Breakspeare was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to a Jamaican father, Louis Breakspeare, who was a British-Jamaican of multiracial ancestry, and a white Canadian mother of British origin, Marguerite Cochrane. She has three brothers and one sister. Breakspeare moved to Jamaica when she was four years old, and attended the Immaculate Conception High School, graduating in 1973. As a teenager, Breakspeare participated in beauty pageants, including Miss Jamaica Body Beautiful and Miss Universe Bikini. She was invited to participate in the Miss World competition in 1976 held in London, and won the title on November 19, 1976, becoming the second Jamaican to do so.
Breakspeare had a relationship with reggae musician Bob Marley beginning in 1977, lasting until 1978. From their relationship she gave birth to a son, Damian Marley (aka Jr. Gong), in 1978. Three years later, Breakspeare married senator Tom Tavares-Finson in 1981 with whom she has a son Christian (b. 1982) and a daughter Leah (b. 1986). Breakspeare and Tavares-Finson later divorced in 1995. Breakspeare married musician Rupert Bent II in 1999. Breakspeare has been pursuing her career as a recording Artist and Entrepreneur. She founded a Rastafarian craft store called Ital Craf in Jamaica. Breakspeare has four grandsons from her three children.