Seo Young-hee made her acting debut in the 1999 theater play Moskito. She first caught viewers’ attention when she was cast in the hit 2003 romance melodrama film The Classic. That same year, she starred in Park Chan-ok’s directorial debut Jealousy Is My Middle Name. In 2005, she joined the romance film All for Love, which won her Best New Actress at the 13th Chunsa Film Art Awards. In 2008, she played a prostitute in the action-thriller movie The Chaser, which gave her the Best Actress trophy at the 12th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. In 2009, she became part of the hit MBC sageuk Queen Seon-deok, which earned her a Golden Acting Award at the MBC Drama Awards. In 2010, she led the thriller film Bedevilled, which scored her numerous Best Actress citations, including one from the 31st Fantasporto-Oporto International Film Festival. In 2018, she returned to the small screen with a supporting role in the SBS series Secret Mother.

Seo Young-hee studied at Dongguk University. She married a non-celebrity in 2011. They have two children together.