Did Frank Gifford sleep with Johnny Carson's wife?

Oct 8, 2013 at 10:33 p.m. ET

A new Hollywood memoir about Johnny Carson is making the rounds and it alleges two famous faces hooked up. Is it true?


Did he or didn't he? That's the big question Kathie Lee Gifford is asking her husband Frank after a newly released tell-all book on Johnny Carson claims the former NFL player had an affair with the TV-personality's wife.

Henry Bushkin, Carson's lawyer for 18 years, wrote a juicy tale about his years with the late-night king of television. One of his first gigs for the NBC star involved breaking into Carson's second wife's love pad in New York City in 1962.

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According to Bushkin, Carson revealed, "I have reason to believe my wife is cheating on me. I also have an idea who the son-of-a-b**** is that she's shacking up with."

It turns out it was former New York Giant Frank Gifford, not her husband, whose photos were plastered all over Joanne's apartment. The hurtful discovery brought The Tonight Show host to tears.

Bushkin wrote, "Carson leaned against the living room wall and began to weep. I realized that I was probably one of the very few people who ever saw Johnny Carson cry."

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Even though the TV star was devastated, he was also armed during the break-in according to his former lawyer.

He reported, "I was shocked to see that Johnny was carrying a .38 revolver in a holster on his hip."

Joanne, who is now 81 years old and living in Bel-Air, California, denied any affair to the New York Post, but she does admit that they had a close friendship that her husband didn't approve of.

She told the paper, "Now I do know that Johnny was jealous of him because he knew that he had been a friend of mine."

The couple divorced in 1972.

As for Frank Gifford, it was his wife who did the talking on The Today Show on Tuesday.

Kathie Lee explained, "No, it’s not true, that particular one, although we all know what the man is capable of," in reference to a 1997 scandal where Frank was caught on tape cheating with a flight attendant.

While Frank and Kathie Lee weren't married at the time of the alleged affair with Carson's wife, she did ask her husband point-blank about Joanne.

"Tell me, it was long time ago. Did you have an affair with her?" she asked him. "He goes 'I can't remember! Maybe.'"

No one is admitting the truth and it's well-documented that Carson was no saint himself. Fans can only speculate what really happened since Frank is pretty evasive and Joanne is only willing to admit to a close friendship.

It sounds a little fishy.

Photo credit: WENN