ST. PETERSBURG — Even as he stood next to his wife, Tina — holding her hand, complimenting her energy and providing lots of behind-the-scenes dish from their time competing on CBS' travel contest The Amazing Race — Ken Greene couldn't really answer the big question.
Fans know that Ken and Tina Greene joined the sprawling international race to shore up their strained marriage; when the competition was filmed, he was living in San Diego and she was living in Tampa.
But the pair is saving the big answer about their relationship for the show's finale Sunday. So even after a crowd of family and friends watched the couple confirmed as finalists competing for the show's $1-million prize at a St. Petersburg barbecue joint Sunday night, neither Greene felt comfortable talking much about whether the show saved their marriage.
"Among all the other teams in the race, there were very few dealing with the issues we were tackling," said Ken, a former professional football player and college football coach. "It's been … the hardest thing I've ever done, including NFL training camp."
Working together, the couple have scooted past eight other teams to land in the show's finale, standing out as the oldest pair left in contention (Ken is 52 and Tina is 49). They will face off against brother/sister team Nick and Starr Spangler and fraternity brothers Dan Honig and Andrew Lappitt.
As we watched the show Sunday, the couple unveiled some behind-the-scenes info:
• Like many reality TV contestants, Tina Greene believes the show's producers have moved around her quotes and edited scenes to make her look more critical of her husband than she is, though Sunday's show contained some prickly moments from both.
• Sometimes, the race action is affected by off-camera issues. In Sunday's episode, the teams gathered their first clue on a Russian submarine. But Tina noted that when she and Ken arrived at the boat, the tourist attraction wasn't open. By the time it was opened three hours later, all the other teams had caught up, eliminating their advantage.
• The difference between winning and losing this race is often a good cab driver. In Sunday's episode, Tina and Ken lucked into a Russian cab driver who had a GPS to help find obscure landmarks. Tina didn't realize until last week that another team stole their cab driver while heading to another clue.
• Even the other teams competing in the race didn't know Ken and Tina were starting with their marriage under strain; the couple didn't tell anyone, to keep their rivals from using the issue to their advantage.
"To me, it was not a lot of fun … it was work," Ken told the crowd before the show started, noting that he got worried when the race started at the Los Angeles Coliseum, because he'd never won a game as a player or a coach there.
"It takes over your life," Tina said, just after Ken joked that she had dreams about the competition weeks after the race ended. "It was the first time in our lives that we have been away from family and friends and work. No computers. No e-mail. No outside contact. It just … it takes over your being, and it's all about the race and your relationship with your partners."