Ford was born as Alexis Ford in Alexandria, Louisiana, the younger daughter of Pat, a schoolteacher, and Charles Ford, an insurance agent. Ford lived in nearby Pineville and began acting while attending Pineville High School. She moved to New York City at the age of 17 and began to model and find commercial work.
In 1983, Ford gained her first television role on ABC's One Life to Live; her first major role was on the NBC soap opera Another World, where she played Julia Shearer (a role previously played by Kyra Sedgwick) for several years.
Ford was let go by the producers and soon moved to Hollywood, where she gained a regular role on the short-lived sitcom, The Popcorn Kid, a five-episode appearance onthirtysomething and later her role on Murphy Brown. After a ten-year run, the series ended, and Ford immediately pursued other TV endeavors. In 1998, she executive produced her own short-lived sitcom Maggie Winters. Ford also appeared on The Norm Show with Norm Macdonald, Laurie Metcalf and Artie Lange from 1999 to 2001. She also began to focus on additional TV movies at this time.
Ford was married to Robert Nottingham from 1989 until 1996 and has been married to personal trainer/screenwriter Campion Murphy since 1998. Ford's sister, Devon O'Day, hosts country radio programs, owns a media company, and is an author. Ford and Murphy co-produced an original short film, entitled Citation of Merit, which appeared in numerous film festivals across the U.S.
Ford starred with Kelly Ripa in Hope & Faith as Hope Shanowski, a homemaker who live peaceful life until that her sister, an actress and Hollywood star moves to live with her and complicates her life in a variety of wild and surreal situations, where she managed a catering business; the sitcom lasted three seasons. The show was pulled from the ABC lineup in May 2006 after a decline in ratings following a switch from Fridays to Tuesdays.
In 2004, she published her own cookbook, Cooking with Faith, and credited her mother and two grandmothers for having taught her how to cook. Ford played the mother of a family whose husband had died in Disney's film The Pacifier, which was released in early 2005. In 2007, she appeared in the sitcom, Carpoolers.