The actor was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before moving to Morgantown, West Virginia, where he studied business management at West Virginia University. He started his Hollywood career in 2006 on the soap opera Fashion House. He joined the cast of the medical drama Trauma in 2009 and later had a recurring role on The Vampire Diaries.
In 2011, Kinney played Lady Gaga’s love interest in her “Yoü and I” music video. They started dating soon after, around the same time that he landed what would become his best-known role as Kelly Severide on Chicago Fire. He also plays the lieutenant on Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. Kinney proposed to Gaga in February 2015, but they called off their engagement in July 2016.