On Monday, actor Jim Carrey was sued for allegedly facilitating the September 2015 suicide of his ex-girlfriend, Cathriona White. Mark Burton, married to 30-year-old White at the time of her death, filed the lawsuit for wrongful death and drug violations. He says that Carrey illegally procured painkillers for White that she used to end her life.
According to USA Today, Burton hopes to disabuse the public of their impression of Carrey as a “grieving good guy.” He contends that Carrey was heedless and dishonest both before White’s suicide and in its aftermath.
White, an Irish makeup artist, was found dead in a Sherman Oaks, California residence, having overdosed on Ambien, Propranolol, Percocet, and other heavy prescription drugs. The Los Angeles coroner’s office later determined that the death was a suicide.
Carrey purportedly acquired these drugs for White under the name “Arthur King” with the aid of a crooked physician. According to Burton, White’s history of depression and previous suicide attempts should have deterred Carrey from supplying her with potentially deadly medications.
“The result that followed was foreseeable and predictable,” the lawsuit reads.
Carrey rejects these allegations and, in a statement provided to USA Today, condemns Burton’s lawsuit as a selfish act:
“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 the 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 someday people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace.”
Yet Burton’s charges against Carrey at least raise suspicion. Carrey employed surveillance cameras to keep an eye on White, but he did not alert authorities after learning that she had not ventured outside the house for 24 hours. Carrey and the assistant monitoring the cameras noticed White’s inactivity prior to the discovery of her body.
Moreover, the pill bottles containing the drugs White swallowed bear the name “Arthur King” — the alleged bogus name by which Carrey obtained the drugs.
Carrey sent White a text message on September 27—after White was already dead—indicating that he could not find the prescriptions in question and implying that White may have taken them. But according to the lawsuit, this message was a feeble cover-up. “[In] reality Carrey knew full well that he had voluntarily and illegally provided the fraudulently obtained and prescribed drugs to White days prior,” reads the lawsuit.
Burton also claims that Carrey behaved in a deceitful manner after White’s death — that he offered to pay for the funeral in an effort to appear benevolent when in fact he did not follow through. Apparently, when Carrey learned that White had left a bit of money to her family, he withdrew his promise to cover the expenses.
Carrey’s lawyer, Marty Singer, tells TMZ that this lawsuit is riddled with falsehoods and is nothing more than blatant exploitation and character smearing. White, he argues, stole the pills from Carrey; he did not provide her with them. He also describes White’s marriage to Burton as “a sham” devised to prevent her deportation. Thus, he rejects the possibility that Burton, with whom White never lived, could be suffering from bereavement.
The lawsuit does not specify the amount of money Burton demands in damages, only that the matter be settled in court, before a jury. You can read the filing in its entirety here.