Richards was born in Healdsburg, California, the daughter of Darielle (née Garrison), a public relations representative and film producer, and Gary Richards. Her sister, Bethany, is also an actress. Her maternal grandmother, who was of Italian ancestry, was a descendant of Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli. In addition to Italian, her maternal grandfather, William Otto Garrison's father, John, had English ancestry. Richards is a descendant of boxer John L. Sullivan, who had Irish ancestry.