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'Baseball Wives' star Anna Benson: Jail saved me

  • anna benson facebook.jpg

     (Courtesy Anna Benson)

  • anna benson ap.jpg

     (AP)

Anna Benson, who served four months in jail after attacking her estranged husband, former Major League Baseball pitcher Kris Benson, is rebuilding her life after completing three months of court-ordered inpatient psychiatric therapy.

“I don’t smoke pot. I don’t drink. I even quit smoking,” Benson told FOX411 exclusively. “And I tell you what, I’ve never felt better.”

The former star of VH1’s “Baseball Wives,” who once infamously declared that she would sleep with the entire New York Mets organization if she ever caught her husband cheating on her, declared that she’s happier now than she’s ever been.

“Everything is great,” said Benson. “I’m happy with the simplest things. I bought a flower today at the grocery store– an orchid– and it’s so pretty and I appreciate it so much, because I remember being in jail and not having anything–nothing that smelled good, no music, no nothing–and I’m just thrilled to be in this small apartment, living a normal life.”

On July 7, 2013, Benson went to the Smyrna, Georgia home of her estranged husband. Wearing a bulletproof vest, a loaded ammunition belt, and a large knife tucked in her waistband, she demanded $30,000 and smashed his computer with a telescoping baton. He managed to call 911, and Benson was subsequently arrested and held for four months in jail. 

“You know, I was wrong the day that I got arrested for having that argument with him and being violent towards the computer,” said Benson. “Even though it was just towards the computer, it was just the fact that I was being violent. I never should have done that.”

But Benson says that the four months she spent in jail were revelatory. “It was a very eye-opening, surreal experience,” admitted Benson. “I met some amazing people in there and I learned some amazing things, and that is where I really turned the corner, when I was in that jail. If owe any thanks, I would have to thank Cobb County for saving me from myself.”

On November 5, Anna Benson plead guilty to attacking Kris Benson. In exchange for her plea, she was sentenced to 15 years probation under the condition that she successfully completed three months of inpatient psychiatric therapy.

Not long after her sentencing, Anna appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show. By the end of the hour-long show, Phil McGraw offered to send Benson to therapy at Origins in San Padre Island, Texas. She spent 35 days at the facility, and was then transferred to Creative Care in Malibu, California, “a premiere drug, alcohol, and mental health facility,” where she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“That place was a godsend,” explained Benson. “They diagnosed me properly. I used to be one of those people that would sit there and go, ‘Oh, what’s wrong? Your mommy and daddy didn’t hug and kiss you enough?’ Let me tell you something that s--- truly matters. Your upbringing as a child and into adulthood is critical.”

Benson spent three months at Creative Care, and it was the first time she had ever discussed the traumatic events in her life, including the 1996 murder of Michael Evans

Benson became the subject of a manhunt after Evans was found murdered in her Tennessee apartment. Five months later, Benson and then-boyfriend Paul Dejongh were captured, and the charges against Benson were eventually dropped.

"I don’t want to get into details about all that, but when I was 19– I was just a teenager– I witnessed a murder. It was a very gory, bloody, scary murder. I mean, I wasn’t even right to begin with because of what happened to me as a child. And then I saw something like that, I was at a place in my mind of complete hyper-vigilance, complete anxiety, stress and fear 24/7 and I would walk around and I didn’t even know what I was afraid of."

In therapy, Benson said she addressed her past. 

“They dug down into my childhood, they dug into my past and all of the trauma that I had suffered,” said Benson. “I didn’t even realize until I began to talk about it how much trauma I had experienced. They had told me that on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the worst, I was a 9.5 with post traumatic stress disorder."

Benson is grateful to Dr. Phil for having her on his show and footing the bill for her therapy. “That was $140,000 worth of treatment that they gave me– at least,” said Benson. “I haven’t talked to Dr. Phil since I got out of rehab, but if I have to say anything to him, I would just throw my arms around his neck and give him a big hug. He was very sweet to me.”

Now that Benson’s divorce is final, she received what she calls a “modest” settlement from Kris Benson. “For 15 years of marriage and $38 million, I got a little over $100,000 total,” she said. 

It’s quite a departure from the life she shared with Kris Benson, when the couple traveled the world and attended various red carpet events.

“When Kris left, he left me with three kids, by myself, and he fired pretty much everyone on the staff,” Benson explained. “I went from living this life of luxury with private chefs and maids and assistants– and then instantly, within days– it was all ripped out from under me. Kris is like, ‘Here you go, here’s the three kids and I’m taking off to New York.’ And that was it.”

Since her arrest, incarceration and treatment, Anna Benson no longer has custody of her three minor children with Kris Benson.

“I have not had a chance to see my kids yet,” Benson explained. “I have to get a car, and all that kind of stuff. As soon as I get that taken care of, I’m going to have my first visit with the kids. Eventually, I’ll be able to be with my kids without a supervisor. It’s just the first couple of visits they want to have somebody there. And that’s fine, I completely understand the concern and I’m totally fine with everything.”

Despite all that has happened, Benson claims to harbor no ill will towards her ex, “I’m not blaming Kris for anything,” she declared. “I wish him the best. I love him, I will always love my kids’ dad. I wish him happiness and success, and I apologize for anything that I did in our marriage to hurt him. I’m truly sorry. I never meant to hurt him. I’ve always, always loved him. We’re just not right for each other.”

Reached via email by FOX411, Kris Benson declined to comment for our story.

Meanwhile, Anna Benson has traded her furs and diamonds for yoga pants. “I’m living in a one-bedroom apartment,” she said. “I’m shopping at regular stores like Target, Macy’s and Marshall’s. And you know what? I’m happy. I’m really happy. I didn’t need all of that s---. All of that stuff was just a facade. That was not me.”

Now, Benson fills her days with exercise and is hoping to write a book about her experiences. “I want my life story to be known. I want people to know who I really am and what really happened to me,” she explained. “I know that I failed my fans and I know that my situation looked really crazy, and I’m not trying to excuse that. I’m just trying to show why it was the way it was. Yeah, I messed up. I did some stuff. But I think the reasons behind why I did what I did will make more sense later on.”

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