She has a younger brother. Her first language is Spanish, and she did not learn English until she began school. Bledel's mother encouraged her to try community theater when she was a child to overcome her shyness.
Bledel made her TV debut on The WB series Gilmore Girls in 2000. She portrayed Rory Gilmore, the daughter of single mother Lorelai Gilmore. Initially, Rory was a high school student living with her mother, but later moved on to college at Yale University, where she, among other things, worked as the editor of the Yale Daily News. She made her film debut in Tuck Everlasting, released in 2002, though she had worked as an extra in the 1998 film Rushmore.