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Jim Carrey target of wrongful death lawsuit in former girlfriend’s suicide

Jim Carrey at the final taping of “The Late Show with David Letterman”. CREDIT: DENNIS VAN TINE/STAR MAX
Jim Carrey at the final taping of “The Late Show with David Letterman”. CREDIT: DENNIS VAN TINE/STAR MAX

Jim Carrey’s former girlfriend, 30-year-old Cathriona White, died of an apparent suicide almost one year ago. On Monday, Carrey was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit in connection to White’s overdose.

The suit alleges a string of strange, sad actions on Carrey’s part: That he illegally obtained prescription drugs under a fake name; that, despite knowing White’s tendency toward depression and multiple previous suicide attempts, he provided her with those pills, leading to her overdose on September 28, 2015; that, while White was still alive and in a relationship with him, Carrey was secretly monitoring her “comings and goings” using surveillance equipment he had installed at her home; and that, after White’s death, Carrey tried to cover up his involvement.

The man behind the lawsuit is Mark Burton, White’s husband. Though the couple was reportedly estranged — White began her on-again, off-again relationship with Carrey in 2012 — Burton and White were still legally married at the time of White’s death. The two wed in Las Vegas in January 2013 at the Heavenly Bliss Wedding Chapel. (People also reported that “few people, including some relatives, were even aware she had a husband.”) Burton is reportedly White’s legal next of kin. Us Weekly reported that, before she died, White was separated from her husband and planned to file for divorce.

White was found dead in her home in Sherman Oaks, California, after taking a mix of Percocet, Ambien, and Propanolol (the L.A. County coroner’s report confirmed the cocktail). But none of the drugs she’d taken had been prescribed to her. They belonged to Carrey, who obtained the pills under the alias “Arthur King.” Three pill bottles found near White’s body bore the “Arthur King” name. The lawsuit alleges Carrey gave White the pills just days before her suicide.

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The suit goes on to say that, to cover his tracks, Carrey sent White a text message days after her death pretending he’d lost the drugs — essentially creating the illusion that White had stolen the drugs from Carrey, unbeknownst to him. The lawsuit claims that Carrey had in fact given White the drugs of his own accord.

The story that Carrey didn’t even notice the pills were missing until days after White’s overdose is one that made its way into Us Weekly, which quoted a source saying “Jim didn’t even realize until a couple days later because it’s not something that he took on a regular basis.”

Jim Carrey carries the coffin of his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White as they walk to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in her home village of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, Ireland, ahead of her funeral, Saturday Oct. 10, 2015. CREDIT: AP
Jim Carrey carries the coffin of his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White as they walk to Our Lady of Fatima Church, in her home village of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary, Ireland, ahead of her funeral, Saturday Oct. 10, 2015. CREDIT: AP

Carrey later publicly offered to pay the funeral expenses in White’s native Ireland; the lawsuit claims Carrey’s performative kindness was a concerted effort on his part to present himself as “a grieving, good guy.” People reported at the time that Carrey volunteered to pay to have White’s body flown home to Ireland, quoting a “source” who said, “Jim is doing everything he can to help. He is devastated, but can’t imagine how her family must feel… Her family has access to his car during this awful visit to L.A. [He’s] helping out financially as well.’’

But once the PR effort was over, the lawsuit alleges, “Carrey never paid a dime of funeral expenses,” instead reneging on the offer after discovering White had left some money to her family.

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“White’s death was tragic and easily avoidable,” the lawsuit states. “It has had a debilitating and devastating effect on White’s family and friends.”

Carrey has yet to comment on the lawsuit. His last public appearance was a bizarre one: He “disrupted” Showtime’s Emmys party on Saturday night, interrupting a speech by network president David Nevins. According to Page Six, Carrey was “screaming David’s name while standing on a seat cushion and banging the glass door with two fists.”

UPDATE (September 20): Jim Carrey issued a statement in response to the lawsuit: “What a terrible shame. It would be easy for me to get in a back room with this man’s lawyer and make this go away, but there are some moments in life when you have to stand up and defend your honor against the evil in this world. I will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved. I really hope that some day soon people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace.”