Christine Diane Teigen was born on November 30, 1985, in Delta, Utah. Her mother, Vilailuck, is from Thailand, while her father, Ron, is an American of Norwegian descent. Her surname is usually pronounced /ˈtaɪɡən/; despite this, she stated that she prefers the pronunciation /ˈtiːɡən/. After she was born, she and her family relocated to Snohomish, Washington, where her parents ran a tavern.
When Teigen was 15, her father relocated them to Huntington Beach, California, after her mother returned to Thailand. During this time, she worked at a surf shop, where she landed a modeling campaign with clothing company Billabong through the shop’s clients, and was discovered by a photographer. In her early modeling career, Teigen lived in Miami, Florida, “for four years, six months out of the year”.
She made her professional modeling debut in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2010 and later appeared on the 50th anniversary cover alongside Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge in 2014. She formerly appeared as a panelist on the syndicated daytime talk show FABLife (2015–2016). She co-hosted the musical competition series Lip Sync Battle (2015–2019) with LL Cool J and was a judge on the comedy competition series Bring the Funny (2019). Teigen has also authored two cookbooks.