Friend of Jim Carrey's girlfriend, Cathriona White, opens up to PEOPLE exclusively

By Nicole Sands
Updated September 30, 2015 07:30 PM
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Credit: Coleman-Rayner (2)

“Cat” – as many of Cathriona White’s friends called her – may have been leading a “very private” life with boyfriend Jim Carrey, but whenever his name was brought up she couldn’t help but gush.

“The last time I saw her in May, she had just gotten back from New York with Jim Carrey and she was happy about it,” White’s friend Judd Weiss tells PEOPLE exclusively about her recent trip with Carrey, 53.

White was found dead at her L.A. residence of an apparent suicide on Monday night, leaving those closest to her shocked and devastated – including Carrey.

Her friend adds of White and Carrey’s relationship – that began when they met on set in 2012 – “Not only that, she’s not the type of person to brag. Maybe it was because she was wondering how long term this is and maybe she didn’t want to say anything until she thought it was more secure, and maybe now she felt that way. I could only guess.”

The PEOPLE exclusive photos, taken by Weiss himself, depict a carefree and happy, beautiful young woman living life to the fullest.

There’s no question the Irish-born makeup artist, 30, was a cheerful personality that touched the lives of many, but when it came to her personal life her friend suggests that she could often be guarded.

“She was very friendly and very sweet, very considerate and thoughtful of others, but at the same time very private and fairly shy. She didn’t like to be center of attention and avoided that,” says Weiss.

The commercial real estate agent adds, “In fact, very few people knew she was dating Jim Carrey. Every once in a while, someone would ask me, ‘is it true that Cat is dating Jim Carrey,’ and I wouldn’t even give a straight answer because it seemed like she just didn’t want anyone to talk about it, so only her close friends even knew.”

White was a “beautiful girl” who was “loved by many and had many bright options ahead of her,” so her untimely death has been especially difficult for her friends and family to process.

“From a logical point of view, it makes zero sense, but she’s also a very quiet and reserved person, so I guess – she’s not very expressive, so I don t really know exactly what’s going on in her head.”

On Tuesday, Jim Carrey released an emotional statement obtained by PEOPLE, speaking out for the first time about the death of his beloved girlfriend.

“She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled. My heart goes out to her family and friends and to everyone who love and cared about her,” said Carrey.