Gonzalez was born in San Antonio, Texas, where he was a student at Central Catholic High School. He became an accomplished cross-country and track runner, winning the Texas State Championship in the mile and two mile. After graduating in 1994 and turning down a presidential appointment to West Point, Nicholas pursued an English degree at Stanford University in California.
His interest and love of literature, history, and poetry led him to two terms at Oxford University in England. The following summer, he returned to Europe on a research grant where he studied with scholars at Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin to complete his thesis on James Joyce’s Ulysses.
While finishing his Bachelor of Arts in English in 1998, Nicholas was approached to do a one-man theatre piece called Gas by María Irene Fornés.
Alma Martinez, an actress and Stanford professor, encouraged him to become a professional actor. With her help, he connected with the theatrical movement in San Francisco. He polished his skills by performing in classic and contemporary theatre. “I’m happy when I’m on stage,” he declares.
Gonzalez is of Mexican descent.
In 1998, Gonzalez moved to Los Angeles, where he quickly landed small parts in television series such as ABC’s Dharma and Greg and NBC’s One World.
Gonzalez then appeared as Fidel Castro’s son in the Lifetime Original Movie, My Little Assassin, starring Joe Mantegna and Gabrielle Anwar. But it was his role as Andy, the gay yuppie on MTV’s Undressed that first garnered widespread attention. For six nights he wowed viewers, and those episodes became the most requested in the series’ history.
Gonzalez wrapped production of two films in 2000. The first, Scenes of the Crime, premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. It starred Jeff Bridges, Jon Abrahams, and Noah Wyle. It was directed by Dominique Forma. The second film was an independent project titled Spun, starring Mena Suvari, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, and John Leguizamo. It played at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.
Gonzalez’s most well-known role also came his way in 2000, when he landed the lead in Showtime’s original series, Resurrection Blvd., which premiered June 26, 2000. Gonzalez played Alex Santiago, a pre-med student who dropped out of school in order to become a professional boxer. The movie was successful and immediately expanded to become a regular weekly series on the network.
While continuing his work on Resurrection Blvd, Gonzalez appeared in episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger and That '70s Show. He also appeared in the film The Princess and the Barrio Boy (released as She’s in Love in Europe) with his Resurrection Blvd.co-star, Marisol Nichols.
Gonzalez continued his career in films with two more titles. The first, Sea of Dreams, was filmed in Veracruz, Mexico, in May, 2003. Nick then headed off to Fiji for the summer, where he completed production of Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, which opened in theaters August 27, 2004. Gonzalez also appeared in Melrose Place (2009). In 2011 he played Mateo on the ABC show Off The Map.
Gonzalez costarred in the Lifetime series Witches of East End.
Gonzalez also provided the physical Performance (motion capture) of Nick Mendoza in the video game Battlefield: Hardline.
Gonzalez currently appears as Detective Marco Furey in Freeform's series Pretty Little Liars as a recurring guest.
Gonzalez enjoys playing golf, video games, poker (finished 2nd at the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational in 2009) and working out. He is an avid reader, consuming as many as eight books a week. He also volunteers with organizations such as the National Hispanic Institute and The Friends of El Faro. He was romantically involved with American actress Regina King in 2007. Gonzalez is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. He posed for PETA's campaign "If you wouldn't wear your dog, please don't wear fur" advertisement.
Nicholas married his longtime girlfriend Kelsey Crane on Saturday, April 16, 2016.