Raised in Tennessee as one of five children, D.J. Qualls was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease at age 14. After drastic surgery and two years of chemotherapy, the cancer went into remission.
Academically talented, he left Tennessee after high school to attend the University of London, where he studied English language and literature. He later returned to his home state and began working in local theater, appearing on stage in Nashville productions and attended Belmont University.
After he was spotted by photographers David LaChappelle and Steve Klein, Qualls also began modeling, appearing most notably in ads for Prada. The modeling job proved a positive and lucrative experience, earning him crucial exposure in addition to money.
He made his TV debut as an extra in Against the Wall, a 1994 movie and later in the TV movie Mama Flora's Family (1998), but he did not make the jump to features until he was cast a couple of years later in Road Trip. Originally auditioning for a bit part, Qualls instead landed a starring role as one of the college youths. As humorously nerdy virgin Kyle, Qualls received better reviews than the movie, establishing himself as a rising young actor.
With a strong performance under his belt, Qualls was suddenly finding work everywhere. Films like Cherry Falls (2000), The New Guy (2002), Big Trouble (2002) and Lone Star State Of Mind (2002) were soon added to his resume.
His TV appearances include Criminal Minds, Lost, Monk, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and My Name is Earl.