Mark Burton wants Jim Carrey to surrender his private jet.
The reason why is contained in a nine-page wrongful death lawsuit that Burton, the estranged husband of Carrey’s late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (PDF).
The suit alleges that the Dumb & Dumber star used “his immense wealth and celebrity status” to obtain the prescription painkillers that White used to commit suicide by overdose last September and then tried to cover up “his complicity in her death” by sending a “bogus text message” to his already-deceased ex-girlfriend “pretending as though he had misplaced the drugs.”
Burton further accuses the Hollywood actor of backing out on a promise to pay for White’s funeral expenses after collecting positive media coverage of himself as a “grieving, good guy.”
Where does Carrey’s Gulfstream V aircraft come into play? Not only is Burton seeking damages, his complaint states that he “intends to proceed” with a request for the court to take the plane as part of a “prejudgment attachment of Carrey’s assets… in order to provide for satisfaction of the likely significant award.”
Mark Burton’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, told The Daily Beast that Burton would not be speaking to press at this time but hinted at further action against Carrey.
“We will also be calling on the district attorney’s office of Los Angeles to launch an investigation into Mr. Carrey’s role in connection with the death of Ms. White,” Avenatti told The Daily Beast.
“What a terrible shame,” Carrey said in a statement Monday evening. “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.”
In a statement to the press, Marty Singer, Carrey's attorney, said that the "completely meritless" lawsuit was "an outlandish shakedown" and "an abhorrent money-grab scheme." He also cast doubt on the nature of Burton and White's relationship.
"Ms. White was not a U.S. citizen and she faced the return to Ireland when she and Burton married, but during that 'marriage' she lived in California while he lived in Oregon and Utah," Singer wrote. "It is despicable that Burton, who claims to have been Ms. White's husband but never lived with her and did not even reside in the same state she did, now comes forward trying to cash in on her death."
Burton’s IMDB profile lists him as a 39-year-old boom and camera operator, known for his work on a web series called The Online Gamer. Public records show that he and White, a Hollywood makeup artist from Ireland, were married in Las Vegas in 2013, but the pair had been separated for an unspecified amount of time prior to her September 2015 death. As People noted after White’s suicide, “few people, including some relatives, were even aware she had a husband.” Not even the gossip rags have been able to uncover much about their marriage.
Carrey and the 30-year-old White dated intermittently between 2013 and 2015, but the pair reportedly split days before the latter overdosed in her home. As the New York Daily News reported, she left behind a note that said, “I’ve spent three days now in disbelief that you’re not here. I can go on brokenhearted and try to put the pieces back. I could, I just don’t have the will at this time.”
Her body was found on Sept. 28 near pill bottles bearing the name “Arthur King.” A toxicology report obtained by the Daily News showed oxycodone and oxymorphone in her system as well as a beta blocker and a sedative.
A text message that police found on White’s phone, the Daily News added, revealed that Carrey had “asked if she knew where his painkillers he kept under the sink had gone.”
After White’s death, Carrey released a statement calling her “a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled.” He served as a pallbearer for her October 2015 funeral in Ireland, and it was widely reported that he had offered to help cover the costs.
Burton’s lawsuit, however, presents a radically different narrative for the events of last September.
His complaint alleges that Jim Carrey is indeed the “Arthur King” listed on the pill bottles and that he gave White illegally obtained prescriptions despite knowing that she “was prone to depression” and “had previously attempted to take her own life.”
The complaint also alleges that Carrey had an “obsession with controlling and manipulating White,” and that he had an assistant track her movements with surveillance cameras that were installed “on a home [she] often stayed at.” Burton accuses Carrey’s assistant of knowing that White had not left the house “for well over a day” sometime after entering it Sept. 24, and of not immediately notifying the authorities despite a conspicuous lack of movement.
Then came the text message, which Burton claims was “an effort to cover-up his conduct.”
“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 complaint asks.
The complaint concludes by accusing Carrey “and his handlers” of going out of their way to “publicize his supposed generosity” around paying for the funeral even though he allegedly “never paid a dime of funeral expenses.”
Burton is asking for damages under the Drug Dealer Liability Act and damages for wrongful death, alleging that Carrey “directly and proximately” caused White “mental and physical distress, which resulted in her untimely death.”
Update 9/20/16 11:55 AM: This piece was updated to include comment from Carrey's attorney.