Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Amy Acker is the oldest of four children, three daughters and one son, of Robert Acker, a lawyer, and Sandra Bruyere, a housewife, and the cousin of Joel Jeffrey Acker. She graduated from Lake Highlands High School in Dallas. She subsequently earned a bachelor's degree in theater from Southern Methodist University. In her junior year of college, Acker modeled for J. Crew catalog. In 1999 she was nominated for a Leon Rabin award for "Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role" for her performance in the play Thérèse Raquin. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the same year. She worked as a stage actress for several seasons, including a stint at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin.