Terri was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is the daughter of an attorney (father) and a cookery teacher (mother). She completed one semester at Boston University before moving to New York to pursue a frustating acting career. After some hard years in her teens and early twenties that pushed her down the road to addiction, she finally got the role of her lifetime in the miniseries North and South(1984) where she met her first husband Chris Hager, a grip worker. She was soon pregnant with their only child (a daughter, Molly Elisabeth, born in 1986). The two divorced in 1989. On July 21, 2001 she married produced Frank Howson, but they divorced on June 24, 2002.
In 1986 North & South was continued with its sequel Love & War, thanks to the success of which in 1987 she landed in the primetime soap opera Dynasty. Santa Barbara (1991-1992) and General Hospital (1993) came afterwards. In 1994, Terri was once again engaged in the last sequel of North and South called Heaven and Hell. Her last role has been the recurring role of Iris Dumbrowski on the soap opera As the World Turns (2005-2006).