He attended University of Miami as a music major on a scholarship; after dropping out, he began acting in New York.
His band Ben Folds Five temporarily broke up so he started doing solo work; Ben Folds Five reunited in 2011.
He married Anna Goodman in 1987, Kate Rosen in 1996, Frally Hynes in 1998, and Fleur Folds in 2007. He and Fleur split up in 2011. He has a son named Louis and two daughters named Julia-Rose and Gracie.
He collaborated on william Shatner's album Has Been.