Park Gyu-ri was born on May 21, 1988, in Seoul, South Korea. She became a child actress with her first television appearance in the 1995 series Today is a Nice Day, in which she played the girlfriend of Kang Ho-dong's brother. In 2001, she appeared as the teenage version of Kim Jung-eun's character in Ladies of the Palace.
Gyuri debuted as part of the four-member girl group Kara on March 29, 2007. As the leader of the group, she came up with its name, which comes from the Greek word chara (χαρά, lit. "joy"). The group underwent a number of lineup changes, but gained commercial success.
In 2009, Gyuri became a permanent guest on the reality television show Star Golden Bell.
She featured in a duet with Hong Kyung-min titled "Day After" on his tenth album Special Edition, released on February 4, 2010. On April 21 that year, it was announced that Gyuri would become a radio DJ alongside Shindong on the MBC talk show ShimShimTapa after Kim Shin-young left. Their first broadcast aired on May 6, 2010. On September 26, 2011, Park announced that she would no longer DJ the show due to her busy schedule. Her last broadcast was on October 2, 2011.
On January 19, 2011, Gyuri was the only member of Kara to remain with their label DSP Media during a contract dispute in which the other members released a statement announcing they were terminating their contract with their label. The contract dispute was later resolved.
Gyuri was the voice of Kate in the Korean dub of Alpha and Omega, released in February 2011. On May 7, she gave a lecture on her career in the entertainment industry at Seo Woon High School in Incheon, and on July 13, she hosted the "Music Bank in Tokyo K-Pop Festival". On July 15, she joined the cast of 200 Pounds Beauty Musical, which was shown in Japanese theaters. In November, she was diagnosed with vocal fold nodules, but nevertheless continued to rehearse for the musical. She also hosted the "Seoul-Tokyo Music Festival 2011" on November 9. The musical ran for six performances in Korea from December 6-17. According to the show's production company, Show Note, the musical brought in significantly higher numbers of male audience members than average. Following the musical's successful run, Gyuri underwent vocal cord surgery on February 21, 2012.
In 2012, she co-hosted the 26th Golden Disc Awards at the Osaka Dome in Japan. On February 23, 2013, she hosted the Yang Yang K-Pop Festival at Naksan Beach. On June 2, she hosted SGC Super Live 2013 in Tokyo.
On January 15, 2016, her contract with DSP Media expired. However, she stated that Kara had not disbanded even though its members were now under separate agencies, and that they hoped to collaborate on an album when the opportunity arose in the future.