Ortega, an investigative journalist who writes a daily blog about Scientology, tells Us that White was introduced to the church by 2015 Grammy winner Beck and a few of the singer's friends.
"She started the process back in 2011 and she was getting deeper into the church," Ortega tells Us of the Irish-born makeup artist. "Cathriona was in the process of the Survival Rundown, which can be hundreds of hours of training that leads to a person become present and aware. This is one of the initial parts of Scientology, but everyone in the church is being required to do them over again. I’ve heard from her friends that she was stalling, because she wasn’t sure she was making progress or not. The process she was going through can involve physical, vigorous exercise, anything as simple to touching a window or a bottle and judging the temperature of it, the weight of it, all to because self aware."
According to Ortega, White would go to extreme measures to follow practices from the process. "She would also be sitting in a sauna for up to six hours a day, detoxifying herself and taking Niacin," he tells Us. "This is all a cleansing detoxifying practice."
Days before her suspected suicide, White posted a startling photo of herself in lingerie with her ribcage poking out. "#coupleofmonthsago #goal #needabitofworktogetbacktothis #fitness #paysoff #timetoworkthatbody #whiteonwhite #californiadreaming #itsmoreclothingthanaswimsuitguys," she captioned the shot.
According to Ortega, however, there's no way to link Scientology to her suicide. "If someone is depressed, they’re depressed," he tells Us. "Not all of Cathriona’s friend’s knew she was involved with the church, only a few close friends."
Church of Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw tells Us, "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. It is sad and reprehensible that a paid anti-Scientologist like Tony Ortega is exploiting this terrible tragedy involving a young woman."
White was pronounced dead at age 30 in her Sherman Oaks, Calif., home on Monday. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter confirmed to Us Weekly earlier this week that pills were found next to White’s body at the time of her death, which was reported as a suicide.
A suicide note was also present, Winter told Us. While the contents of the note remain unknown, authorities said it mentioned Jim Carrey. The coroner's office refused to release information on what type of pills were used in White's suicide, and said an autopsy has not yet been conducted.
Carrey released a statement to Us Weekly hours after the news of White's death broke on Tuesday. "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of my sweet Cathriona," the Mask actor told Us. "She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled."
Carrey, 53, and White dated on and off since 2012, and supposedly split on Sept. 24. That same day, White penned her final tweet, writing: "Signing off Twitter, I hope I have been a light to my nearest and dearest. [Love] to you all."
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!