Coolidge was born on May 1, 1945 in Lafayette, Tennessee. She is of Scottish and Cherokee ancestry. Coolidge is a graduate of Florida State University. She became known as "The Delta Lady" and inspired Leon Russell to write a song of the same name for her.

Coolidge married Tatsuya Suda (mistakenly referred to as "Sudaon" by the Chicago Tribune) on June 19, 2012 in the Cook Islands. Coolidge was married to Kris Kristofferson from 1973–1980.

Rita Coolidge's Family Tree