Diane Kruger was born as Diane Heidkrüger in Algermissen, Germany. She is the daughter of bank employee Maria-Theresa and computer specialist Hans-Heinrich Heidkrüger. She was raised Roman Catholic and attended a Catholic school. She was raised with her younger brother, Stefan. Her mother sent her to student exchange programs when she was a teenager to improve her English. As a child, Kruger wanted to become a ballerina and successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School in London. However, after an injury ended her ballet career prematurely, Kruger moved to Paris and turned her energy toward modeling.
Kruger soon became interested in acting and took lessons at the Cours Florent. She landed some small appearances in several French films.
She made her onscreen debut in 2002 opposite Dennis Hopper and Christopher Lambert in The Piano Player, a TV-movie. Her first major role was the same year when she starred in her then husband's directorial debut Mon Idole. She played Julie Wood in 2003's Michel Valliant and Lisa in Wicker Park (2004), alongside Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne. One of her most notable roles to date is her portrayal of Helen of Sparta in Wolfgang Petersen's epic Troy.
She was ranked Number 50 on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2005.
In 2004, Kruger starred with Nicolas Cage and Sean Bean (who co-starred with her in Troy) in the popular film National Treasure, going on to appear in movies such as Joyeux Noël (2005) and Copying Beethoven (2006). She reprised her role as Dr. Abigail Chase in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, released in December 2007.
Kruger was the hostess of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2009, she co-starred as a German actress turned saboteur in Quentin Tarantino's film Inglourious B*******. Kruger stars in 2010 in the Liam Neeson film Unknown alongside January Jones.
In December 2009, she announced the nominations of the 67th Golden Globe Awards and also picked up nominations from the Screen Actors Guild for Best Supporting Actress and Outstanding Performance by a Cast of a Motion Picture for her role in Inglourious B*******.
Kruger made a cameo appearance in an April 2010 episode of the Fox show Fringe, in which her boyfriend, actor Joshua Jackson is a star.
In 2010 Kruger also appeared in Mark Ronson's Music video for Somebody to Love Me where she plays Boy George.