Belafonte has been married twice: First to Robert Harper (May 21, 1977 – 1988). She has been married to Sam Behrens since December 30, 1989. Belafonte posed nude for Playboy in the magazine's September 2000 edition, and herself was an avid Photographer.
Belafonte began her career as a model, becoming a successful cover girl model and appearing in commercials for Calvin Klein jeans. She made her feature film debut in 1982 in the movies Time Walker and If You Could See What I Hear. She then worked as a production assistant and assistant Director in public television on the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles, where she became an assistant to the publicist at Hanna-Barbera productions. While getting her hands wet "behind the scenes", she also received a number of modeling and commercial assignments, and was known to have appeared on the covers of over 300 magazines as of 2015.
Early in her career, Belafonte landed a role alongside The Beastmaster's Marc Singer when he portrayed singer Tom Sullivan in the feature film If You Could See What I Hear. Other feature films include The Time Walker, Speed Zone, the made-for-television horror-comedy film The Midnight Hour, in which she also sang a song titled "Get Dead", and Fire, Ice and Dynamite. The television Producer Aaron Spelling chose her as a finalist for Julie Rogers on Charlie's Angels, a role written with her specifically in mind, but the part instead went to Tanya Roberts. In 1984, Spelling did choose her for another pilot, this one for the action-adventure series Velvet alongside Leah Ayres, Mary Margaret Humes, and Sheree J. Wilson. In the same year, Spelling signed Shari as Julie Gilette in the ABC television series Hotel, in which she starred during the show's five-year run, which extended from 1983 to 1988. It was during this time that Shari began her music career by signing a contract to record on the Metronome Records label, releasing two albums in Europe; these were The Eyes of Night in 1987 and Shari in 1989.
Belafonte made her theatrical debut in Tamara, playing the title role in the long-running Los Angeles production. Shortly thereafter, she starred as Dr. Laura Wingate in the USA Network's dramatic series Beyond Reality, which ran for two years. In addition, Shari also co-hosted the syndicated series Lifestyles with Robin Leach and Shari Belafonte, an updated version of Leach's signature program, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. As of 2006, Shari could be seen hosting a travel program called "Travels In Mexico And The Caribbean With Shari Belafonte" on NYCTV.
In mid-December 2015, it was announced that Belafonte would take over the role of Mayor Janice Lomax from Saidah Arrika Ekulona on January 19, 2016, on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital.