Pamela was born in 1949 in Takapuna, Auckland, and has one sister, who is an opera singer, currently based in Switzerland. Both her parents were University professors.
She attended the University of New South Wales, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (graduating in 1971) and studied Clinical Psychology at the California Graduate Institute (1996).
A popular face on UK television through the 1980s, she switched career to Clinical Psychology in the 1990s.
Her first husband was actor Nicholas Ball, but has been married to Scottish comedian Billy Connolly since 1989, and they have three children, Daisy (b. 1983), Amy (b. 1986) and Scarlet (b. 1988).