Bipasha Basu was born on 7 January 1979 in New Delhi to a Bengali Hindu family. She is the middle child of three daughters: she has an elder sister named Bidisha and a younger named Vijayeta. Basu's family later moved to Kolkata shortly before she entered middle school.
In an interview, Bipasha Basu has stated that she had initially planned to study medicine, but entered modelling and acting by accident. Bipasha Basu studied science till the 12th standard at Bhavan's Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir and then studied commerce at The Bhawanipur Gujarati Education Society College, an undergraduate college affiliated with the University of Calcutta. In Kolkata, she did modelling and ramp shows part-time. When she was 17, she met model Mehr Jessia in Kolkata; the latter suggested that Bipasha Basu take part in the Godrej Cinthol Supermodel contest. Bipasha Basu participated, and eventually won the contest.
After winning the Ford Godrej Cinthol contest, Bipasha Basu was flown to New York by the Ford Company, where she had a successful modelling career at the age of 17.
Bipasha Basu made her film debut in Abbas Mustan's Ajnabee, with Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol and Kareena Kapoor. She played a married woman who goes all out to woo her husband’s married friend, and eventually won the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for her performance.
Besides acting, Bipasha Basu did the video "Tu" for Sonu Nigam's album, Kismat. She also made a guest appearance in Jay Sean's music video Stolen.
In 2006, she performed an item number Beedi in the film Omkara for which Rediff noted Basu's picturisation. In 2008 Bipasha Basu starred in Race, her second collaboration with Abbas-Mustan. Co-starring Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Anil Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, the film performed well at the box office, and Basu's performance was appreciated by critics. Taran Adarsh of indiaFM described her performance as "her best work so far. She’s superb". She also received good reviews for her role in Bachna Ae Haseeno opposite Ranbir Kapoor. She completed the year by appearing in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in the song Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte.
In 2005 Bipasha Basu and John Abraham did a fitness video with Eros called Bollywood Bodies. In 2010 she has launched her own line of videos with Shemaroo under the banner BB – Love Yourself. The first release is called 'Fit and Fabulous You.
Bipasha Basu was in a relationship with actor John Abraham from 2002 to 2011. While together, the two were often referred to as a supercouple in the Indian media. She previously dated Bollywood actor Dino Morea.
In 2006, Bipasha Basu claimed to have been harassed by certain organizers of the India Day Parade in Edison, New Jersey. Bipasha Basu was initially scheduled to lead the parade on 13 August 2006. She eventually appeared on stage late, according to her, because of the harassment. She said, "I wanted to attend the parade, but I could not." She explained that she was harassed physically and mentally in the car by two people who were taking her to the parade.
In 2005 and 2007, UK magazine Eastern Eye named Bipasha Basu the "Sexiest Woman in Asia".
India: 'Elle' - June 2000; 'L'Officiel' - November 2002, 'Seventeen' - May 2004; 'Man's World' - September 2004; 'Cosmopolitan' - October 2004; 'Cine Plitz' - August 2005; 'L'Officiel' - September 2005; 'Elle' - October 2005; 'Cine Plitz' - January 2006; 'Cine Plitz' - June 2006; 'Seventeen' - July 2006; 'Upper Crust' - July/September 2006; 'Cosmopolitan' - August 2006; 'Man's World' - August 2006; 'Verve' - December 2006; 'Femina' - December 6, 2006; 'Maxim' - February 2007; 'Marie Claire' - July 2007; 'Cosmopolitan' - October 2007; 'Vogue' - October 2007; 'Femina' - October 10, 2007; 'Filmfare' - December 2007; 'FHM' - April 2008; 'Grazia' - April 2008; 'Filmfare' - May 14 2008; 'Vogue' - May 2008; 'Nirvana Woman' - Summer 2008; 'Cosmopolitan' - September 2008; 'Femina' - December 17 2008; 'Cosmopolitan' - March 2009; 'Filmfare' - April 15 2009; 'Filmfare' - June 24 2009; 'Femina' - July 15 2009; 'Harper's Bazaar' - September 2009; 'Filmfare' - October 28 2009; 'Maxim' - September 2009; 'FHM' - March 2010; 'Marie Claire' - April 2010; 'Verve' - April 2010; 'Filmfare' - June 2010; 'Vogue' - September 2010; 'Maxim' - January 2011