DALLAS — She has a first name, but the general public probably doesn’t know it.
In countless broadcasts over almost four decades with WFAA, sports anchor Dale Hansen has referred to his wife as “The Lovely Mrs. Hansen.” It turns out she prefers to be called Chris.
“It’s hard to live up to ‘The Lovely Mrs. Hansen!’” she said with a laugh.
Chris and Dale met in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a weekend sportscaster. She was putting a new broadcasting degree to use behind the scenes, running cameras in the KMTV-TV studio.
Chris doesn’t claim it was love at first sight, but Dale does.
“He can actually tell you what I was wearing the first time he saw me,” she said, “which is kind of embarrassing.”
They have been married for 39 years and for 38 of them, Dale has worked at WFAA. His career brought them to Texas, which turned out to be the perfect place for both of them.
On the 40 acres in Waxahachie they call home, Chris lives out her life-long dream of raising animals. A lot of them.
“Three longhorns, a donkey, three mini horses,” she says. “I have two big horses at home. I have a show horse. Then, I have a parrot, five dogs and two barn cats.”
“And a Dale,” we remind her.
“Yeah, I have to add that, too!” she laughed.
Chris has loved horses all her life, but she never thought she would have enough money to buy one. And she certainly never thought she could win awards showing one, but she has. She’s placed nationally showing her purebred Arabians.
She says Dale helped make it happen. Her first horse was a Christmas gift from Dale shortly after they got married.
“What people don’t know about him is - he’s the most generous man I’ve ever know,” Chris said.
“I am trying not to cry, but of course I’m going to get a little choked up,” she said, pausing to regain her composure. “He has made my dreams come true.”
“He’s spoiled me to death. He’s given me everything I’ve ever wanted."
Chris has watched Dale help countless people out of major financial binds
“He’s just a big teddy bear,” she said. “He really is.”
She has watched with pride as Dale has broken big stories and landed big interviews, and she’s squirmed a little when some of those interviews get testy.
“I tell you one thing I won’t miss. I’m a Cowboys fan. Every time he’d go to Cowboys camp where I knew he’d do his interview with Jerry Jones - when he’s walking out of the car into the airport, I go, ‘Be nice to Jerry Jones!’”
The thing she might be most proud of are Dale’s "Unplugged" commentaries. He’s taken on difficult topics and gained international attention for his opinions.
“Seeing him evolve with his commentaries, I’m amazed,” she said. “He always runs them by me. I’ll give him some suggestions.”
“Sometimes he’ll surprise me. I’ll watch and I’ll be sitting there and go, ‘Oh, he’s going to get in trouble for that! Oh! I don’t know about that!’ But, I’m very proud of him.’”
Dale’s commentary about the NFL’s first openly gay player Michael Sam landed him on the Ellen show, which Chris says is one her top two highlights of his career. Ellen invited Chris into the studio audience and even asked her a question.
Another guest on that episode of Ellen was Kevin Costner, and Chris said he asked if he could meet Dale in his dressing room. The second top highlight is when Dale received a lifetime achievement award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
His speech at the event in Washington, D.C. drew praise from broadcasters around the country. Chris is, without a doubt, as lovely as her nickname. But she’s also an adoring wife with an adoring husband.
“He’s a great guy. I mean, I wouldn't be here 39 years if he wasn’t,” she said. “And he didn’t tell me to say all this, by the way! These are my own words!”