At 19 years old, Cha Tae-hyun participated and won the silver medal in the 1995 KBS Super Talent Contest. In 1999, he was named Best New Actor at the 35th Baeksang Arts Awards for his work in the 1998 MBC series Sunflower. In 2001, his popularity soared after being cast in the extremely successful movie My Sassy Girl, opposite Jeon Ji-hyun. He won the Best New Actor trophy at the 22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards and also earned nominations at the 38th Baeksang Arts Awards and the 39th Grand Bell Awards for his performance in the movie. In 2008, he starred in the comedy flick Scandal Makers, which became Korea’s highest-grossing movie of that year. In 2015, he starred in the KBS2 series The Producers.

Aside from acting, Cha Tae-hyun is also a radio DJ. He was named Best Radio DJ at the 2007 KBS Entertainment Awards for the program Mr. Radio. He was also a cast member of the KBS2 variety show 2 Days & 1 Night from 2012 to 2019. As a singer, Cha Tae-hyun released his first album Accident in 2001. In 2017, he made his directorial debut in the KBS2 drama The Best Hit, in which he also starred.

Cha Tae-hyun has been married to his high school sweetheart, pop lyricist Choi Suk-eun, since 2006. They have a son and two daughters. His father was an assistant director for special effects while his mother is a retired voice-over artist. His brother is a film producer. In 2011, Cha Tae-hyun revealed in a talk show that he has a panic disorder. The actor co-founded the talent management agency Blossom Entertainment in 2012. In 2019, Cha Tae-hyun was involved in a gambling scandal, resulting in him going into a one-year hiatus. In 2020, he made a TV comeback through the OCN action comedy drama Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation.