Meloni attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he first became interested in acting. After graduation, he took a construction job in his hometown until a high school acquaintance inspired him to move to New York to study acting.
It was there that Meloni apprenticed at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and got his first big break as the lead in the NBC comedy The Fanelli Boys. Since then, he is most recognized as Chris Keller in Oz and Elliot Stabler in Law and Order: SVU.
Meloni lives with his wife, Sherman Williams, their daughter, Sophie [born 23 March 2001] and son, Dante [born January 2 2004]. Both children were born by a surrogate mother.
Before acting, Meloni worked as a bouncer, a bartender, and a personal trainer.