Gong Yoo began his entertainment career as a video jockey before making his acting debut in the KBS2 teen series School 4. In 2003, he won the New Star Award at the 11th SBS Drama Awards for his work in SBS drama Series. In 2006, he led the MBC romantic melodrama One Fine Day, which earned him a Special Award at the 25th MBC Drama Awards. In 2007, he became a bonafide Hallyu star with the success of MBC romantic comedy Coffee Prince, which he co-starred with Yoon Eun-hye. His work in the series earned him an Excellence Award at the 26th MBC Drama Awards. In 2011, he scored two Best Actor nominations for the film The Silenced. In 2016, he was paired with Jeon Do-yeon in the movie A Man and a Woman, which gave him the Daesang at the 5th Korea Film Actors Association Awards. That same year, he headlined the smash hit zombie movie Train to Busan, in which he scored numerous Best Actor nominations. In 2017, he was named Best Actor at the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards for the top-rating tvN fantasy series The Lonely Shining Goblin.

Gong Yoo’s stage name is a combination of his parents’ last names—Gong from his father and Yoo from his mother. It was also revealed in 2017 that he is a descendant of Confucius.