The Real Reason Anthony Bourdain Felt Conflicted About Family Life

When Anthony Bourdain was young, he thought he knew what "normal" might look like, as he tells someone on the street in a scene of the new documentary "Roadrunner."

"My whole life, I was like a kid with my nose pressed against the glass, wondering what must it be like to have a kid, a normal family, and stand in the backyard with this silly apron barbecuing burgers," Bourdain said. When he said that, he happened to have all of those things in his life. He was married to Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and firing up hot dogs and hamburgers on the backyard barbecue for her and their daughter Ariane. "I am never happier than when I'm standing in the backyard being like TV dad because I feel normal, whatever the hell that means."

Those moments and that feeling were fleeting. Family life overlapped with Bourdain's years on "No Reservations" and "Parts Unknown," and he was gone most of the year. "He straddled the world of being the domestic guy," Bourdain's longtime producer Chris Collins says in "Roadrunner." "But that pull for the experience outside — as if it was going to slip away if he wasn't there — was equally as great."

In 'Roadrunner,' Bourdain confesses that his happiness at home never lasted long

The new Anthony Bourdain documentary "Roadrunner" reveals the close friendship between Bourdain and Josh Homme, singer and guitarist for the rock band Queens of the Stone Age (via AllMusic). They bonded over the struggles both experienced, trying to balance home life with touring the world.

"It's weird," Bourdain tells Homme over shots of tequila in a scene in "Roadrunner." "I'm home, I'm ridiculously happy for a week, and then I start getting crazy, like I should be doing something." Bourdain had to agree with Homme's response: "I call it the bittersweet curse. Nothing feels better than going home and nothing feels better than leaving home."

Eventually, the pressures of Bourdain's travel schedule forced a split between him and Ottavia Busia-Bourdain. "It always seemed like what he wanted was this idyllic picture of family and ordinary life," Bourdain's second wife says in "Roadrunner." "After a while, maybe that wasn't enough anymore." In an interview promoting his new book "Appetites" in 2016, Bourdain was asked to explain the disconnect between what he wrote in the book's dedication, embracing "normal" family life, and the breakup of his marriage. "I travel 250 days a year," he tells the interviewer. "How normal could I ever hope to be?"