Tucker Carlson, the new golden boy of Fox News, could easily have lost his TV career years ago after he was falsely accused of rape, he has revealed.
The dapper host's blossoming career - which has gone into overdrive since the huge ratings of his new primetime Fox News show - could have been cut short if the accusation contained in a lawyer's letter had been made public in the early 2000s.
And now the woman who accused him has exclusively told DailyMail.com that it was all a misunderstanding - brought on by a mental health condition from which she was suffering.
'I was delusional,' admitted Kimberly Carter, whom Carlson, 47, named in his 2003 book, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites.
She also blamed her lawyer, saying he should never have written to the TV host threatening to prosecute him for sexual assault.
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Tucker Carlson, the new golden boy of Fox News, could easily have lost his TV career years ago after he was falsely accused of rape, he has revealed
Kimberly Carter, the woman who accused Carlson, (pictured on her now-defunct accountancy website) told DailyMail.com that it was a misunderstanding
Carter, who lives in Indiana, told DailyMail.com that she suffers from schizoaffective disorder, a condition with symptoms similar to schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
She said a friend had told her that Carlson would be at Harper's Restaurant, a burger and pizza joint in Louisville, Kentucky, and she went along to try to meet him. 'I had a bit of a crush on him at the time,' she said.
Carter, now 56, said she fell while in the restaurant, hitting her head. 'The next thing I knew people were waking me up with smelling salts.'
She said she spoke to her attorney Paul 'Matt' Blanton and told him something may have happened in the restaurant and she may have been molested, but she wasn't certain.
'I said "don't do anything about it until I find out for sure", but he went ahead and wrote the letter,' added Carter.
'I think he was trying to make a name for himself, but he didn't have my permission to write that letter,' she insisted.
Carlson's onetime accuser said she later realized she had not been molested and she wrote to him to apologize.
The TV star's new show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, debuted last Monday, drawing in 3.7 million viewers - Fox's biggest audience of the year during that time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research. The viewing figures were more than the audience for CNN and MSNBC combined.
But in his book, Politicians, Partisans and Parasites, Carlson - who has been married to high school sweetheart Susan Andrews since 1991 - revealed that the false charge could easily have ended his career in television shortly after it began.
Carlson has been married to high school sweetheart Susan Andrews since 1991 (pictured together in 2013)
He was accused while working for his first TV employer, CNN, where he was employed from 2000 to 2005. And he realized the Atlanta-based network would have had no compunction in canning him if the allegation leaked out.
'I knew the network would fire me immediately if it found out about the letter, and certainly if charges were filed against me,' he wrote.
'The one thing every journalist knows for certain about sex scandals is that they're always true. Partly true anyway.
'Maybe you didn't rape this woman, they'd think; maybe you just had unusually rough sadomasochistic sex with her and she misconstrued it. Or maybe your affair with her simply fell apart in an acrimonious way, perhaps over your cocaine habit.
'Maybe you had sex with her but never knew her name. Something definitely happened between you, though. People don't just make up specific allegations out of nothing.'
The TV star's new show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, debuted last Monday, drawing in 3.7 million viewers - Fox's biggest audience of the year during that time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research
The viewing figures for the show's debut were more than the audience for CNN and MSNBC combined
But Carlson, who has become cable news's latest 'overnight sensation' after more than a decade and a half of bouncing around from CNN to MSNBC to Fox, insists that's exactly what happened with him.
In the book, written in 2003 when he was still with CNN, Carlson went into great detail about how the supposed incident in Louisville occurred.
'We met at Harper's Restaurant on Hurstborne Parkway, where I slipped narcotics into her drink,'