Leeves was born in the East of greater London in England and grew up in East Grinstead. She took ballet lessons and worked for some time as a model, until she appeared in a film for the first time: she was a topless Angel in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life .
On december 21, 1996 , she married Marshall Coben, a manager at CBS Paramount Television. They have two children, Isabella Kathryn and William Finn. Her sister Katie also lives in southernCalifornia with her two children.
Leeves began her acting career in The Benny Hill Show and had a small role in the music video for "California Girls" by David Lee Roth, but they only became somewhat known when she got a role in the sitcom Throb! .
They played regularly on the television series Murphy Brown and this resulted in her first glory years. She played the role of Audrey, the noisy girlfriend of Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud). Leeves appeared as Marla in four episodes of Seinfeld. In the same period Leeves got the role of Holly in the American version of the science fiction comedy Red Dwarf .
Starting from 1993 , she joined the cast of the television series Frasier. They portrayed the eccentric and perhaps Prophet Daphne Moon, a housekeeper/physiotherapistfrom Manchester. By this role she was popular and known. When the series drew to a close had Leeves received a nomination for an Emmy Award and she was the highest paid British actress in Hollywood.
Leeves appeared less often in movies, but she spoke in a role in the animated film James and the Giant Peach (1996) and she acted in the movies Miracle on 34th Street(1994) and Music of the Heart (1999).
In 2004 she was guest host of an episode of Have I Got News for You. When the news was announced that the BBC had sent to the USA 188 journalists to report on the presidential elections, she made the joke: "I can't believe that the BBC would spend money flying people all the way across the Atlantic just for a television programme."("Not to believe that the BBC spends money to drive people to the other side of the Atlantic to let fly, just for a television program").
Since 2010 Leeves plays one of the lead roles in the successful comedy Hot in Cleveland, in which she plays a frustrated bachelorette party. Hot in Cleveland is not broadcast in Netherlands.