Devine was born in Houston, Texas. Her mother, Eunice O'Neal, was a beautician, and her father, James Devine, worked as a laborer. She grew up in the Acres Homes area of Houston. She was very active on the pep squad, and performed in talent shows at George Washington Carver High School. Devine graduated from the University of Houston in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama and Brandeis University in 1976 with a MFA in Theater. Devine was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha the Epsilon Lambda Chapter.