Tatlıtuğ was born on 27 October 1983, in Adana, to Erdem and Nurten Tatlıtuğ. He has four siblings. The name Kıvanç means "pride" in Turkish and Tatlıtuğ is a portmanteau of the Turkish words tatlı (sweet) and tuğ (a coat of arms of Old Turkic symbology). Tatlıtuğ's paternal grandmother was an immigrant from Bosnia and Herzegovina. His mother is from Edirne and his dad is from Adana. He has said that he was born and raised in Adana and that his family has had a bakery business in the city for more than a hundred years. He studied at Yenice Çağ Private High School where he excelled in basketball. Due his Tatlıtuğ's father's illness, the family moved to Istanbul so that his father could receive proper treatment. In Istanbul, he joined Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe Ülker sports clubs as an amateur basketball player.
Kıvanç hosted some pageants and shows. A turning point in Tatlıtuğ's career was when he starred in Gümüş as the character Mehmet Şadoğlu. He acted in the comedy film Americans at the Black Sea which was directed by Kartal Tibet. He has also starred in other shows such as Menekşe ile Halil where he played alongside of Sedef Avcı. In the series Aşk-ı Memnu, Kıvanç shared the leading role with Beren Saat. He won the Golden Butterfly Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Aşk-ı Memnu. Kıvanç dated Miss World 2002 titleholder Azra Akın from 2005 to 2009 and actress Meltem Cumbul from early 2009 to August 2009. He dated İdil Fırat, the daughter of millionaire Önder Fırat; however, they broke up. Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ returned to his ex-girlfriend Azra Akın in 2011, on January 2013 they both took a decision of a final break-up after they got tired of an 11 year old on-off relationship. He provided the voice of Ken for the Turkish dubbed version of Toy Story 3. Since 2011, he has portrayed Kuzey Tekinoğlu in the Kanal D drama seriesKuzey Güney which ended in June 2013 . Tatlıtuğ played the poet Muzaffer Tayyip Uslu in the drama film Kelebeğin Rüyası.