Smulders was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a Dutch father and an English mother.
She was named after her great-aunt, Jacoba, from which she gained the nickname "Cobie".As a child, Smulders wanted to be either a doctor or a marine biologist, but started to gain an interest in acting in high school, appearing in several school productions. She finished high school in 2000 at Lord Byng Secondary School with high honours, being voted "Most Respected".
Discovered by a modelling agency in her teens, she started to model internationally. In an interview with Venus Zine, Smulders said she "kind of hated" modelling and the experience made her hesitant about pursuing acting as a career initially: "You know you go into these rooms, and I've had the experience of people judging you physically for so long and I was over that. But then it was like, 'Oh no, I have to actually perform. I have to do well, and I have to have a voice, and I have to have thoughts now.'"
"I just tried not to fall apart in front of Robert Downey, Jr. I had one line to him that I was like, 'I don't know how I'm going to say it but I'm going to move my mouth and breathe out at the same time and hopefully form a sentence.' I've watched him throughout his career; 'Less Than Zero' was one of my favourite films. It was sort of like a 'Godfather' thing and he was also extremely handsome and he was also extremely intelligent and highly charismatic, so it was a deadly combination." Cobie Smulders.
Smulders' first role was as a guest in the Showtime science-fiction series Jeremiah, and she has appeared in several television series since, including a recurring part in The L Word. Off-Broadway, she has performed in Love, Loss, and What I Wore.Her first permanent series role was in the short-lived ABC series Veritas: The Quest; her second was the series for which she is most well-known, the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, where she plays television reporter Robin Scherbatsky, also a Canadian. Joss Whedon has suggested that he considered her for the role of Wonder Woman in his draft of the (cancelled) eponymous film.Smulders plays Maria Hill in Whedon's 2012 film The Avengers, based on the Marvel Comics
Personal Smulders resides in Los Angeles, California.On January 28, 2009, Smulders and actor Taran Killam announced their engagement.Their daughter Shaelyn Cado Killam was born on May 14, 2009.Smulders is an avid Vancouver Canucks fan.In December 2010 she was on the cover of Maxim Magazine.