'80s Actress Teri Copley Returns to Her Roots
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com -In the early '80s, Teri Copley was known as the blonde bombshell that appeared in sitcoms like The Love Boat and We Got It Made. But underneath her beauty and confidence, Teri was just a girl who longed for the love of a father.
“I was raised by a single mom,” Teri said. “My relationship with my father was pretty much nothing. I think the impact of not having a father and having a father that didn’t really nurture me or really give me love, had a huge significant impact in my life, of rejection.”
Around 10 years old, Teri found acceptance in the home of a neighbor.
“Her name was Gwen. And she had a little Bible study, so she would take all the little latchkey kids from all around the neighborhood and she would give us cookies and orange juice and I think that is what drew all the kids to her house,” Teri said. “Then she started taking me to church. As a little girl, I just had this innate love for the Lord and I didn’t understand it.”
But in her late teens, Teri’s family moved and she stopped thinking about spiritual things. Instead, she was drawn to another love: acting.
“It was an escape for me, but it was also a joy for me,” Teri said. “I went out for the audition for We Got It Made and they wanted girls in short-short skirts, they wanted the dumb blonde. The audition was ‘Hi, are you still looking for a housekeeper.’ And I said, ‘Hi, are you still looking for a housekeeper’ because I was scared and the whole room said, ‘You’re hired.’ They said, once they saw me when I walked in the room, they knew I was the girl.”
But after years of getting similar roles, Teri was tired of being typecast.
“I remember thinking, ‘I want to be taken seriously.’ So, I went to acting classes thinking that would help me be taken more seriously. And then I started to tell myself, ‘you are not innocent. You are not an innocent young girl. That is not the way the world is. Grow up!’” Teri said. “Then I got an offer from Playboy to do a pictorial. It was wrong for me. It wasn’t who I was, but I did it. That was the adult voice trying to be adult in this world.”
Teri also tried to find fulfillment in romantic relationships. She was married three times, but all of the marriages failed. “I just believe that because of the spirit of rejection that was in my life, it attracted men that would reject me,” Teri said. “It was painful but I was always the kind of person that could take the pain and say, ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow.’ And then I’d go shopping.”
But in 1991, Teri reached a point where she could not push back her pain anymore. “I was just going about being an actress but I was empty inside,” Teri said. “One morning, I was sleeping and I remember seeing the sun coming through the window of the hotel room and the voice said, ‘Isn’t the sun beautiful?’ And simply I responded, ‘Yes, the sun is beautiful.’”
That morning, Teri remembered the God she had met as a child. “And I got on my knees in the hotel room and I said, ‘Lord, You’ve given me this life and I’ve made a mess of it. Please take it back and please just let me serve You.’ The love I just felt from Jesus just consumed me. It went to the very depths of me.”
Teri started going to church and reading her Bible. She also started turning down acting jobs that didn’t align with her faith. She even refused her dream role of playing Marilyn Monroe.
“When I surrendered my life to the Lord, I changed; not because I had to but because I wanted to. Once Jesus came into my life, I felt like a newborn baby and I felt innocent again. There were some struggles of losing everything and losing the life…but feeling rejected and unloved all my life…and then feeling the love from Jesus…I was willing to give up everything for that.”
Today, not only does Teri have a strong faith but God has also restored her acting career. She has written and acted in several Christian plays and also stars in the new Pureflix film, Redeemed.
“I feel like I have a lot to give to people. It’s not so much about me receiving but it’s how much I can give, how much I can love people. It turns you from selfishness to selflessness,” Teri said. “What God did for me was He took a young girl that never felt loved and loved her to the very core and showed her, that I’m beautiful from the inside out.”
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