"I probably know him better than y'all do," Forte said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I will tell you that he is probably the opposite of what you guys portray him to be. Jay is a good guy, and he comes to work every day to work hard.
"A lot of guys get this perception of Jay as arrogant or whatever, but I think he is the opposite of that."
Cutler, who will make his playoff debut Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, had his first winning season since high school, leading the Bears to an 11-5 record.
He arrived in Chicago two seasons ago following a trade from the Denver Broncos, with expectations of being a franchise quarterback, but he struggled in 2009, throwing an NFL-high 26 interceptions for the 7-9 Bears.
Along the way, he has drawn criticism for his body language and sometimes prickly demeanor during news conferences.
Asked if the public has the wrong perception of who he really is, Cutler said: "I don't worry about it. I don't know what my public image is."
That image aside, Cutler rebounded with a solid 2010 season, passing for 3,274 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, quarterbacking a team that earned a first-round bye in the playoffs.
"I think [making the playoffs] meant a lot to him, especially having a year like he did last year," Forte said. "It's meant a lot to this whole team."