Nesbitt was born in Broughshane in County Antrim.
He began a degree in French at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, but left early and went to London, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
One of his first acting roles was playing Fintan O'Donnell in Hear My Song.
James Nesbitt went on to play a number of important TV roles including Leo in Ballykissangel, Adam Williams in Cold Feet, Tommy Murphy in Murphy's Law and Tom Jackman and Mr Hyde in Jekyll.
Nesbitt won a Bafta nomination for his role in the film Bloody Sunday.
James Nesbitt's TV credits in 2008 include appearing in The Passion on BBC One and playing Max Raban in ITV's three-part thriller, Midnight Man.
In 2009, James Nesbitt starred as Joe Griffin in BBC Two's Five Minutes of Heaven.
Soon afterwards he played Sergeant Mike Swift in the BBC1 Iraq war drama Occupation.
In 2010 James Nebitt starred as Clem Donnelly in the BBC1 series The Deep.
In 2011, James Nesbitt was cast in the title role in ITV1's six-part medical drama series, Monroe.
His subsequent credits included The Missing and The Secret.