Kim Hee-sun began her career as a model after winning the Fair Face Beauty Contest in 1992. She made her acting debut in the 1993 SBS series Dinosaur Teacher. In 1995, she took home the Best New Actress trophy at the KBS Drama Awards for her work in Sons of the Wind. The following year, she was named Best New Actress at the 32nd Baeksang Arts Awards for the KBS2 drama Men of the Bath House. In 1998, she starred in the SBS series Mister Q, in which she received the Daesang at the SBS Drama Awards. In 2001, she acted alongside Joo Jin-mo in the film Wanee and Junah, which earned her Best Actress nominations at the 22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards and the 38th Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2014 and 2015, she bagged back-to-back Top Excellence Award trophies at the 3rd and 4th APAN Star Awards for her performance in the KBS2’s Wonderful Season and MBC’s Angry Mom, respectively. In 2017, she led the hit JTBC series Woman of Dignity alongside Kim Sun-ah. Her work in the drama gave her the Daesang at the 2nd Asia Artist Awards. In 2020, she picked up a Top Excellence Award at the 7th APAN Star Awards for the SBS sci-fi series Alice.

Kim Hee-sun married a businessman on October 19, 2007. They welcomed their daughter on January 21, 2009.