He was born in Anaheim, California, to Carol Wilson and Peter Ventimiglia. His father is of Italian descent, and his mother has English and Scottish ancestry.
Ventimiglia's film work includes both studio and independent movies, comedy and drama. First coming of notice playing the reckless and too smart for his own good 'Jess' on WB's "Gilmore Girls", Ventimiglia moved on to NBC's "American Dreams", WB's "Bedford Diaries" (working with Tom Fontana) and finally landing back on NBC with their international phenomenon, "Heroes". Ventimiglia then appeared in TNT's "Mob City". Helmed by Frank Darabont and taking place in 1947 Los Angeles, Ventimiglia plays Ned Stax a fixer for Bugsy Seigels crime syndicate.
Behind the camera Ventimiglia and his partner at Divide Pictures Russ Cundiff are involved in traditional content having sold TV shows to NBC, SyFy and FX, and producing the independent feature TELL which Ventimiglia co-starred along side of Jason Lee and Katee Sackoff as well as STATIC, which Ventimiglia co-starred with Sarah Shahi and Sara Paxton. Ventimiglia also produced the web-series Chosen, as well as directed other digital projects for American Eagle Outfitters, Cadillac, GQ and Liberty Mutual. Divide Pictures produced two web-series - "The P.E.T. Squad" Files for CW's Seed, and "Relationship Status" for Verizon's Go90.
Ventimiglia's passion for comic books led him to produce two titles for Top Cow / Image Comics "Rest" and "Berserker"
Ventimiglia and fellow former Gilmore Girls co-star Alexis Bledel were in a relationship from December 2002 to June 2006. Ventimiglia also dated his Heroes co-star Hayden Panettiere from December 2007 to February 2009.
Ventimiglia is a lifelong lacto-vegetarian and was named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Sexiest Vegetarian in 2009. He also does not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. He is a fan of seminal British punk band The Clash, and is an avid skateboard fan.
Ventimiglia took a United Service Organization tour from July 6 to 12, 2008 in support of American troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is active on behalf of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) helping in April 2009 to launch a national public service advertisement campaign, SupportYourVet.org, which gives friends and family of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans tools to support their transition home from war.