Johnny Carson once broke into his wife's secret apartment to discover she was having an affair with former NFL star and broadcaster Frank Gifford, according to a new book written by Carson's longtime lawyer.

In "Johnny Carson," Henry Bushkin describes the evening in 1970 that he, Carson (who was armed with a pistol), and three other men talked a New York City building manager into letting them enter an apartment used by his second wife, Joanne Carson, hoping to discover whom she was "shacking up with." Pictures in the room indicated it was Gifford.

An excerpt published by Entertainment Weekly shows Carson's distraught reaction to the discovery.

Johnny Carson, right, shakes hands with the Ed McMahon during the final taping of "The Tonight Show" in Burbank, Ca., on Friday, May 22, 1992.
Johnny Carson, right, shakes hands with the Ed McMahon during the final taping of "The Tonight Show" in Burbank, Ca., on Friday, May 22, 1992. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

"Carson leaned against the living room wall and began to weep ... I could see that Carson's raincoat had fallen open. I was shocked to see that Johnny was carrying a .38 revolver in a holster on his hip."

Later that night in a bar, Carson told Bushkin, "Joanne has broken my heart, to the extent I ever had one." He later mourned his own role, drunkenly saying, "I get drunk every night and I chase all the (women) I can get."

Bushkin spent 18 years as Carson lawyer, business partner, agent, "wingman, fixer (and) confidant."

According to the Huffington Post, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt claims the book is not just "dishy." The pair had a falling out in 1988.

"(He) was as close as anyone could be to Carson," Eamon Dolan of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt told the New York Times, "And he uses that intimacy brilliantly to show what made Carson so vastly charming and yet so inscrutable."

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