Anthony Bourdain gets candid about financial struggles due to drugs and lavish vacations

Anthony Bourdain is one of the wealthiest chefs in the world with an estimated $6 million fortune, but that wasn't always the case.

The celebrity chef got candid in a recent interview with Wealth Simple magazine about his financial struggles, which he attributes to his lavish spending before the publication of his best-selling book, "Kitchen Confidential," in 2000.

"I don't want to sound like I'm bragging about this, but the sad fact is, until 44 years of age, I never had any kind of savings account," Bourdain revealed. "I'd always been under the gun. I'd always owed money. I'd always been selfish and completely irresponsible."

Anthony, now 60, survived for many years off money he made being a no-name chef and by playing poker. As soon has he got his check, however, he'd spend it on drugs.

19 PHOTOS
Chef Anthony Bourdain
See Gallery
Chef Anthony Bourdain
(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Chef Anthony Bourdain, 27 October 2003. AFR Picture by MICHELE MOSSOP (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Chef Anthony Bourdain does a cooking demonstration at the South Beach Food And Wine Festival on February 26, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Chef Anthony Bourdain has a drink at Tintol restaurant in Times Square. Bourdain, 49, is the star of 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,' the Travel Channel series that's half travelogue and half food show. Traveling constantly for the show, on which he regularly grosses viewers out by eating such delicacies as fermented shark meat in Iceland - 'the smell alone would stop a rhinoceros in its tracks,' he says - means he's only in his Manhattan apartment a few days out of the month. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 21: Chef Tom Colicchio and TV personality Anthony Bourdain attend the Food Bank For New York City's Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards at Abigail Kirsch's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 21, 2009 in New York City (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for BWR)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain attend the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting Village on February 28, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 30: Anthony Bourdain discusses his book 'Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook' presented by Books and Books at Lincoln Theatre on June 30, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
TOP CHEF -- 'An Offer They Can't Refuse' Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jduges Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain (Photo by David Giesbrecht/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain attends the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village during the 2011 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 27, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends the Great Googa Mooga 2012 at Prospect Park on May 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 650 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Fallon -- (Photo by: Ira James/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TASTE - ABC's 'The Taste' features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain. (Photo by Sasha Shemirani/ABC via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 10: Anthony Bourdain attends the Disney ABC Television Group 2013 TCA Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 10, 2013 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Anthony Bourdain attends the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2013 Grand Tasting Village on February 23, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 10: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends 'Parts Unknown Last Bite' Live CNN Talk Show hosted by Anthony Bourdain at Atomic Liquors on November 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 24280_001_0026.JPG (Photo by Isaac Brekken/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: (L-R) Senior vice president for talent and content development Amy Entelis, Anthony Bourdain and Senior vice president of development and acquisitions Vinnie Malhotra attend the CNN Upfront 2014 at Skylight Modern on April 10, 2014 in New York City. 24679_002_0417.JPG (Photo by Bryan Bedder/WireImage for Turner Networks)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: Chef, Author and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain attends The 2015 Bronx Academy Of Letters Chefs' Tasting Benefit at The Edison Ballroom on March 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Author/chef Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Center For Fiction Benefit & Awards at The Metropolitan Club on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Weed was a major expense. Before I reached the point where weed made me paranoid and agoraphobic, it was costing me a few hundred dollars a week," the star recalled.

He also spent money he didn't have, using credit cards, for vacations to exotic locations.

"Going to the Caribbean was always the great indulgence," he detailed. "I'd find myself either with a fresh credit card, or maybe having somehow paid down the previous one though I don't remember actually ever doing that."

Usually, he'd quit his job and stay on the island until he maxed out whatever credit card he had at the time.

Anthony grew up in a middle-class family in New Jersey that had just enough money to get by. However, he attended an elite private school and was the poorest one out of his friends. He became motivated to make his own money because his friends could afford drugs and he couldn't:

"That was certainly a motivator, maybe a bad one, but a not unimportant one: my friends could afford drugs, I could not. They would share but, of course, the thing about cocaine is that you can never have enough."

12 PHOTOS
Anthony Bourdain and Ottavia Busia together
See Gallery
Anthony Bourdain and Ottavia Busia together
NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Television personality Anthony Bourdain (R) and Ottavia Busia walk in the West Village on March 31, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Television personality Anthony Bourdain (R) and Ottavia Busia walk in the West Village on March 31, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 21: Ottavia Busia and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain attend the Food Bank For New York City's Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards at Abigail Kirsch's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for BWR)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Television personality Anthony Bourdain (R) and wife Ottavia Busia attend the 2009 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on September 12, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - JULY 30: Television personality Anthony Bourdain (R) and Ottavia Busia attend the 'Julie & Julia' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 30, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
(L-R) Ottavia Busia and Chef Anthony Bourdain attend 'Have A Foodie Holiday' in partnership with Food Network, Cooking Channel and Illycafe at Barneys New York on November 16, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Killian/WireImage)
NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Ottavia Busia and Chef Anthony Bourdain attend the Food Bank for New York City's 8th Annual Can-Do Awards dinner at Abigail Kirsch�s Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 20, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Food Bank)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Ottavia Busia and chef Anthony Bourdain attend the premiere of 'The Big Short' at Ziegfeld Theatre on November 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: Chef, author and television host Anthony Bourdain (R) and Ottavia Busia attend the 53rd annual CLIO awards at the American Museum of Natural History on May 15, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Ottavia Busia and Anthony Bourdain attend the launch of The Culinary Council at The Empire State Building on December 7, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: (L-R) Ottavia Busia and Anthony Bourdain attend 'The Big Short' New York screening Ziegfeld Theater on November 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

He started by working as a bike messenger. After graduating high school, he went to college but dropped during his second year because he couldn't afford it.

Anthony then began his relationship with food by attending culinary school. As years went on, he earned money through books like "Bone in the Throat" and "Gone Bamboo," but that still wasn't enough.

When "Kitchen Confidential" published in 2000, Bourdain was struggling to make ends meet -- he was "seriously behind on rent," hadn't filed taxes in a decade and it had been years since he'd "communicated with American Express in a timely manner."

After the success of his book, he was able to become a celebrity chef full time. His struggles showed him a thing or two about being smart with your money. Now, he can't stand the idea of being in anyone's debt.

"Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don't want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea."

The culinary connoisseur has risen through the ranks to become one of the most famous chefs in the world. He was even labeled as the "culinary bad boy" by Gothamist.

He's broken bread with former president, Barack Obama, starred on several TV shows and traveled the world (without maxing out his credit card, we might add). He currently hosts a show titled "Anthony Bourdain: Parks Unknown," which airs on CNN.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.