Jim Carrey is hilarious in comedy films. He balances his wacky expressions and elastic movements with quite a bit of depth and substance and this makes him very interesting as a performer. He's also someone who's a lightning rod for controversy.
Today, I'd like to share 15 lesser-known facts about Jim Carrey's family. Once you learn his backstory (as they say in the movie biz), you'll have a better understanding of how he became who he is.
Jim Carrey started out with very little and ended up having it all. This didn't make him immune to troubled relationships and tragedy, though. Like all gifted artists, he uses his life experiences (good and bad) to entertain us. Most of us weren't homeless because our families fell on hard times. Jim was homeless for a while. He's been through a lot.
Jim was born on January 17, 1962, in Newmarket, Ontario. He's 56 now, although most of us probably still think of him as the youthful Ace Ventura or Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber.
Married twice (and divorced twice), with a grown-up daughter and an ex-girlfriend who took her own life, Jim has been open about his struggles with depression. Art therapy seems to work for him. He loves to paint and recently trolled American President, Donald Trump, by sending a comical and shocking painting of "45" to the National Portrait Gallery.
15 His Ex-Girlfriend Tried To Blackmail Him
Jim dated an Irish makeup artist named Cathriona White, who was found dead with a lot of prescription pills scattered around her body. Before her death, Cathriona, who was reported to have been crushed when Jim broke off their relationship, had falsified health records, with the presumed goal of extorting megabucks from her former lover.
According to The Mirror, proof that she falsified health records after accusing Jim of giving her diseases was produced in court. Her family was suing Jim for contributing to her death by making her ill. The case against Jim was thrown out of court.
It seems as though Cathriona lost herself when she became immersed in her role as Jim's girlfriend.
The prospect of going back to life without him by her side must have been too frightening and sad for her to face. Her suicide was a tragedy and the bad press which resulted must have made Jim's grief so much worse.
While Jim and Cathriona never married, but they were together for a long time. She may not have technically been "family", but she was an important part of his life nonetheless.
14 His Ex Took Her Own Life
Cathriona overdosed and left a suicide note behind. The note is as devastating to read as you might expect it to be. Most people who kill themselves don't leave suicide notes. According to the New York Daily News, Cathriona did and her note shared her most intimate thoughts and confessions, including the fact that she had spent 72 hours thinking about the fact that Jim wasn't there anymore. Her heart was broken and she wrote that she'd lost the will to "put the pieces back".
She let her family know that any type of burial they chose for her would be fine.
It's terrible when depression gets to this point. The despair that leads to suicide is an awful thing. It's hard to know who is close to the edge and who isn't. Perhaps Jim had no idea that Cathriona was standing on a metaphorical cliff and deciding whether or not to leap off of it.
Anyone who is contemplating suicide should call 1-800-273-TALK  (The National Suicide Prevention Hotline).
13 His Ex Stole His Prescription Meds
While defending Jim in a wrongful death lawsuit, Jim's lawyers let the court know that Cathriona White stole Jim Carrey's prescription medications. Jim had prescriptions for a variety of medications, including Percocet and Ambien. According to The Mirror, Jim wanted the court to know that he didn't give these medications to his ex, who committed suicide via overdose.
He wanted people to know that she snatched the pills without his permission.
Jim viewed the lawsuit as a crass and sickening "money grab". The suit was dismissed. Sometimes, justice is served in court and sometimes it isn't. Jim got the result that he wanted. The suit was filed by Cathriona's ex-husband and her mother. The fact that Cathriona wasn't romantically involved with the man who sued Jim (he was from her past) made a lot of people see the lawsuit as something which was done solely for financial gain.
12 His Daughter Is Named Jane
We've talked about loss, despair, and tragedy. Now, let's talk about the young women who is nothing but a gift in Jim Carrey's life. She's his daughter, Jane Erin Carrey. His adorable daughter has an irresistible smile, just like he does, and she speaks highly of Jim's parenting skills.
According to Vorply, Jane was born on the 6th of September, 1987. Jane's dad and mom (Melissa Womer) tied the knot just a few months before their baby girl was born. At that point in time, Jim's star was on the rise. He was making a big splash as a comedian on "In Living Color".
Jane says that Jim gave her a pretty typical upbringing, which she appreciated. She also says that having Jim Carrey for a dad was (and is) fun.
11 His Daughter Auditioned For American Idol
Jane Erin Carrey is brave. She wasn't afraid to audition for American Idol. She surely knew that everyone would realize that she was Jim's daughter (and would expect a lot from her), but she went for it anyway. Some celeb kids stay out of the spotlight, but Jane clearly wants to sing for an audience.
According to US Magazine, Jane was 24 when she appeared on the show. A "shaky" performance of a Creedence Clearwater Revival tune ended her journey on the program.
Jane did make it to the "Hollywood Week" portion of the show, but wasn't a real contender for the top prize, despite her famous last name.
Dad was reportedly very supportive when Jane got the boot. Jim shared his own "rejection" experiences to make his daughter feel a little better.
10 Jim Grew Up Really Poor
Did you grow up in a poor family, where parents (or a single parent) struggled to give you what you needed? Or were you lucky enough to be in the middle or upper class? Jim's dad was an accountant who once earned a good living, but the family fell on hard times. When Jim's dad experienced some bad luck, the family began to sink financially.
According to Newshub, the family was once middle class but started a downward spiral after his dad became unemployed. This happened when Jim was only 12 years old. Jim's Dad was 51.
Did Jim build character because his family was poor when he was a young boy? Did his hard experiences in childhood push him towards the success that he achieved later on? Jim has talked about his childhood and it is something that hurt him. It definitely made him ambitious, but at what cost?
9 Jim Had A Hard Childhood
Kids aren't supposed to know the problems of adulthood too early. They are supposed to be shielded from the harshest realities. In families where there is a job loss which leads to financial problems, kids have to grow up too fast. It's sort of the opposite of being spoiled.
When your family doesn't have enough, and you're very young, you're going to feel deprived, anxious and, maybe, responsible...
So, Jim didn't have it easy. His dad lost his job and Jim had to grow up in a heartbeat. Jim's talked about his childhood in lots of interviews. It's the subject of plenty of articles, including a Newshub story. It's no secret that his family's financial problems had a huge impact on him.
8 Jim Started Working P/T At Age 12
When you need to start working part-time at the age of 12, you're having a tough childhood. Jim began work earlier than most Canadian kids (he grew up in Burlington, Ontario) because he needed to help the family make a bit of cash after his father lost his job. I personally didn't need to get a job until I was 16 and my parents forced me to work just so I would develop life skills. It wasn't about me making money to help feed the family. I realize now that I had it very good. I was well taken care of.
According to Newshub, Jim's family did low-paying jobs in order to get the bare necessities. The whole family pitched in. Things must have been pretty desperate if the parents had to put the kids to work. I feel bad for Jim's parents and wish that things could have been easier for the Carrey family.
Jim probably felt like he lost a big chunk of his childhood when his father became unemployed. It must have felt like the world was caving in. Kids need security to feel good and Jim's security was taken away.
7 Jim's Family Was Homeless For A While
According to The Famous People, the poverty level of the Carrey family was "dire". That's depressing to think about. It makes me wonder if the family went to soup kitchens and food banks and things like that. Maybe they had to. Jim dropped out of school in the ninth grade. That's extremely unusual in Canada.
Jim still doesn't have a diploma.
He never did graduate from high school. Obviously, he's really bright, but working long shifts after school was tiring and he couldn't juggle both. It's pretty amazing how successful he's been in light of these challenges. They were huge challenges.
Also, it's interesting that he chose comedy as his main genre when his real life had so much darkness. Lots of comedians have had troubled childhoods. Their childhood experiences are part of what pushes them to make other people laugh. Laughter is a great escape.
6 The Family Did Menial Work To Survive
Janitorial work is hard work. According to CNN Money, Jim had to do this type of work when he was a young boy. It's wasn't uncommon for Jim and his parents and siblings to work for eight hours as janitors after Jim returned home from a day of school. In the evening, the family would head for a warehouse in Ontario and do custodial work there all night long. This heavy workload at night was the reason why Jim left school at such a young age.
Jim doesn't have to work a day in his life now if he doesn't want to. When he began to get noticed as a comedian, he began to make a great deal of money. Now, he's free to work when he wants to. He spends a lot of time making art. Money offers freedom and no one knows this better than Jim Carrey.
Jim's daughter has said that her dad isn't an extravagant person. That's probably because he knows the value of a dollar.
5 Jim Has Two Ex-Wives
Lauren Holly was Jim's famous wife, but she wasn't his first wife. Jim was married when he met Lauren and his first wife's name is Melissa Womer. A Daily Mail story paints a picture of Jim's love life which is turbulent, to say the least.
His marriage to his first wife lasted seven years. Lauren Holly was the issue that led to his divorce from Melissa. Jim obviously fell head over heels for Lauren. He married her quickly but their marriage tanked in just eight months. Other former love interests of the rubber-faced funnyman are actress Renee Zellweger and Jenny McCarthy.
Jim's relationship with Cathriona White ended in disaster.
Both Jim and Cathriona struggled with depression. It was part of what brought them together. Unfortunately, Cathriona could not learn to manage her depression.
4 Jim Has Three Siblings
Jim Carrey came from a poor family and it was a pretty large family, too! He had three siblings, so it's understandable that his parents, Percy and Kathleen, had trouble providing for all their kids. According to The Famous People, Jim's siblings are John Carrey, Patricia Carrey Fournier, and Rita Carrey.
When Jim chose the catchphrase, "all righty then" for Ace Ventura - Pet Detective, he was honoring his sister, Rita, along with the rest of the Carrey clan. It was a phrase that was a "family saying". It must have made the family happy to hear that phrase over and over again in the movie.
While the family definitely had tough times, they clearly had plenty of good times, too. You don't always need expensive, materialistic possessions to have a fun time with the people you love.
3 Jim's Wife Left Him Because Of Lauren Holly
Sometimes, when men get famous, they start to feel entitled to beautiful and glamorous women. They forget the women who stuck by them before they hit the jackpot.
This may have been the case with Jim.
He was married when he fell for gorgeous actress, Lauren Holly.
Lauren appeared with Jim in Dumb and Dumber. She's been in Beautiful Girls and plenty of other movies. The affair with Lauren was very public and it's a pretty safe bet that Jim's first wife, Melissa, was horrified and hurt by it.
According to Spokesman, Melissa said that a person doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that Lauren was the problem in her marriage. She also said that Jim chose to leave her when he was preparing to sign a lucrative contract for "The Mask", so that he wouldn't have to share his salary with her.
2 Jim's First Divorce Was Very Messy
Melissa used to attend church services with Jim. She worked tough jobs to help the family while he tried to move up the Hollywood ladder. Once Jim started having success, Melissa says that he changed a lot. A Spokesman article shared lots of dirt about the couple's breakup, including plenty of juicy quotes from Melissa. She says that she wouldn't take Jim back now and that she was a good wife.
This was a nasty divorce. There were money battles and Lauren Holly was there in the background. Melissa and Jim had a daughter, so it's too bad that things got so dirty during the breakup. Melissa worked until she was eight months pregnant, so she felt that she did her part to help the family and that she deserved a generous settlement.
There is a lot of bad blood between Jim Carrey and his ex-wife.
1 Jim Might Work In A Steel Mill If He Wasn't Famous
Jim didn't have much of an education, so (according to AskMen), he believes that he would have had to seek out work in a steel mill if the whole comedy thing didn't work out. Jim wasn't destined to work in a steel mill. However, his life of fame and fortune hasn't come without some really bad experiences, including the suicide of his ex-girlfriend. This tragic suicide is probably the worst thing that happened to Jim since his father lost his job and the family became homeless.
According to IMDB, Jim's next project is a TV series called Kidding. Jim keeps going and he'll probably shine in the role, just as he has in so many memorable roles in the past.
Whether this comedian will ever find long-lasting love which isn't filled with drama and problems is really anyone's guess.
References: Wikipedia, Elephant Journal, W Magazine, Imdb, Mirror.co.uk, NY Daily News, Mirror.co.uk, Vorply, Us Magazine, Newshub.co.nz, TheFamousPeople, CNN Money, Daily Mail, The Famous People, Spokesman, AskMen, IMDB