NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) encompasses the spectrum of fatty liver disease in insulin-resistant individuals who often display T2DM (Type 2 diabetes mellitus) and obesity. The present review highlights the pathophysiological basis and clinical evidence for a possible causal linkage between NAFLD and CVD (cardiovascular disease). The role of traditional and non-traditional CVD risk factors in the pathophysiology of NAFLD is considered in the first part of the review, with the basic science shared by atherogenesis and hepatic steatogenesis discussed in depth in the second part. In conclusion, NAFLD is not an innocent bystander, but a major player in the development and progression of CVD. NAFLD and CVD also share similar molecular mechanisms and targeted treatment strategies. On the research side, studies should focus on interventions aimed at restoring energy homoeostasis in lipotoxic tissues and at improving hepatic (micro)vascular blood supply.