Jyothika was born to Chander Sadanah, a film producer, and Seema Sadanah, in Mumbai, India. She was born into a Punjabi family. Actress Nagma is her half sister. She completed her schooling in Learner’s Academy, Mumbai. She later majored in Psychology at the Mithibai College in Mumbai. She also has a sister Roshini (born Radhika) and a brother Suraj, who is working as an assistant director for Priyadarshan.
After several years of being engaged, Jyothika married actor Suriya on 11 September 2006, with whom he was paired in seven films. The couple have two children, daughter Diya (born August 10, 2007 ) and son Dev (born June 7, 2010).
Jyothika made her acting debut in the Hindi film Doli Saja Ke Rakhna with her co-star Akshaye Khanna, directed by Priyadarshan. She later ventured into the Tamil film industry. Her first role was a cameo appearance in Vaali (1999), which starred Ajith Kumar and Simran. Later that year, she starred in Poovellam Kettuppar, in which she played the love interest of the protagonist, portrayed by her future husband Suriya. A string of successful film followed, among them Kushi, Dum Dum Dum and Snegithiye. She also acted with Kamal Haasan in the same year. She was awarded the Filmfare Best Tamil Actress Award for her role in Kushi. In 2003, she starred in Dhool with Vikram, Kaakha Kaakha with Suriya and Thirumalai with Vijay, all of which did good business, Kaakha Kaakha in particular being one of the biggest hits of her career. In 2004, she acted in a double role in the critically acclaimed Perazhagan opposite Suriya. In 2005, she acted in Manmadhan opposite Silambarasan. Her most successful film till date is the Rajinikanth starrer Chandramukhi 2005 in which she essayed the title role. She also received the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for Perazhagan in 2004 and Chandramukhi in 2005. Her last films were Gautham Menon’s Pachaikili Muthucharam and the critically acclaimed Mozhi, both in 2007. Her performance in Mozhi took her very close to winning the National Film Award for Best Actress. However, she lost the award by a narrow margin at the end. Her roles in these two films, as a negative character in the former (which she played for the first time) and as a deaf and mute in the latter earned her widespread appreciation.
Jyothika entered the Telugu film industry with super hit movie Tagore, starring Chiranjeevi. Her next Telugu film was Mass (2004) written and directed by Raghava Lawrence. The film, which featured her opposite Akkineni Nagarjuna, also became a blockbuster. The film was dubbed into Tamil as Veeran and Hindi as Meri Jung — One Man Army. Most of her Tamil films were dubbed into Telugu.
Jyothika made a come back through Television ads. She appeared with Suriya for endorsing brands like Aircel and Nescafe. In 2008, she appeared in a short film Herova? Zerova?. The film was written and produced by her father–in–law Sivakumar and also starred Vijay, R. Madhavan and Suriya. Jyothika was also the brand ambassador for RmKV silk sarees and a wardrobe hub in Chennai. She appeared in Paragon Slippers ad.