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Cathriona White: All too often a life that can look so perfect from outside can hide untold pain from within

This week Cathriona White, former girlfriend of Jim Carrey, was found dead in her LA home. Chrissie Russell reports on the tragic and untimely death of a quiet country girl from Tipperary

Published 03/10/2015

Jim Carrey and Cathriona White were first photographed together on a Malibu beach in 2012
Jim Carrey and Cathriona White were first photographed together on a Malibu beach in 2012
The house in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, where she was found dead

It had all the makings of a Hollywood fairy tale romance. She was the young, pretty, country girl, he was the multi-millionaire star with the megawatt smile. But the death of Cathriona White this week is no happily-ever-after ending.

Her grieving family has released a heartbreaking statement describing her as "the light of our lives". But as outsiders, we seem fated to never know more about the 30-year-old make-up artist from Co Tipperary.

We'll never know the little facts, foibles, likes and loves that made up her all too-short life.

By contrast, Carrey's life has been documented in several decades' worth of headlines, with particular attention on his chequered love life.

The 53-year-old grandfather has been twice divorced, and linked to a colourful litany of high-profile women, starting with singer Linda Ronstadt.

The couple dated for eight months when she was in her mid-30s and he was 21. He said he was "infatuated" but knew it wasn't a forever deal. His marriage to actress Melissa Worner in 1987 produced a daughter, Jane, who is only a year younger than Cathriona, but the couple split in 1994. Carrey said she was "lucky to be out of my life", while Melissa revealed: "I've learned that the smile he wears is the biggest mask of all."

Marriage to Dumb And Dumber co-star Lauren Holly followed, then a broken engagement with Renee Zellweger. His relationship with Playboy pin-up Jenny McCarthy lasted five years before he announced its demise on Twitter, stating: "I wish her the best! S'okay!"

A source close to the couple was quoted in an interview with People saying Carrey could be a "hard guy to date".

In 2013 he addressed his inability to commit. "I have had a lot of short relationships in recent years. People get mad at me because I can't be in a relationship, but I don't know.

"I feel like I don't know what the basis of it is.

"I'm sure that there is someone who will make me want to shut it all down and do that long-term commitment thing, but I don't feel compelled to be in a relationship."

Carrey has had a well-documented battle with depression and his madcap behaviour has raised eyebrows with co-stars - on the 1999 set of Man On The Moon he apparently insisted on stuffing his pockets with cheese and inviting Hells Angels to the studio. But in recent months some feel his antics have been more questionable, in particular his on-Twitter rants against childhood vaccinations.

When he met Cathriona in the summer of 2012 he had reportedly just come out of a brief relationship with 23-year-old Russian model Anastasia Vitkina, and before that had been linked to model Anchal Joseph (24).

Cathriona was also in her 20s when the couple started dating. Originally from the small village of Cappawhite, the slim amateur photographer had studied beauty and complementary therapies at Limerick College of Further Education before moving to LA in 2009, where she enrolled in acting classes, securing some walk-on roles as well as regular work as a talented make-up artist. During her time in America she also reportedly became involved in Scientology.

She and the Ace Ventura star managed to keep their blossoming relationship secret for a month before photos of them on a Malibu beach catapulted the bikini-clad brunette onto the front pages. At the time friends described her as being upset at the media intrusion, particularly as it came just weeks after her beloved father Pat lost his 21-year battle with cancer.

Those who knew her described her as "shy", "quiet", "genuine" and "not a fame-seeker". When she split from Carrey just months later some said it was because she'd struggled to deal with the limelight. Prior to dating the Golden Globe winner her closest link to fame had been her cousin, X Factor hopeful Melanie McCabe.

In March 2013 Carrey confirmed they were no longer together but described her as "lovely", and repeated the compliment in an interview last November. "If someone is beautiful and talented, it's hard to resist," he said.

But drawing attention to his famed struggle to settle down, he added: "But as far as dating and stuff goes... I don't know, I'm in love with everybody, all shapes."

Yet in March the romance seemed back on track. The couple were spotted dining together at Katsuya restaurant in California, then holding hands on the pavements of Manhattan in May, where an unzipped jacket revealed Carrey to be sporting a Tipperary GAA jersey.

They had recently holidayed in Bancroft, Ontario, sharing a series of endearing snaps on Instagram. On September 10 they held hands while visiting an art gallery.

For reasons unknown the couple reportedly split up on Thursday of last week and Carrey was photographed that night alone at an art event, smiling and chatting with Hollywood's cool crowd.

Four days later Cathriona was found dead at her California home.

It's been widely reported that a note was also discovered addressed to Carrey and referencing their break-up. LA assistant chief coroner Ed Winter confirmed there were pills located near her body.

Carrey says he feels like he has been "hit with a lightning bolt", describing his former love as "a kind and delicate Irish flower too sensitive for this soil".

The Hollywood Reporter is citing sources who say Cathriona may have been suffering from depression and that it was this sad, shared struggle that cemented a deep personal connection with Carrey.

At the time of writing the coroner's report had not been filed, but if that report is true and mental health issues prompted the young woman to take her own life, then it's a tragic reminder of how even a life that looks perfect from the outside can hide pain within.

On September 25, as @littleIrishCat, Cathriona posted that she was signing off Twitter and hoped she had been "a light to my nearest and dearest".

Two weeks previously she'd posted: "Sometimes I smile and act like nothing is wrong. It's called dealing with s*** and staying strong."

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