As a successful actress, devoted mother of four and wife of former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, Holly Robinson Peete's life is far from slow and steady. Through it all, however, one thing has remained constant: her relationship with her best friend, Terry Lynn Ellis.
Everybody should have a "Terry Lynn Ellis."
My best friend forever has been such a solid and consistent source of strength for me since we first met and "fell in love" in 1992 on the set of my sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper. I recorded the show's theme song along with Terry's famous singing group, En Vogue. The other girls in the group always told her we looked alike, but we didn't see it. But there was an undeniable spark between us. So we exchanged numbers, connected, went on a first date, and it's been on and poppin' ever since!
Now, I've known a lot of great women in my life over my 45 years, but what sets Terry apart from being a "good friend" is her disarming authentic spirit. I just feel so okay about who I am around her. We allow each other to just be . She never judges, and she is my own personal "vault," meaning I know there is nothing I could say to her that anyone else would ever hear from her lips. It's the most comforting feeling ever, and I don't have it with anybody else.
My Terry is a simple southern gal from Texas. Just as "country" as she can be. What you see is what you get. We are both Virgos—she September 5 and me September 18. We always celebrate our birthdays with a scenic drive/getaway. Our favorite thing to do is blast '70s R&B music in the car and make up harmonies and dated dance moves. The music possesses us and makes us so silly and drunk with giggles that my husband swears we are two kooks that need to be committed! But when I ask Rodney to describe Terry he says one word: "True." Outta' the mouths of husbands…
Speaking of which, one of my favorite Terry moments was when we appeared on The Oprah Show in 1996 for the episode Who Knows You Better? Your Best Friend or Your Man? Gayle King and Terry competed against Stedman and Rodney for who knew Oprah and me better. The BFFs wiped the floor with the guys. It was hilarious.
Being blessed with Terry's friendship
The craziest thing is that Terry's career with En Vogue has taken her around the world for 20 years performing in stadiums and she has met everyone in the business. But she is completely unfazed. In fact, she is shy, but you'd never know it by watching her onstage! My kids recently saw "Auntie Terry" perform at our annual HollyRod fundraiser and had their mouths open the whole time! After the show, my youngest said, "Can we go meet that pretty lady?" He didn't know who that was up there! The Auntie Terry they know wears sweats and a ponytail, snuggles and sings to them when they go to sleep—all the singin', booty shakin' and lashes threw him off!
My Terry is the consistent real deal: from being there through loser boyfriends to being the bridesmaid in my wedding to the keeper husband (he passed her test), from guiding me out of the darkness of my father's death to helping me bring four children into this world, from sticking by my side when others didn't after "the world's worst day" (my son's autism diagnosis) to performing for my autism charity…
I just count my Terry blessings every day.
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, March 9, 2014
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