Andy Griffith and his second banana Don Knotts came off as shy country bumpkins on their hit sitcom set in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina.
But they used their squeaky-clean act to fool America and mask their twisted real lives!
Now a just-released blockbuster book, “Andy & Don,” rips the lid off the shameful secrets of the beloved stars who played Sheriff Andy Taylor and his bumbling deputy Barney Fife on the popular series, which ran from 1960 to 1968.
Written by Don’s brother-in-law Daniel De Visé, the book has branded both men as sex-crazed womanizers who cheated on their first wives — and going on secret double dates with their mistresses!
The author also revealed Andy’s shocking dark rages. The actor wrecked hotel rooms and smashed car windshields during fits of fury that also kept his cast and crew quaking in terror!
“Most of us were deathly afraid of Andy,” confessed George Lindsey, who played Goober Pyle on the sitcom.
But two people who weren’t cowed by Andy were his lifelong buddy Don and Aneta Corsaut, who played Helen Crump, his girlfriend, on the sitcom.
She became his real-life lover almost immediately after joining the cast in 1963.
“Andy couldn’t get enough of Aneta,” the author wrote—quoting one of Andy’s buddies as saying the relationship “was true love. They were closer than anyone knew.”
Certainly, Andy hid his affair from then-wife Barbara, who he wed in 1949 and divorced in 1972. But he often went on double dates with Don, who was married to first wife Kathryn Metz at the time.
Don’s squeeze was Lynn Paul, the assistant to Andy’s manager, said the book, which also claimed Don’s marriage to Kathryn ended in divorce in 1966 after he confessed to his humiliated wife he’d been bedding Lynn.
Meanwhile, Andy’s torrid affair with Aneta was the worst-kept secret on the set.
Once as a prank, a crew member donned a waiter’s uniform and delivered a dinner to his Hollywood hotel room — catching Andy and Aneta locked in a steamy embrace.
Andy was so smitten with Aneta that he proposed to her even though he was married, says the book.
“Andy popped the question at least once and possibly two or three times, as Aneta hinted in later years,” wrote the author. “She turned him down.”
Added her brother Jesse: “She wanted to keep her personal freedom.”
Aneta also kept Andy on the hook until her death in 1995, 17 years before his 2012 passing. From 1987 to 1992, he cast her in roles on his hit lawyer series, “Matlock.”
But the author says party-hardy Andy bedded other women, too, including stunning actress Joanna Moore—who appeared in four episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show,” and later wed Ryan O’Neal and was the mother of his daughter Tatum.
His manager said Andy “loved sex.” Andy was married to Solica Casuto from 1975 to 1981 and Cindi Knight from 1983 until his death—but the book claimed his deepest relationships were with Aneta and Don.
Don and Andy became fast friends after co-starring on Broadway in “No Time for Sergeants” in 1955. Don helped keep Andy’s dark side in check.
But Andy’s rages got worse after Don left Mayberry over a money dispute.
Don felt he was paid “chump change” compared to Andy, who owned part of the show and was making $1 million a year. Don asked to become a 50/50 partner.
When Andy refused, Don left to make movies — and the remaining cast and family members felt the Griffith wrath. A friend says Andy’s white-hot rages were “unbearable.”
He once trashed a Manhattan hotel room. During a furious fight with wife Barbara, he even punched out a car windshield.
A source noted Andy later admitted seeing a shrink for more than a dozen years to control his rages and the feeling of worthlessness that tormented him.
“My life has been affected by an almost total feeling of inadequacy,” he explained. “It’s been with me my whole life.”
Andy was especially bitter — and jealous — over the Emmy Awards and the critical acclaim that Don won.
It fueled their rift, but Andy was holding Don’s hand when his pal died at age 81 from lung cancer in 2006.
“Andy said, ‘Breathe. You gotta pull through,’ and told Don he loved him before he died,” said the book.