By Jason McIntyre
Special to Page 3
When I interviewed Anna Benson, she was nothing like I expected. Her throaty voice was equal parts sexy and tough, but I was clearly not talking to some dim-witted sex kitten. None of my usual witty banter worked when I tried to make her laugh. OK, so maybe I'm not that witty, but Mrs. Benson was all business.
''We have six or seven guns. Kris and I aren't playing around,'' she shared.
''And we have two attack dogs.''
OK, good to know we're getting off on the right foot. But eventually, Benson softened up enough to talk about her upcoming reality show, her youth as a stripper, and why she wouldn't really sleep with all of her husband's teammates.
How did you and Kris meet?
Anna Benson: We actually went to rival high schools in Georgia. We crossed each other's paths back then, but we didn't know it. When I was 22, we were introduced by a mutual friend. It was one of those instant chemistry things. We met in October, were seriously dating in January, and were married the following October.
What was the proposal like?
We had planned to go to Hawaii in October. The night before we left for the trip, he asked me to marry him in the restaurant where we had our first date. I was so (ticked). I thought he would ask me to marry him in front of a beautiful volcano or somewhere in Hawaii. But he wanted to marry me in Hawaii, and I knew nothing about it. So we went to Hawaii, just me and him, and got married.
What was the ceremony like?
He was making the league minimum, so we weren't going to pay for everyone to go out there. The maids at the Ritz in Maui dressed me, and the busboys got him ready for the wedding. Then, I walked downstairs with the maid carrying my train, and some older man in a dirty outfit comes up and tells me how beautiful I look.
And Kris beat him up?
No. The guy hooked his arm around mine and walked me down the foyer. He said he played golf. I thought nothing of it. And later, Kris and I are watching the video and Kris starts flipping out and goes, ''Oh my gosh! That's Hale Irwin!'' So basically, Hale Irwin gave me away. And all the time, I was thinking, ''Who is this dirty guy wanting to talk to me, I'm busy!''
Cool. Moving on to sex ...
Why don't you put this whole ''I'll (have sex with) the whole team if Kris cheats on me'' comment you made on the "Howard Stern Show" to rest?
I've been saying that comment for about six years now. We couldn't believe it turned into such a big deal. We laughed it up. There's no way I would touch some of those guys with a 10-foot pole. I don't care what Kris did. Some of them are disgusting.
(I wanted to ask her to name names, but that's just wrong.)
The media has kind of been all over you since those comments. Without getting all Chad Pennington, how has that been?
Right now, I have some big dreams. But at the same time, if I get annoyed and harassed by the media, I'll just quit. I don't care. We're set for life. I have quite a temper.
So you're doing a reality show?
I've done some stuff that sucks, and I'll admit it has not been good. The reality show, though, is hilarious. I didn't even know that my house was that fun. It chronicles my life as being -- eight months out of the year -- single with three kids and six dogs. The show's not about Kris, but he's featured here and there. It is kind of the "athlete's wife" perspective. I don't think people realize how much these guys are gone. The pilot has already been shot, and they start filming again in February.
But isn't it good and bad when he's gone?
By the time he retires, who knows, we might hate each other. The first three years, we wanted each other to die. Deep down, I was probably resentful of him leaving so much, but that was stupid. I didn't fully understand how much he was going to be gone. When the 7-year-old talks smack, you just have to beat him down because Dad's not there. The kids know when Kris is not home, they can mess with me. (The Benson's have three kids -- Alyssa, 11, P.J., 7, and Haylee, 3.)
So is the ultimate goal TV?
What I really see myself doing is late-night TV. No woman has ever done it. Joan Rivers tried and failed miserably. I know I'm way too young for that (Anna will be 29 in February) and if they offered it to me tomorrow, I would turn it down. I just don't have the life experience right now. I'm hoping in five years or so I'll have racked up some experience to do something like that.
So now that Kris is in the New York spotlight, and your name is out there, do you expect to turn up in the gossip pages more? You know, people talk ...
Kris and I have everyone that comes to this house sign a confidentiality agreement. People just want to make money, so we started doing it a couple of years ago. We didn't want to get burned because we've seen so many people burned. I'm paranoid, so we do it just in case. I mean, if somebody steals naked pictures I took for my husband's 30th birthday and gives them to somebody ...
I think I saw them on eBay ...
(Ahh ... a laugh)
OK, random question time. How bad was life as a stripper?
I've always been a headstrong girl. I had my first child at 17, and it was a mistake, but I got a beautiful child out of it. Things are different down south. A lot of girls get pregnant and married young, and I did that. And if I had to go out and dance, I would do it tomorrow if I had to. I'll do whatever I have to do to feed my kids. I don't give a (expletive). I don't care what anyone else thinks. I didn't want to do it, but I'm a tough broad because of it. Not a lot of people mess with me. I'm rough and tumble. When I was younger, I would brawl.
Do you ever get, ''You kind of look like ...''
I hate to say this, because as soon as I do people say, "Nobody says that about you!" but people say I look like Angelina Jolie. She's got to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, and I'm real proud of that. I've also heard Drew Barrymore, especially when I was younger. But I want people to get past my looks and listen to what I have to say.
Not including yourself, who is the hottest MLB wife?
You rarely see a lot of the wives. There are tons of very pretty wives, but that's not for me to judge.
Aside from your husband, which player looks best in those tight baseball pants?
Mark Mulder has always been my favorite. I'd love to set him up with one of my friends. He's a doll. Some of the guys look a little fat, but most baseball guys have nice butts.
That's splendid. What's your New Year's resolution?
I don't believe in that crap.
What's the toughest part of being a ballplayer's wife?
Two things. The amount of time they're away can be very, very difficult, and secondly, reading all the nasty things the writers say when your husband is not doing well. I get fired up.
The best part?
The lifestyle. I'm getting more interested in baseball right now just because we're on a good team. The thought of winning makes me hot.
Right. What's the best part of being Kris Benson's wife?
He lets me be who I am. Not a lot of athletes would let their wives do the stuff I can do. Being so vocal has a lot to do with it. Not a lot of wives are allowed to speak their minds. He lets me do that. He understands I am my own person. He allows me to be free.
If Kris wins the Cy Young, how would you celebrate?
However he wants to. Whatever sexual favor he wants, or place he wants to go, or party he wants to throw, he'll get if he wins the Cy Young.
Oh, the possibilities. Do the sex questions ever get old?
I'm tired of hearing them. But everybody knows sex sells. And I'm mostly interviewed by men, and that's what they want to know about.
Jason McIntyre covers sports and entertainment in New York City. He can be reached at email@example.com.