Gong Li was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, the youngest in a family of five children. Her father was a professor of economics and her mother, who was 40 when Gong was born, was a teacher. Gong grew up in Jinan, the capital of Shandong.
In 1996, news began circulating that Gong had married the Singaporean tobacco tycoon, Ooi Hoe Soeng (黄和祥). They were married in November 1996 at Hong Kong's China Club.
Gong Li applied for Singapore citizenship in early 2008. When overseas professional obligations prevented her from showing up at her scheduled August citizenship ceremony, she was harshly criticized for not making it a priority. On Saturday, 8 November 2008, Gong, in an effort to make amends, attended a citizenship ceremony held at Teck Ghee Community Club and received her Singapore citizenship certificate from Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah.
On 28 June 2010, the chief editor of Chinese entertainment magazine "Southern Entertainment Magazine" revealed that Gong's agent confirmed that Gong Li and her husband had divorced.