Bateman was born in Rye, New York. His mother, Victoria Elizabeth, a former flight attendant for Pan Am, was English, born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His father, Kent Bateman, is an actor, writer and director of film and television, and founder of a repertory stage in Hollywood. Bateman's older sister, Justine, is known for her work on the sitcom Family Ties. Bateman also has three half-brothers. Bateman was four years old when his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, and later to California. Bateman told Best Life magazine that he and his sister supported their parents with the paychecks they earned from their television shows; he also revealed that he was managed by his father until Bateman dissolved the business relationship at the age of 20.
In 2003, Bateman was cast as Michael Bluth in the comedy series Arrested Development. Although critically acclaimed, the series never achieved high ratings and ended on February 10, 2006. The show was revived in spring 2013. Bateman won several awards for his work on the series, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy. He was also nominated in 2005 for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. New episodes of Arrested Development have been released on Netflix with the original cast, including Bateman. Bateman performed commentary on the 2004 Democratic National Convention for The Majority Report with Arrested Development co-star David Cross, and hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live on February 12, 2005. In 2006, he appeared as a guest star on the Scrubs episode "My Big Bird" as Mr. Sutton, a garbage man with a flock of vicious ostriches as pets. In 2009, Bateman became a regular voice actor for the short-lived Fox comedy series Sit Down, Shut Up. He voiced Larry Littlejunk, the gym teacher and only staff member that can teach. In 2010, Bateman and Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett created "DumbDumb Productions," a production company focusing on digital content. Their first video was "Prom Date," the first in a series of "Dirty Shorts" for Orbit. In 2012, Bateman returned to his role of Michael Bluth for the revival of Arrested Development along with the rest of the original cast. The now-Netflix sponsored series released Season 4 on its Instant Watch website on May 26, 2013. The series is expected to continue its run as well as a potential feature film. For the new fourth season, Bateman was once again nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. Bateman features in the video for Mumford and Sons song "Hopeless Wanderer".
Bateman married Amanda Anka, daughter of singer Paul Anka, in July 2001. They have two daughters: Francesca Nora (born in 2006) and Maple Sylvie (born in 2012). In late 2005, he had surgery to remove a benign polyp from his throat.