Actor Jim Carrey calls wrongful death lawsuit a 'terrible shame', 'heartless attempt to exploit' him

Jim Carrey on the set of comedy movie Yes Man in 2008.
Jim Carrey on the set of comedy movie Yes Man in 2008.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

LOS ANGELES (Reuters/AFP) - Actor Jim Carrey issued a statement on Monday (Sept 19) responding to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against him.

The husband of Carrey's former girlfriend sued the actor on Monday, accusing him of illegally supplying Cathriona White with prescription drugs that resulted in her death last September.

"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 honour against the evil in this world," Carrey said in his statement.

The lawsuit filed by Mark Burton in Los Angeles Superior Court accused Carrey, 54, of "using his immense wealth and celebrity status to illegally obtain and distribute highly addictive and, in this case deadly, controlled substances".

White, 30, an Irish-born make-up artist, was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment in September 2015, in an apparent suicide.

Carey's statement also said: "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."

Celebrity news website TMZ had said at the time of White's death that she and Carrey had an on-and-off romance and had broken up the week before her death. Burton's lawsuit said White was "engaged in a sexual relationship with Carrey" at the time of her death.

Burton attorney Michael Avenatti told The Washington Post that White and Burton had been married since January 2013, but he declined to comment on the nature of their relationship at the time of her death. Reports said she and Burton were estranged before her death.

Carrey's attorney, prominent celebrity lawyer Marty Singer dismissed the suit on Monday as nothing but a bid by Burton to extort money from the actor. Celebrity website TMZ quoted Singer as saying White "stole" Carrey's prescription medication and that he never gave her any pills.

According to the coroner's office, White took her own life by overdosing on a lethal amount of prescription drugs including Ambien, Propranolol and Percocet.

Burton is listed in website IMDb as a 39-year-old boom and camera operator. In his lawsuit, he alleged that Carrey obtained Percocet, Ambien and Propranolol under the name of "Arthur King" and gave them to White even though he knew she was "prone to depression" and "had previously attempted to take her own life". The suit The suit alleges that three pill bottles found near White's body bore the name "Arthur King".

Burton, who is seeking a jury trial, also said Carrey had made "an effort to cover-up his conduct and complicity in her death" by saying White may have taken the drugs from him without his knowledge.

The lawsuit says Carrey, 54, sent a "bogus text message" to White on Sept 27, when she was already dead, inquiring as to the whereabouts of the drugs.

Burton added that the actor never made good on his offer to pay for her funeral expenses, despite "considerable efforts to publicise his supposed generosity as it related to the death of White".

Carrey, who served as a pallbearer at White's burial in her hometown in Ireland, previously called her "my sweet Cathriona" in a statement following her death. "She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil," he added.

Carrey, slapstick star of comedy movies including Dumb And Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty, ended a five-year relationship with actress Jenny McCarthy in 2010. He has two previous marriages that ended in divorce.