Caroline Portfield was born on August 12, 1969, in the Beverly Hills-adjacent area of Bel Air, California. She was the only child of Duffy and Virginia Portfield. Caroline’s parents owned a small investment boutique that catered to movie moguls and the business elite.
Duffy ran the family business, and the family, with an iron fist. Each day in the Portfield home started promptly at 4:30 a.m. Duffy was overly protective and strictly controlled Caroline’s activities. When she was not in school, Caroline was to stay home and enjoy the thousands of dollars worth of toys Duffy had purchased for her.
Caroline attended private schools alongside the children of celebrities and celebrity children. While she performed well academically and had many friends at school, she felt a bit out of place in these elite circles. Her sheltered childhood magnified her social awkwardness.
Caroline enjoyed making up fantastical stories of adventure. When she got too old to play with toys, she spent most of her free time reading fiction and writing her own fictional stories.
In her senior year of high school, Caroline fell head over heels for her classmate, Trent. Although Trent’s parents were well respected, and Trent maintained excellent grades, Duffy forbade Caroline to date anyone, even Trent. Caroline was devastated.
Duffy’s plan was to send Caroline to an Ivy League university. Caroline’s plan was to get out from under Duffy’s control. To do so, she enrolled at Ohio State University. Duffy reacted to the news by proclaiming that he would not put a single dime into an institution with a big, useless tree nut as its mascot.
Caroline joyfully left for college in Fall 1987 to study creative writing. Despite his threat, Duffy continued to support his daughter financially, and after he and Virginia visited at Homecoming, Duffy became a voracious Buckeye fan.
In Spring 1988, Caroline met Frederick Miller. She and Frederick dated casually for a few months until he graduated, at which time the couple became exclusive. Frederick wanted to stay in Columbus, but Caroline hoped to get an advanced degree in creative writing from Ole Miss. She applied and was accepted.
Caroline graduated from Ohio State in 1991 and immediately began preparations to move to Oxford. Frederick proposed to Caroline on her birthday that summer, and the couple moved to Mississippi.
Caroline and Frederick were married in Oxford on the Saturday following Thanksgiving in 1991. They have one child, a 17-year-old daughter named Elizabeth.