourdain’s ex Wife Divorce
Anthony recalled how it was challenging to have a camera crew following him during the couple’s dissolution and impending divorce because his personal life had begun interfering with his ongoing successful television work. Less time would be available for him to spend alone with his wife, adding to their strained relationship. Even though he repeatedly referred to her as the “love of his life,” the couple’s marriage would eventually crumble despite their best efforts.
According to rumors, Anthony would reportedly claim that their divorce, which was finally formalized in 2005 after a year of separation, was caused primarily by his continual travel. The divorce settlement went smoothly because they never had children. Following the decree nisi, Nancy lived a low-profile existence and hardly ever attracted media attention in her subsequent endeavors. On the other hand, Anthony became more well-liked, and two years later, he wed mixed martial artist Ottavia Busia. However, after nine years, their marriage too ended in divorce, reportedly once more as a result of Bourdain’s hectic travel schedule.