Tara Donna Reid was born and raised in Wyckoff, New Jersey, the daughter of Donna Reid (née Bennett) and Thomas Reid (1940-2016), both of whom were teachers and day-care center owners. Her father also worked on Wall Street. She is of Irish, Italian, French, Hungarian and English descent. She attended St. Elizabeth's Catholic Elementary, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, Ramapo High School, John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, and graduated from Barnstable Academy, an alternative high school. She also attended Professional Children's School, in Manhattan, along with fellow actors Christina Ricci, Jerry O'Connell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Macaulay Culkin. Reid has twin younger siblings, Colleen and Patrick, and another brother, Tom.
Reid began acting at age six, becoming a regular on the game show Child's Play, and appeared in over 100 commercials for corporations including Jell-O, McDonald's, Crayola and Milton Bradley. As a teenager, she was on Saved by the Bell: The New Class.
After moving to Hollywood in 1997, Reid transitioned to movies, landing her breakout role in 1998's The Big Lebowski. Though the film disappointed at the box office, grossing only $17 million in the US, it has gone on to become a cult classic. Later that same year she appeared in a pair of more financially successful films, Cruel Intentions and Urban Legend, each of which grossed just under $40 million in the US and led to two sequels each, though none included Reid. Reid found her first taste of real mainstream success when she portrayed the role of the virginal Vickie in American Pie (1999), which grossed over $100 million in US. The film also marked her first film to reach #1 at the box office. In 2001, she reprised the role in American Pie 2, which opened to $45 million and grossed over $145 million in the US, almost 50% more than its predecessor. Reid did not return for American Wedding (2003), but did reprise the character in the fourth theatrical film in the series, American Reunion (2012).
Following the success of American Pie 2, Reid starred in a number of commercial and critical misfires including Josie and the Pussycats and Van Wilder. She also starred as the youngest daughter of a Texas gynecologist in Robert Altman's Dr. T & the Women, alongside Richard Gere. She returned to the small screen as a recurring character on the NBC sitcom, Scrubs, appearing in 11 episodes of season three. Shortly thereafter, Reid appeared alongside Ashton Kutcher in My Boss's Daughter, for which she was nominated for both Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Screen Couple at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards.
In 2005, she co-starred in infamous German filmmaker Uwe Boll's Alone in the Dark with Christian Slater. Her mispronunciation of "Newfoundland" became a popular internet catchphrase. The film was panned by critics and Reid received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. Reid signed on to host the E!'s Wild On Tara Reid (later renamed Taradise), a program that showcased high-society vacations and hot spots. The show premiered on August 10, 2005, but it was canceled in September, with Ted Harbert, E! Network's president, saying it was "incredibly difficult to produce with someone well-known."
In January 2007, Reid filmed a commercial with Daniel Conn for Dodo, an Australian budget telephone and Internet service provider. Between 2007 and 2008, she starred in a number of direct-to-video films, including 7-10 Split/Strike, If I Had Known I Was a Genius (which was released at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), and Clean Break/Unnatural Causes. She also played the main character in the made-for-television horror film Vipers. In 2010, she landed the role of Bonnie in the thriller film The Fields, which was released in 2011.
Reid posed nude in a pictorial in the January/February 2010 issue of Playboy,. In March 2011, she filmed a Funny or Die spoof trailer for The Big Lebowski 2.
On August 18, 2011, Reid was the second housemate to enter the British reality series Celebrity Big Brother 8. On September 2, she received the fewest votes and became the third celebrity to be evicted from the house. In September 2011, Reid announced via her official Twitter page that she was to appear in Jedward's new music video for "Wow Oh Wow", which they started shooting in late October of the same year. In 2014, she appeared in their music video for "Ferocious".
In 2013, she appeared in the hit Syfy film Sharknado which has since spawned four additional sequels in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Recent and upcoming projects include comedy spoof The Hungover Games, horror film Charlie's Farm, the Bollywood film Tie the Knot and the TV series The Big Big Show with Andrew Dice Clay, and Tom Green.
In 2007, Reid had shares in three restaurants (Bella, Geisha House and The Shore) and had opened up a fast food restaurant based in Los Angeles called Ketchup.
Reid also has designed a clothing line with Ed Hardy designer Christian Audigier, entitled "Mantra," that hit high-end department stores in 2009.
In 2014, she experienced a resurgence in her career, landing her many new endorsements and new business ventures. That year, she released her own perfume called "Shark by Tara" which was inspired by her hit film franchise Sharknado in addition to setting up a new swimwear line.
In March 2000, Reid met Carson Daly on the set of Total Request Live and they began dating. They shared an apartment in New York City and Daly proposed on October 29. In June 2001, Reid and Daly broke off their engagement.
In October 2006, Reid acknowledged in an interview with Us Weekly that she had liposculpting. In the interview, she discusses how her plastic surgery "went wrong" and also explains why she decided to have plastic surgery done, saying that her breasts were uneven and that she wanted a "six pack" for a new movie role. The liposuction resulted in deformity. In the same interview, Reid's new plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven Svehlak, reported that he performed a procedure called a "doughnut mastopexy" to correct her original augmentation, and performed additional liposuction in hopes to even out her stomach.
On January 18, 2010, Reid's boyfriend Michael Axtmann, an internet entrepreneur from Nuremberg, proposed to her at The Little Door restaurant in Los Angeles. The couple had reportedly planned an intimate ceremony for summer 2010. However, on April 20, it was reported that the wedding had been called off and her relationship with Axtmann had ended, with a representative stating: "Tara Reid has confirmed that she will not be moving forward with her May 22 nuptials."
Later that year in November, she started dating Danish businessman Michael Lillelund. According to People magazine, on August 14, 2011, Reid's spokesman reported that she and Lillelund were married the day before in Greece. However, Lillelund denied it, stating he had not been in contact with Reid since February.
In August 2011, Reid publicized that she had married Bulgarian financier Zachary Kehayov, then in October of that year she announced that they were not legally married.
She dated Infected Mushroom Israeli musician Erez Eisen from 2013 to 2014.
In 2016, she and actor Dean May participated in Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, but they were rejected when it was revealed they were not in a relationship.