A source close to Cathriona White's family tells PEOPLE they were "very surprised" by Mark Burton's wrongful death lawsuit against Jim Carrey

By Nicola Byrne Dave Quinn
September 21, 2016 04:00 PM

On Monday, Mark Burton – the estranged husband of Jim Carrey‘s late girlfriend Cathriona White – filed a wrongful death suit against the 54-year-old actor, claiming he was responsible for White’s fatal overdose last year.

But a source close to the White family tells PEOPLE they were “very surprised” by Burton’s lawsuit – claiming he wasn’t even close with the 30-year-old White at the time of her death.

Another family source tells PEOPLE the lawsuit was “appalling.”

The source claims that Burton and White “had not been close” or “even in touch with each other” at the time of her death, adding that the lawsuit has done nothing more than add “pain and heartache.”

Little is known about the White’s relationship to Burton, 39. The two married at the Heavenly Bliss Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas on January 15, 2013, according to their marriage license obtained by PEOPLE.

News of the Irish native’s marriage came as a surprise to many, and sources in her hometown of Cappawhite, Ireland, previously told PEOPLE that few people, including some relatives, were even aware she had a husband.

Cathriona White marriage license to Mark Burton
Splash News

Both Burton and White worked in the entertainment industry, crossing paths on several projects. In 2010, Burton worked as a cameraman on a YouTube series titled The Online Gamer – Black Ops – Part 1, on which White worked as a makeup artist and an extra.

White was romantically linked to Carrey for nearly three years. The two met on a movie set in 2012 and reportedly dated for most of 2013 before reuniting in early 2015. They split a week before her death.

She was still legally married to Burton at the time of her death on September 28, 2015. A source told PEOPLE last year that they were separated at the time of her death, adding, “She was going to start divorce proceedings in December.”

Burton had control over the release of White’s body, having been listed as White’s “next of kin,” Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter told PEOPLE. Burton provided his consent in order for White’s stepmother and sister to take her body back to Ireland.

Jim Carrey at Cathriona White's funeral
Debbie Hickey/FilmMagic

Carrey was present for White’s funeral mass and burial in her hometown of Cappawhite, located in Tipperary – even carrying her casket from the church as hundreds of mourners looked on.

“It was nice that he carried her coffin,” a source told PEOPLE at the time. “Cathriona’s sisters and family seemed very glad to have him there.”

Carrey was doing “everything he can to help” White’s family, a source told PEOPLE. “He is devastated, but can’t imagine how her family must feel.”

In his suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, Burton alleged that Carrey used his “immense wealth and celebrity status” to illegally obtain the drugs that killed White, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Cathriona White
Coleman-Rayner

In a statement Burton’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said he and Burton are asking for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to launch an investigation into White’s death. “We look forward to the facts and evidence relating to Mr. Carrey’s conduct and role in the death of Ms. White coming to light,” Avenatti said.

Carrey has responded to the suit in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, “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 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.”

The filing noted that a coroner determined that White had overdosed on Ambien, Propranolol and Percocet – none of which had been prescribed to her.

Cathriona White and Jim Carrey
AKM-GSI

Just one month after White’s death, Winter (in the L.A. County Coroner’s Office) said that there were four prescription medications found near White’s body when she was pronounced dead in her Los Angeles home. He said the Ambien, Percocet, Propranolol and Zofran were not in the her name. He explained that while three were under one name, a fourth was under another name.

The toxicology report noted that when police checked White’s phone, they found texts from Carrey asking if she “knew where his painkillers went from under his sink.” He also mentioned that a bottle of prescription anti-inflammatories was missing. In his complaint, Burton claimed Carrey sent these “bogus” texts to “cover-up his conduct and complicity in her death.”

 

The complaint asked, “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 filing also claimed that Carrey had an “obsession with controlling and manipulating White” and “had the ability to monitor surveillance cameras on a home White often stayed at and was able, by design, to view the residence remotely to keep track of White’s comings and goings.”

Burton also accused Carrey’s physician of misconduct, claiming in the filing that the two “were engaged in a conspiracy to wrongfully and illegally provide medications to Carrey under false names.”

Furthermore, the documents claimed that Carrey reneged on his offer to pay for White’s funeral.

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