Devine was born in Houston, Texas. Her mother, Eunice O'Neal (née Toliver), was a beautician, and her father, James Devine, worked as a laborer. She grew up in the Acres Homes area of Houston, where her mother was a single mother to six children. She was very active on the pep squad and performed in talent shows at George Washington Carver High School.
In 1971, Devine graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama. In 1976, she received a Mas