WASHINGTON • A wrongful-death lawsuit filed on Monday claims that actor Jim Carrey supplied his late girlfriend with the powerful prescription drugs she used to commit suicide and then tried to hide his involvement.
Irish make-up artist Cathriona White, 30, was found dead in a Sherman Oaks, California, residence in September last year.
The lawsuit, filed by her husband Mark Burton in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Carrey used a fake name and "his immense wealth and celebrity status to illegally obtain and distribute highly addictive and, in this case, deadly, controlled substances".
It also alleges that he gave her the drugs despite knowing she was "prone to depression" and had previous suicide attempts.
Carrey's attorney, high-profile attorney Marty Singer, dismissed the suit on Monday as a bid to extort money from the actor.
Celebrity website TMZ.com quoted him as saying White "stole" Carrey's prescription medication.
The actor said in a statement on Monday he "will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved".
"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."
Shortly after White's death, reports emerged that she was still married, but estranged from her husband.
Mr Burton's attorney Michael Avenatti told The Washington Post that the couple married in January 2013, but declined to comment on the nature of their relationship at the time of her death "because it distracts from what this case is really about, which is Mr Carrey's conduct".
The suit alleges that the actor was obsessed with controlling his girlfriend, whom he had been linked with on and off since 2012 and was able to monitor surveillance cameras at the home where she often stayed.
He and his assistant were allegedly aware that she had not left the home for well over a day in September, when she died, but they failed to act.
Reports at the time said White and Carrey had broken up a few days before her death. She sent a tweet on the day they reportedly broke up that read: "Signing off Twitter, I hope I have been a light to my nearest and dearest."
An autopsy showed she "had taken her own life by overdosing on a lethal amount of prescription drugs", including Ambien, Propranolol and Percocet, all of which Carrey got using the alias "Arthur King", according to the lawsuit.
The suit claims he tried to cover his tracks by sending a "bogus text message" to her on Sept 27, when she was already dead, inquiring about the whereabouts of the drugs.
It alleges he violated California's Drug Dealer Liability Act, which allows people to file civil lawsuits against suppliers for harm caused by illegal drug use, and seeks unspecified damages.
After her death, he wrote a tribute to his "sweet Cathriona", describing her as a "truly kind and delicate Irish flower", and served as a pallbearer at her funeral in her hometown in Ireland.
But the lawsuit, which seeks burial and funeral expenses, claims that he offered to help pay for the funeral (a storyline that surfaced in TMZ.com) and never did.
On Monday, Carrey said White'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".
WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE