Lee Dong-gun debuted in the entertainment industry as a singer, releasing his first album called Time to Fly in 1998. In 1999, he made his acting debut in the KBS2 series Ad Madness. In 2004, he starred in the KBS2 romantic comedy series Sweet 18, opposite Han Ji-hye. He was nominated for an Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards for his work in the series. Also in 2004, he starred in the hit SBS dramas Lovers in Paris and Stained Glass, which scored him acting awards and nominations at the SBS Drama Awards. In 2005, he was named Most Popular Actor for Film at the 41st Baeksang Arts Awards for My Boyfriend Is Type B. In 2008, he released his first full-length album in a decade titled My Biography. That same year, he appeared in MBC’s When Night Comes, in which he took home an Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards. In 2016 and 2017, he received back-to-back Excellence Award trophies at the KBS Drama Awards for Laurel Tree Tailors and Seven Day Queen, respectively.

Lee Dong-gun’s 19-year-old brother, who was a student at the University of Sydney, was fatally stabbed in a brawl on March 20, 2008 in Sydney. He enlisted for his mandatory military service in June 2010 and was discharged in March 2012. He registered his marriage with his Laurel Tree Tailors co-star Jo Yoon-hee on May 2, 2017. They held a private wedding ceremony in September 2017 and welcomed their daughter on December 14 of the same year. They divorced after three years due to irreconcilable differences.