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Aishwarya Rai was born in Mangalore to Krishnaraj Rai, a marine biologist, and Vrinda Rai, a writer. Her family belongs to the Bunt community of Mangalore. She has one elder brother, Aditya Rai who works in Navy and also co-produced one of Rai's movies, Dil Ka Rishta (2003).

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After she was born, her parents moved to Mumbai where she attended the Arya Vidya Mandir high school in Santa Cruz. Rai then entered Jai Hind College at Churchgate for one year, and then moved to Ruparel College in Matunga to finish her "HSC" studies. She did well in school and planned to become an architect.

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She can communicate in several languages, including Tulu, Hindi, English, Marathi and Tamil. While pursuing her studies in architecture, Rai began modeling on the side. In the 1994 Miss India contest, she won the second place (behind Sushmita Sen), and went on to win the Miss World title the same year, where she also won the Miss Photogenic award. She abandoned her studies after winning the pageant and spent one year reigning as Miss World in London. Rai then started working as a professional model and then moved on to her current profession as an actress.

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Rai has previously dated Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi. She is now married to Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan. The wedding took place on 20 April 2007.

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Rai made her acting debut in Mani Ratnam's Tamil film, Iruvar (1997) with Mohanlal, and was introduced to Bollywood in the film, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya opposite Bobby Deol, which also released that year; the film didn't do well at the box office.

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However, her third project, S. Shankar's Tamil film, Jeans (1998) was a critical and commercial success, earning her the Filmfare Best Actress Award South. She went on to appear in many Bollywood films. The film, which portrayed Rai in a dual role, took Rai two years to complete.

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A few successful films of her career include Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), which earned the actress her first Filmfare Best Actress Award and Taal (1999), which gave her another nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare; her performances in both the films were lauded. In 2000, she played a supporting role in the hit films Mohabbatein and Josh. Later that year, she starred in the Tamil film Kandukondain Kandukondain, which won her positive reviews.

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In 2002, Rai appeared alongside Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit in Sanjay Leela Bansali's lavishly produced Devdas. The film attracted overseas attention as well, receiving a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival. It was during this time that she garnered the attention of the West as an Indian actress and went on to appear in a few Hollywood projects. Devdas went on to become the highest grossing film of the year both in India and overseas, earning the actress her second Filmfare Best Actress Award.

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As her name gained popularity overseas, she was chosen by Time magazine in 2004 as one of the World's "100 Most Influential People", and appeared on the cover of Time magazine, Asia Edition (TIMEasia) in 2003. She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January. A month later she appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. She was also featured on Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment. In 2003, she acted in the critically acclaimed and commercial successful Bengali film, Chokher Bali, an adaptation of one of Rabindranath Tagore's novels by the same name.

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Rai has been a regular at the Cannes Film Festival since 2002, and was a member of the Jury at Cannes in the year 2003. In October 2004, a wax figure of Rai was put on display in London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum. The same month, her first foreign film, Bride and Prejudice released. The film was an Indian version of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice. Her next overseas venture was The Mistress of Spices. She then appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as part of a performance showcasing Indian art, on behalf of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in New Delhi. In between her overseas acting stints, she appeared in the Indian film Bunty Aur Babli in a hugely popular seven minute dance sequence for the song "Kajra Re".

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In 2005, Rai signed a three-year contract with L'Oréal, as a spokesmodel for the cosmetics company. At the end of the year 2006, she had two releases: Umrao Jaan and Dhoom 2. While the former did poorly in India, her role in the latter, which was a sequel to the 2004 hit movie Dhoom brought her great attention. The film went on to become the biggest hit of the year, and sparked a controversy for a scene containing a kiss between her and Hrithik Roshan. For her performance, she received nominations for Best Actress at a number of award ceremonies, including Filmfare.

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2007 saw the release of Mani Ratnam's Guru which premiered in Toronto. The film, based on the life of Indian businessman Dhirubhai Ambani, was critically acclaimed and did well at the box office. Her most recent film, Provoked, based on the book Circle of Light where she portrays a real life character, was released on 6 April 2007 in India and the UK. The biographical movie portrays the life of Kiranjit Ahluwalia who faced severe domestic violence. The movie won Aishwarya a lot of critical acclaim.

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At the end of April 2007, her first American film, The Last Legion released in Russia and the Netherlands and later opened in North American theaters in August 2007 disappointingly. In 2008, she starred alongside Hrithik Roshan in Ashutosh Gowariker's historical drama Jodhaa Akbar playing the role of Jodha Bai, the wife of the Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, played by Roshan; and also co-starred with husband Abhishek Bachchan and her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar Raj, playing the CEO of a major power company proposing to establish a new power plant in rural Maharashtra.

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Now Rai is back to Tamil film industry working with Rajinikanth for the movie Endhiran, directed by Shankar who earlier worked with her in Jeans, which also fetched her the first Filmfare award. She is also co-starring with the Tamil hero Vikram in a Mani Ratnam film which is also simultaneously made in Hindi with Abhishek Bachchan in the lead.She has recently signed Sanjay Leela Bhansali's next film opposite Hrithik Roshan & Vipul Shah's next film opposite Akshay Kumar.

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Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan or Aishwarya Bachchan (Birthname: Aishwarya Rai; Born 1 November 1973) is an Indian actress. Before starting her acting career, she worked as a model and gained fame after winning the Miss World contest in 1994.