At an early age, Fu learned to swim at a nearby river under the instruction of her father, Fu Yijun. She started gymnastics at age 5 but soon switched to diving. Fu Mingxia left home at the age of 9 to train in Beijing. She was later professionally coached by Jian Li You.
Fu won her first world champion title in 1991 at the World Swimming Championships. At age 12, she became the youngest world champion ever in any sport. In the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Fu Mingxia became China's youngest Olympic champion ever when she won the 10-meter platform gold at the age of 13. That prompted the international governing body to rule divers must turn 14 by the year of Olympic, World Championship or World Cup competition to participate. Fu also won the 10-meter platform gold in both the 1993 and 1994 World Championships and the 3-meter springboard gold in the 95 World Championships.
In 1996, when Fu was 17 years old, she captured both the 10-meter platform gold and the 3-meter springboard gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In doing so, she equalled the achievements of Germany's Ingrid Krämer in the 1960 Rome Olympics, becoming only the fourth female to capture both titles.
Fu Mingxia went to college to study economics after winning three Olympic gold medals in women's diving and then returned to the sport in 2000 to win a fourth.
Fu married Antony Leung, former Financial Secretary of Government of Hong Kong, on July 15, 2002 in Hawaii. Their marriage was not publicly revealed until July 30, 2002. They have a daughter (born February 26, 2003) and two sons (born December 12, 2004 and April 25, 2008).