Lee studied up to form 5 in Sekolah Menangah Seri Kota, Air Leleh, Malacca, Malaysia. He was an active student in school, serving as a prefect and representing his school in rugby competitions. He has an older sister and two younger brothers, the youngest being Frederick Lee Meng Chong, who is also an actor and model in Malaysia.
Lee joined TCS (later MediaCorp) on a contract in 1995 after emerging as 1st runner-up in the male category of the Star Search programme in 1995. He worked as a model before becoming an actor. Lee first started acting in Chinese-language television dramas produced by Channel 8.
Apart from acting, Lee also recorded the theme songs of MediaCorp's television dramas. He released his first solo album in 1999 and another one in 2002.
At the 2010 Star Awards, Lee was awarded the coveted "All-Time Favourite Artiste Award" with long-time colleague Mark Lee after being voted the Top 10 Favourite Male Artistes for ten years in a row. He became the first non-Singaporean artiste to win the award. More recently, Lee has also ventured into hosting and has hosted several travel and food programmes. He was nominated for the Best Info-Ed Show Host award at the Star Awards 2012.
On 8 October 2006, Lee was involved in a hit-and-run road accident. He had allegedly knocked down a motorcyclist due to suspected drunk driving, causing the motorcyclist and his pillion rider to suffer superficial injuries on their faces and legs. He was arrested and released later on bail.
Despite the incident, Lee managed to win a position among the Top 10 Male Artistes in the Star Awards 2006. In his acceptance speech, Lee said in Mandarin that he had been feeling terrible over the incident during the previous two months, and that he would be responsible for what he did. Speaking to reporters later, he mentioned that he had been unable to sleep at times, adding that he was very grateful to his fans for their support.
On 10 May 2007, Lee was fined S$4,500 and disqualified from driving for three years on charges of drunk driving and other traffic offences, as well as being sentenced to a prison term of four weeks. Lee appealed against his jail sentence but withdrew his appeal later on 28 May. He began serving his sentence at Queenstown Remand Prison on the same day. On 15 June, the prosecution succeeded in appealing against Lee's four-week jail sentence and the court decided to overturn an earlier sentence of a S$3,000 fine for his drunk driving offence. Lee was sentenced to an additional two weeks in prison, making his total prison term six weeks long. On 21 June, the prosecution dropped the last of five charges against Lee for failing to stop after an accident, letting him off with a stern warning instead. Lee was released on 25 June, after receiving a reduction in his prison sentence due to good behavior.
Due to his conviction, Lee was dropped from playing the lead role in the 2007 Channel 8 television series Metamorphosis. He was replaced by actor Thomas Ong.
On 12 July 2007, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) completed its review on Lee's case and decided to allow him to retain his Singapore Permanent Resident status. However, Lee will be under close observation and the ICA would revoke its decision if Lee violates the law again. After the conviction, he made his comeback in the 2008 television drama Rhythm of Life.