David Gibbs was born in Richmond, Virginia, the second child of John and Martha Gibbs. His father is a real estate developer in Richmond and his older brother, John, works in Neurology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. David started playing tennis at the age of 12 and became a top ranked tennis player in the state of Virginia and in his Middle Atlantic region. He attended Douglas Southall Freeman High School in Richmond and became an All-American in tennis at the high school. In 1990, he attended West Virginia University on a tennis scholarship. He was hurt most of the year and had to have foot surgery. He took an acting class that year and decided to transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1991 to play tennis for the school and study business. He continued to study acting and was in some local commercials. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994 with a degree in Business Administration.