Anna Chennault, born Chen Xiangmei in Beijing (then Peking), China, graduated from Lingnan University in Hong Kong in 1944. She worked as a war correspondent for the Central News Agency from 1944 to 1948. While visiting her sister, a U.S. army nurse in Kunming, she met Claire Lee Chennault, the commander of American air forces in China ("Flying Tigers"), 32 years her senior. They married in 1947 and had two children.
After her husband's death in 1958, Anna Chennault worked as a publicist for the Civil Air Transport in Taiwan, as vice-president for the Flying Tiger Airline that he founded, as a broadcaster for the Voice of America, and as a fundraiser for the Republican Party. Several U.S. Administrations enlisted her help to facilitate negotiations with China and other Asian countries.