Born to a Jewish family in the Philadelphia suburbs, Kauffman attended Marple Newtown High School, located near Philadelphia, where she was a thespian and student director of the school play "Our Town" in 1974. Kauffman attended Brandeis University and received her BA in Theater in 1978. In 1984 she married Michael Skloff, who would later be the composer of the Friends theme song, and lived in Los Angeles. However Kauffman and Skloff filed for divorce in November 2015 after 31 years of marriage. Kauffman has three children: Hannah, Sam and Rose.