Cox was born in the Birmingham, Alabama suburb of Mountain Brook. She is the daughter of businessman Richard Lewis Cox.
She has two older sisters, Virginia and Dottie, and an older brother, Richard, Jr. Her parents divorced in 1974 and her mother was remarried to businessman Hunter Copeland (uncle to Ian Copeland).
After graduating from Mountain Brook High School in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Cox left for Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. but did not complete her architecture course, opting instead to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
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