Hatcher was born in Palo Alto, California, the daughter of Esther, a computer programmer, and Owen W. Hatcher, a nuclear physicist. Teri’s father was of Welsh and Choctaw Native American descent, and her mother was Half Lebanese, Half French/German decent. Teri grew up in Sunnyvale, California and is an only child. She studied acting at the American Conservatory Theatre.
Teri landed a co-starring role in 1993, opposite Dean Cain in Lois and Clark. She portrayed Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane in the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman from 1993 to 1997. At the height of the show’s popularity in 1995, a picture of Hatcher wrapped in a Superman cape was reportedly downloaded on the Internet 20,000 times. "It’s a great shot," she told Entertainment Weekly. "Not so much because it’s me. It’s just cool-looking."
Hatcher beat out Monica Bellucci for the role of Paris Carver in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Hatcher was three months pregnant at the filming’s start.
Teri beat four other actresses for one of the lead role on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, a role for which she won the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Golden Globe Award in January 2005.
In April 2006, Hatcher was one of the highest paid television actresses in the United States. She reportedly earned $285,000 per episode of Desperate Housewives. In May 2006, she released her first book, Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life. She has also written a column in Glamour.