Priyanka was born on July 18, 1982, in the Chopra family consisting of her dad, Dr. Ashok and mom, Dr. Madhu (nee Akhauri), and has one younger brother. Her dad is Punjabi-speaking, while her mom is from Bihar. As a child, she suffered from Asthma and was very close to her dad. Her family affectionately called her Mimi.
While she was born in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, she also spent her childhood in Bareilly, in Uttar Pradesh as well as in Lucknow, where she was enrolled in the La Martiniere Girls' School. These frequent re-locations took place as Ashok was a doctor in the Indian Army. She subsequently re-located to the U.S. where she studied in Newton's Newton North High School and then in Cedar Rapid's John F. Kennedy High School in Massachusetts and Iowa respectively.
In 2000 she returned to India and enrolled in Jai Hind College and Basant Singh Institute of Science in Churchgate, Bombay, but had to leave abruptly as she was crowned Miss India. She was subsequently crowned Miss World in the same year - a year which proved to be a year for Indian Beauty Queens - as Lara Dutta and Dia Mirza were also crowned Miss Universe and Miss Asia Pacific respectively. Ironically, beauty pageants are banned in India's conservative state, Uttar Pradesh.
After completing her responsibilities as a Beauty Queen, she first appeared on the tinsel screen in India in a Tamil movie 'Thamizhan'.
She made her debut in Bollywood with 'The Hero' in 2002, and then went on to act in over 28 movies, as well as lent her voice as a playback singer in 'Barsaat (2005)'. She has won 11 awards to date for her performance in 'Andaaz', 'Aitraaz', 'The Hero', 'Mujhse Shaadi Karogi', & 'Krrish'.
As of June 2007, she is involved in the filming of 'Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam', 'Kajri', 'Drona', 'London Dreams', 'Qurbani', 'Chamki Chameli', 'Love Story 2050' amongst others.