Los Angeles — Jim Carrey says a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estranged husband of his ex-girlfriend is a heartless attempt to exploit him and vowed to fight the case.
Mark Burton of Portland sued Carrey in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, accusing the actor of providing the prescription drugs his wife Cathriona White used to overdose in September 2015. The wrongful death lawsuit contends Carrey improperly obtained prescriptions for Ambien and the powerful opioid oxycodone under the alias Arthur King.
The suit accuses Carrey of giving White the medications days before she was found dead in one of Carrey's homes. White and Carrey dated in 2012 and were photographed together in May 2015.
Jim Carrey's statement
"What a terrible shame," Carrey wrote in a statement. "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.
"I will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved," Carrey wrote. "I really hope that some day soon people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace."
Coroner's officials ruled the 30-year-old makeup artist's death a suicide.
Burton and White married in 2013. A coroner's official told reporters that the pair were separated and planned to divorce, however Burton's attorney Michael Avenatti declined to characterise their relationship beyond saying they were legally married at the time of White's death.
Carrey's attorney Marty Singer wrote in a statement that White and Burton never lived together.
The lawsuit accuses Carrey of violating a section of California's Health and Safety Code against the use of aliases to obtain prescription medications.
"White's death was tragic and easily avoidable," the lawsuit states.
The issue of prescriptions to celebrity aliases
Carrey's prescriptions were legally obtained and his doctor and insurers were aware of his alias use, Singer wrote. He said many actors use aliases for prescriptions to protect their privacy.
The issue of prescriptions to a celebrity under aliases arose because of an issue when Los Angeles prosecutors attempted to obtain felony convictions against two of Anna Nicole Smith's doctors and her lawyer-boyfriend over prescription drugs she obtained before her accidental overdose in 2007 was unsuccessful.
Defense lawyers contended the aliases were used to protect Smith's privacy, and last year a judge who dismissed the final felony counts against Smith's confidante Howard K. Stern said it was a common practice.
"Everyone did it," Judge Robert J. Perry said in July 2015. "Everyone did it to protect her privacy from the prying eyes of the ever-present press representatives in Ms. Smith's life."
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