Tove Strand was formerly married to Rune Gerhardsen, a fellow Labour Party politician and son of former Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen whom she met in university. Due to the marriage she was named Tove Strand Gerhardsen during this period. Before the couple split in 1996, they had two daughters, Marte and Mina Gerhardsen. Both daughters joined the Labour Party too, and Mina Gerhardsen, as political advisor for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, has been considered particularly influential in Norwegian society. Tove Strand later married Tor Saglie, the director of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service.
In 1982 she left the executive branch of government to work as a head of a department at Rikshospitalet. In May 1986, the second cabinet Brundtland took over as the cabinet Willoch lost a vote of confidence. Strand was brought back to the government's offices, this time as Minister of Social Affairs. She stayed in this position until October 1989, when the second cabinet Brundtland fell due to the 1989 election. However, its successor lasted only one year, and Strand returned in 1990 as Norwegian Minister of Government Administration and Labour in the third cabinet Brundtland. In addition, she had been elected to the Oslo city council for the term 1987–1991.
Inbetween the two tenures as government minister, she had worked as a "project leader" at BI, the Norwegian School of Management. When leaving the third cabinet Brundtland in September 1992, she returned to BI to work as a "special advisor". From 1993 to 1996 she worked as a regional director of the Research Council of Norway. From 1997 to 2005 she headed the state-run directorate Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. In 2005 she returned to the hospital business to work as director of Ullevål University Hospital.
In 1984 she became a board member of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports. She left in 1987, but returned as vice president of the organization from 1994 to 1999. She was also a board member of the Norwegian Handball Federation from 1993 to 1995. She was also a member of the board of the publishing house Universitetsforlaget from 1982 to 1985, and the Bank of Norway from 1990 to 1999. She chaired the board of the National Institute of Occupational Health from 1990 to 1991, and was also involved in the Royal Norwegian Society for Development and the Norwegian UNESCO commission. From 1993 to 1994, she was deputy chair of the organization Sosialdemokrater mot EU, which opposed a Norwegian application for membership in the European Union. Following the Norwegian European Union membership referendum, 1994, such a membership was out of the question. After some years without committee or board memberships, she joined the board of the International Development Law Organization and Arbeidsgiverforeningen Spekter in 2007. Also, since 2006 she has chaired the Kronprinsparets Humanitære Fond, a humanitarian fund initiated by Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and the Crown Princess Mette-Marit.