Jul. 22nd, 1978
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
A.J. Cook's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Andrea Joy "A.J." Cook (born July 22, 1978) is a Canadian actress known for her role as Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds. She has also appeared in several Hollywood films including The Virgin Suicides, Out Cold, and Final Destination 2.
Born in Oshawa, Ontario, and spent most of her life growing up in Whitby, where she attended Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute. Her father, Mike, is a teacher, and her mother, Sandra, works as a psychiatrist. She has three siblings, Nathan, Paul, and Angela. Cook is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A dancer from age four, Cook began taking jazz, tap and ballet lessons. She danced competitively for many years, before deciding at the age of 16 that she wanted to try acting.
Cook's first job was in a McDonald's commercial in 1997. She graduated to series work with a guest role on the television series Goosebumps, and parts in two television movies, In His Father's Shoes and Elvis Meets Nixon. Cook launched her feature film career as one of five captivating suicidal sisters in 1999's The Virgin Suicides. Also that year, she took a starring role in the TV series Higher Ground, in which Cook played Shelby Merrick, a rough-around-the-edges teenage girl dealing with abuse and heartache at a wilderness school for struggling kids. Higher Ground lasted one season, ending with a romance between Shelby and Hayden Christensen's character, Scott.
After Higher Ground, Cook appeared in the 2000 TV movie The Spiral Staircase (alongside Higher Ground alum Kandyse McClure), and then captured leading roles in several films, including Out Cold (as Jason London's love interest), Ripper, I'm Reed Fish, and Final Destination 2. In 2003, Cook guest starred in Dead Like Me. She was also in season one of Tru Calling as Lindsay Walker.
Since September 2005 she has starred as Jennifer "J.J." Jareau in the CBS drama Criminal Minds. On June 14, 2010, it was announced that her contract option would not be picked up for season six as a series regular, but she did return for two episodes to wrap up her character's storyline due to thousands of letters and petitions written to the show's producers. She also returned for one episode for the departure of Paget Brewster from the series. On April 16, 2011, it was reported that she had signed to reappear for two more seasons of the show. In 2013, it was announced she was hired as a spokeswoman for Proactiv. She appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of Maxim magazine.
On August 3, 2001, Cook married her long-time boyfriend, Nathan Andersen, whom she met in a film class at Utah Valley University. She later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to be with him and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
In March 2008, it was reported that Cook and Andersen would be expecting their first child in October. Their son, Mekhai Allan Andersen (b. September 13, 2008). Cook said "He's such a good baby. I feel so lucky that he's mine. My husband and I feel very blessed!" Mekhai made a brief appearance as Henry LaMontagne in Criminal Minds in season five when Cook's character Jennifer Jareau was in a pharmacy buying children's medicine which leads to a breakthrough in the case the BAU was currently trying to solve. He reprised the role of Henry in the Criminal Minds two-hour season seven finale in 2012. Cook and Andersen are also the owners of a Yorkshire Terrier named Zara.
Cook was considered legally blind at an early age because of a severe astigmatism, but wore contacts to correct her vision. She eventually underwent surgery where a lens implant was used to correct the impairment.
Cook is best friends with actress 'Meghan Ory'.
- Her first acting job was in a McDonald's commercial in 1997
- AJ and her husband, Nathan Anderson, welcomed baby boy, Mekhai Allan Anderson, September 13, 2008. He weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz and was 20 inches long.
- Before she got into acting, she was a competitive dancer and taught dance back home in Oshawa
- Is good friends with fellow _"Higher Ground" (2000)_ (qv) cast mate, 'Jewel Staite' (qv).
- Was first "Higher Ground" cast member to know of Hayden Christensen's winning the role of Anakin Skywalker.
- Didn't begin acting until she was 17 years old
- Met her husband in film class at UVSC
- Her father, Mike, is a teacher and her mother, Sandra, works for a psychiatrist.