The Church of Scientology has issued a statement following reports that Cathriona White, the 30-year-old girlfriend of actor Jim Carrey who was found dead of a suspected suicide on Monday, was taking “Survival Rundown” classes at the Church’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre at the time of her death.
On Thursday, two of White’s friends told Scientology reporter Tony Ortega that the young woman had gotten involved in the Church four or five years ago, through members of the musician Beck’s circle of friends.
Scientology issued a statement to E! blasting any potential connection between White’s suicide and the church:
“Saying that somebody was studying Scientology in the past and connecting that to a suicide is like saying a person who had previously studied the Bible committed suicide,” a spokesperson for the church told the outlet. “It is sad and reprehensible that a paid anti-Scientologist like Tony Ortega is exploiting this terrible tragedy involving a young woman; it’s a sign of outright bigotry.”
At the time of her death, White was reportedly working on a “Survival Rundown” (SRD) course in Los Angeles. Former top Church member Chris Shelton detailed some of his own experiences with the SRD to Ortega in May:
“You can end up with people going into semi-hypnotic trances and all sorts of other nonsense which I think is psychologically damaging. So what you have here is [church leader David] Miscavige altering the technology to ensure it is done in the worst possible way to the worst possible result on every single person. He is making sure that almost everyone who runs these Objective Processes are going to be on them for hundreds and hundreds of hours and that they are very likely going to be a bit insane when they are done with them.”
A friend of Shelton’s and a fellow church member who took the SRD classes told Ortega that he began noticing “not normal” behavior in himself as a result, including feeling “crazy, insane, not sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night crying, waking up in the middle of the night enraged, slamming and punching my pillows.”
White had dated actor-comedian Jim Carrey on and off since 2012. The pair most recently split up on September 24.
Friends of the Irish-born makeup artist told UK’s The Sun that White had been “private” and “paranoid” in the time leading up to her death.
“She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for the soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled,” Carrey said in a statement earlier this week. “My heart goes out to her family and friends and to everyone who loved and cared about her. We have all been hit with a lightning bolt.”