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Andrea Joy "A.J." Cook (born July 22, 1978) is a Canadian actress best known for her role as Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds. She has also appeared in several Hollywoodmarker films including The Virgin Suicides, Out Cold, and Final Destination 2.

Early life

Cook was born in Oshawamarker, Ontariomarker and spent most of her life growing up in Whitbymarker. Her father, Mike, is a teacher and her mother, Sandra, works for a psychiatrist. She has three siblings, Nathan, Paul, and Angela. Cook is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a devout Mormon, she accepts only roles that do not conflict with her faith. . At four years of age, Cook began taking jazz, tap and ballet lessons. She danced competitively for many years, before deciding at the age of 17 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.

She currently stars as Jennifer "J.J." Jareau in the CBS drama Criminal Minds.

Personal life

In September 2001, Cook married her long-time boyfriend Nathan Anderson, whom she met in a film class at Utah Valley University (UVU). She later moved to Salt Lake Citymarker, Utahmarker to be with him and currently resides in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

In March 2008, it was reported that Cook and Anderson would be expecting their first child in October. The couple welcomed son Mekhai Allan Anderson on Saturday, September 13. Weighing in at 7 lbs, 10 oz and 20 inches long, Mekhai was born at 8:50 p.m. A.J. said "He's such a good baby. I feel so lucky that he's mine. My husband and I feel very blessed!"


Year Film Role
1997 Laserhawk Pretty Girl #1
1997 In His Father's Shoes Lisa
1998 Elvis Meets Nixon Hippie Chick
1999 The Virgin Suicides Mary Lisbon
1999 Teen Sorcery Dawn
1999 Blue Moon Alison
2000 The Spiral Staircase Local Girl
2001 Out Cold Jenny
2001 Wishmaster 3: Beyond Gates Of Hell Diana Collins
2001 Ripper: Letter from Hell Molly Keller
2002 The House Next Door Lori Peterson
2003 Final Destination 2 Kimberly Corman
2005 Bloodsuckers Fiona Kennedy
2007 Night Skies Lily
2007 I'm Reed Fish Theresa
2009 Misconceptions Miranda Bliss
2010 Mother's Day Vicky Rice


Year Show Role
1997 Goosebumps Kim
1998 PSI Factor Lee Mason
2000 First Wave Lindsay Tilden
2000 Higher Ground Shelby Merrick
2003 Dead Like Me Charlotte
2003–2004 Tru Calling Lindsay Walker
2005– Criminal Minds Jennifer "JJ" Jareau
2006 Vanished Hope


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