Choi was born in Seoul in 1962. Choi's family has been active in acting, and singing . Choi was born as the son of Choi Moo-ryong, a popular actor of the 1960s and 1970s, and Kang Hyo-shil, an Actress. His maternal grandmother is Jeon Ok, referred to as Queen of Tears for her excellence at acting for tragic dramas. His grandfather is Kang Hong-shik, an actor, a film Director and singer active during the Japanese occupation period. Kang Hong-sik and Jeon Ok were the first married couple in Korean entertainment history. Kang went over to North Korea along with his daughter Kang Hyo-son who later became a famous Actress of North Korea. Kang Hong-shik was honored as "Merited artist" as well.
Choi graduated from Lila Elementary School, Seongdong Middle School, Dongbuk High School and Seoul Arts College. Choi debuted to the film industry in 1985 with Son of God, a film adapted from Park Bong-seong's same titled manhwa.
Choi met his wife June Elizabeth Kang from an international Miss Korea Beauty Pageant in 1993 where Kang was being represented as Miss Canada. Choi proposed to Kang after a 3-hour meeting and they were married June 18, 1994 in Seoul. They have two children, Christian (born 1996) and Benjamin (born 2001).
Choi took a voluntary leave from acting following a scandal in 2008. He was involved in an assault case in April 2008 after a street-side argument ended in violence. An elderly man saw Choi cursing at another driver and rebuked him. The situation escalated and Choi beat up the man. The actor attempted to drive away, but the man grabbed onto the hood of the car and refused to let go. Choi was let go by police when the victim declined to press charges, but the public reaction was swift and condemning. The actor apologized profusely for his behavior and swore to live in exile in the mountains, away from his wife and children, for a year.