from a February Valentine issue of Skirt Magazine.
Amazing Race Contenders Ken and Tina Greene
Photo by Mitchell Davis
Photo by Mitchell Davis Ken and Tina
Others raced solely for the million dollars, but for the Greenes, the prize was much greater: the opportunity to possibly salvage their marriage. The South Tampa couple left for a whirlwind trek around the globe on CBS’s “The Amazing Race 13” and placed second (seven minutes behind first). They returned home with renewed hope for a second chance together.Ken
: “I love Tina, because she is a rare combination of beauty, brilliance with a caring and giving heart for the less fortunate.”Tina:
"Kenny is a wonderful blend of warmth, fun and adventure wrapped up in a great package! He has truly captured my imagination and my heart.”MORE ON KEN & TINA...
Seven years ago, Ken and Tina were introduced by a mutual friend. Two years later, they married and came together with five combined grown children between them ranging in age from 24 to 28. According to Ken, a former college football coach for 14 years and in the NFL himself before that, there was just something there from the moment he laid eyes on his wife. “She’s very beautiful and there’s a soft, gentle spirit about her,” he says. Tina, a CEO for a local biotech and pharmaceutical placement company, says Ken is the perfect balance to her tendency to prefer the fast pace. “He’s fun and teaches me to stop and smell the roses,” she says with a laugh. “He’s got such a positive attitude about life that you love being around him.”
The two, always active and adventurous in sports and travels abroad, were fans of the reality competition series for year, having seen every previous season before entering themselves. Tina says the application and selection process was a test in itself. “It was a long, drawn-out process. We were separated at the time – Kenny had been in San Diego building and I had already moved back to Tampa but for a whole month we went through psychiatric testing, physical evaluation and casting director meetings,” she says. “We only found out about a month before we left that we were being selected!” They were accepted after applying their first time, an uncommon feat in the world of reality television.
The dangers and mysteries of traveling abroad and competing in often high-endurance challenges didn’t worry Ken and Tina. Having your life and relationship exposed to everyone in the world so completely was their only reservation. “When you agree to do a show like that, you’re exposing your personal life to the world. Tina’s even more private than me. But once we were chosen, we were so excited to get started. We’re real adventure travelers in our own lives and we knew that physically, we were up to the challenge,” he says. Tina notes her biggest surprise in watching the shows later was how conversation snip-its could be moved around and taken out of context. “Most surprising to me was that they could take something I said once and play it 20 times,” she says with a laugh. “You are miked the whole time in the race, so you just don’t know what they will use. Other than that, I think they did an exceptional job considering how much footage they had of every team.”
Tina says the couple’s different personalities and backgrounds were such an asset in the competition. “I think we both agree his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. Kenny having coaching experience really helped. He was patient with people and he challenged me to push through my fears.”
One aspect of their Amazing Race run that was not featured after editing was the team’s decision to keep their separated status hidden from the other teams. “We thought they might use this information to drive a greater wedge between us, so we never told any of the teams. Only the producers knew,” Tina says. “When Ken brought out our wedding rings at the end of the race, the other teams were completely stunned to learn that we had been separated.”
The couple placed in second to a twenty-something brother and sister team and just missed the first place spot by a reported 7 minutes. Returning home last May, they weren’t allowed to tell friends or family they were on the show until August when the show began airing, and keeping the outcome a secret was yet another challenge. But Tina says the local buzz and excitement about their run in the race was the most fun to watch from here at home. “It was incredible to see how many lives we touched. There were parties each week in Tampa and St. Pete and one in Seattle and San Francisco where we have family or lived before,” she says.
Since their return, Ken and Tina have been discussing with several cable networks a special televised renewal of their wedding vows on broadcast television and hope to raise funds for a charity during the event. Recently, Tina also was named Chairperson of the Board for the Children’s Cancer Center, an organization with which she’s had a long history. “I’ve been with them for many years, starting as a volunteer there years ago. The Center is a wonderful organization that seeks to help local families continue to pay their rent and keep them in their homes throughout very costly cancer treatment programs,” she says.
Ken says that the couple loves taking part in outdoor activities, especially on the water since Tina hails from California and Ken grew up in the mountains of Washington state and were surprised (and a little disappointed) there weren’t more water-related challenges during their season. When they’re not working, they love kayaking and fishing, going to all of the Bucs games, entertaining and anything football-related. Ten months ago, the two also became grandparents for the first time which they say has also been a blessing and they love spending time with their new grandson whenever they can.
To couples who might be struggling or contemplating separation as Ken and Tina had, they’d like to offer a little advice. Ken says taking the time to stop and examine your relationship is invaluable. “Never be in a hurry to do anything drastic. There is time to just stand back and sigh and pray. At no time will a relationship always be easy. But you have to take care of one another,” he says. Tina also notes the importance of faith to helping them strengthen their marriage. “Finding our way back to the Lord and helping our son launch a new church in St Pete has been really important in rebuilding our marriage. We’ve even been asked to be elders in the church,” she says. “Refocusing our faith helped us find each other again.”