Matthew was born on March 9, 1980, to John Gubler, an attorney, and Marilyn Kelch Gubler, a rancher, political consultant and a former chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party. He was raised in a quiet neighborhood near Bob Baskin Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. From the day he was born, his parents knew he was a special child. As a teenager, Matthew attended the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts High School followed by a four-year class at Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts with a major in drama. After he graduated from the Academy in 1998, he began studying at the University of California in Santa Cruz. Two years later, Matthew left California and moved to New York where he enrolled at the Tisch School of the Arts and graduated in 2002.
While in Manhattan, he walked the runways for some of the biggest fashion designers, such as Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger and Sisley. Barbara Pfister, a fashion designer for Vanity Fair and other popular fashion magazines, discovered him and later cast him for a Royal Tenenbaums-type family layout for Kate Spade that ran in fashion magazines in the fall that same year. Matthew was interning for Wes Anderson at the same time as the modeling gig, and Wes encouraged him to audition for a part in his movie, The Life Aquatic. He was cast as Intern #1 (later named Nico the Intern).
While Filming The Life Aquatic, Matthew made the mini-documentary Matthew Gray Gubler's Life Aquatic Intern Journal, which was a behind-the-scenes look at the movie. Several amateur critics claimed the documentary was better then the movie itself. In 2003, Matthew returned to his alma mater, Las Vegas Academy, for the school's 10th anniversary and spoke to the student assembly. Matthew also made two other short films: The Cactus That Looked Just Like a Man (2005) and Claude: A Symphony of Horror (2005). He directed five documentaries and videos, in 2007 During Criminal Minds' first summer hiatus, Matthew wrote his first children's book as well as star in the live action movie Alvin and the Chipmunks and again in 2009's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Sqweakuel in which he was the voice of Simon in both movies. Matthew is best known for his role as the young genius, Dr. Spencer Reid, in the CBS TV show, Criminal Minds. He also directed one episode of the show in 2010.