Deepika Padukone was born on 5 January 1986 in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Konkani-speaking parents. Her father, Prakash, is a former badminton player of international repute, and her mother, Ujjala, is a travel agent. Her younger sister, Anisha, is a golfer. Her paternal grandfather, Ramesh, was a secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. The family relocated to Bangalore, India, when Padukone was a year old. She was educated at Bangalore’s Sophia High School, and completed her pre-university education at Mount Carmel College. She subsequently enrolled at the Indira Gandhi National Open University for a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, but later quit it due to scheduling conflicts with her modelling career.
Padukone has admitted to being socially awkward as a child, and did not have many friends. The focus of her life was badminton, which she played competitively from a young age. Describing her daily routine in a 2012 interview, Padukone said, “I would wake up at five in the morning, go for physical training, go to school, again go for playing badminton, finish my homework and go to sleep.”Padukone continued to pursue a career in badminton throughout her school years, and played the sport in national level championships. She also played baseball in a few state level tournaments. While concentrating on her education and sporting career, Padukone also worked as a child model, first appearing in a couple of advertising campaigns at the age of eight. In the tenth grade, she changed focus and decided to become a fashion model. She later explained, “I realised that I was playing the game only because it ran in the family. So, I asked my father if I could give up the game and he wasn’t upset at all.” In 2004, she began a full-time career as a model under the tutelage of Prasad Bidapa.
Early in her career, Padukone gained recognition with a television commercial for the soap Liril, and modelled for various other brands and products.