Ginnifer Goodwin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Linda (Kantor), who worked at FedEx, and Tim Goodwin, who had a recording studio; Ginnifer has English (father) and Ashkenazi Jewish (mother) ancestry. Bright and talented, Ginnifer carried her love for theater and acting through her high school years. She graduated from Lausanne Collegiate School in 1996 and spent a year at Hanover before going to Boston University where she received her BFA in Acting. She went on to receive accolades in London, including receiving a Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She lived briefly in New York before moving to California, where she lives. Her first movie role was Maya in the first Comedy Central original movie Porn 'n Chicken. She then went on to shine in movies Mona Lisa Smile, Walk the Line and in the hit Disney movie Zootopia.
Ginnifer married actor Josh Dallas in 2014. Their first child, a son, was born that year.