Jim Carrey Faces Wrongful Death Suit in Suicide of Former Girlfriend
The estranged husband of Jim Carrey’s late girlfriend, Cathriona White, is suing the actor, claiming that he is responsible for White’s fatal overdose last year, PEOPLE confirms.
Mark Burton filed a wrongful death suit against Carrey in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, alleging that the 54-year-old actor used his “immense wealth and celebrity status” to illegally obtain the drugs that killed 30-year-old White, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.
Burton, who was married to White at the time of her death, alleges that Carrey obtained the drugs illegally under the false name “Arthur King” and gave them to White even though he knew the she was prone to depression and suicide. He also alleges Carrey attempted to cover up his involvement after her death.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Burton’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said he and Burton are asking for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to launch an investigation into White’s death. “We look forward to the facts and evidence relating to Mr. Carrey’s conduct and role in the death of Ms. White coming to light,” Avenatti said.
Carrey has responded to the suit in a statement obtained by PEOPLE: “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. Cat’s troubles were born long before I met her and sadly her tragic end was beyond anyone’s control. I really hope that some day soon people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace.”
The filing notes that a coroner determined that White had overdosed on Ambien, Propranolol and Percocet – none of which had been prescribed to the 30-year-old.
Just one month after White’s death, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said that there were four prescription medications found near White’s body when she was pronounced dead in her Los Angeles home. He said the Ambien, Percocet, Propranolol and Zofran were not in the her name. He explained that while three were under one name, a fourth was under another name.
The toxicology report notes that when police checked White’s phone, they found texts from Carrey asking if she “knew where his painkillers went from under his sink.” He also mentioned that a bottle of prescription anti-inflammatories was missing. In his complaint, Burton claims Carrey sent these “bogus” texts to “cover-up his conduct and complicity in her death.”
The complaint asks, “If Carrey legitimately believed White had taken the drugs from him and she had subsequently gone missing for days with no contact, then why would Carrey not immediately request law enforcement to check on her well-being after she did not return his text?”
The filing also claims that Carrey had an “obsession with controlling and manipulating White” and “had the ability to monitor surveillance cameras on a home White often stayed at and was able, by design, to view the residence remotely to keep track of White’s comings and goings.”
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Burton also accuses Carrey’s physician of misconduct, claiming in the filing that the two “were engaged in a conspiracy to wrongfully and illegally provide medications to Carrey under false names.”
Furthermore, the documents claim that Carrey reneged on his offer to pay for White’s funeral. Page Six first reported the news.
White overdosed on prescription pills in September 2015 and was found with a note addressed to Carrey, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, according to her autopsy report.
In the letter, White apologized to Carrey, writing, “I’m sorry you felt I wasn’t there for you. I tried to give you my best part.” She added, “Please forgive me. I’m just not for this world,” she added.
Carrey and White had split a week before her death.
Little is known about White’s marriage to Burton – including the timeline of when they were officially together – and source told PEOPLE that they were separated at the time of her death, adding: “She was going to start divorce proceedings in December.” News of her marriage came as a surprise to many, and sources in her hometown of Cappawhite, Ireland, told PEOPLE that few people, including some relatives, were even aware she had a husband.
With the one-year anniversary of White’s death approaching, a source told PEOPLE that Carrey is slowly moving on with his life.
“He’s doing good now but he’s still very much affected by her death,” the source said of the star, adding that White’s suicide “was extremely difficult for Jim.”
“There was a lot of sadness and many ‘what if’ questions,” the source said. “It hit him very hard. He went through a long grieving period.”