Donovan was born in Malvern, Melbourne, where he attended De La Salle College. He is the son of actor Terence Donovan and former newsreader Sue McIntosh. The youngest of his three maternal half-sisters is actress-singer Stephanie McIntosh.
Donovan became famous when he played Scott Robinson in Neighbours from 1986-1989. He was a contestant in the 2006 series of I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! and in the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing. He hosts a show on Heart Network Radio in the UK on Sunday afternoons.