Rose McGowan is defending her friend, and Anthony Bourdain's girlfriend, Asia Argento ... saying there is NO reason to play the blame game after his suicide.
Rose says she knows people who knew Anthony, or just loved him on TV, want to "lash out and blame" someone for his death, but says Asia is not the one to blame. Rose is reportedly in Italy comforting Asia and calls her a "brave survivor."
describing the chemistry between Asia and Anthony ... saying they both battled demons and, at times, both wanted to die. Rose and Asia bonded as alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein, and Rose says Asia "did the work to get help, so she could stay alive" for her children -- but "Anthony's depression didn't let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice."
As we reported, photos surfaced last week of Asia hugging and holding hands with a French reporter -- at the same time Anthony was in France. Rose says people shouldn't read into that because, "Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships."
And there's this ... Rose says Anthony sought help for his depression but, for some reason, didn't take the doctor's advice. She adds, "It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony."