Who is A. J. Cook? Everything You Need To Know

A. J. Cook

A.J. Cook, a Hollywood actress originally from Canada, gained widespread recognition for her role as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau in the popular television series Criminal Minds. Here’s a comprehensive overview of this multifaceted actress.

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Andrea Joy Cook made her debut as a professional actress in 2007, marking the beginning of a prolific career that has seen her grace the screens in over 30 TV and film productions.

A. J. Cook’s Profile Summary
NameAndrea Joy Cook
BirthdateJuly 22, 1978
Place of BirthOshawa, Ontario
Age42 years (as of 2020)
Zodiac SignCancer
SpouseNathan Andersen
OccupationActress, Former dancer
Net Worth$5 million
A. J. Cook’s Biography

Cook was born in Oshawa, Ontario, and her formative years were predominantly spent in the nearby town of Whitby. She pursued her education at Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute. Within her family, she has three siblings, namely Nathan, Paul, and Angela.

During her early years in school, Cook faced a significant challenge as she was declared legally blind in the second grade due to severe astigmatism. To correct her vision, she relied on contacts and thick glasses, often described as “Coke bottle” glasses. She recollected her childhood, describing how her impaired vision made everything appear as a blur of colors without distinct shapes.

Consequently, she struggled academically, leading to concerns that she had a learning disability because she couldn’t read. In reality, her visual impairment made it difficult to see the board and recognize letters and their sounds. Fortunately, in 2007, she underwent a surgical lens implant that rectified her vision impairment.

From the age of four, Cook immersed herself in the world of dance, engaging in jazz, tap, and ballet lessons. Dance became her passion and a means of staying engaged without the need for reading or recitation. She pursued competitive dance for several years, but at the age of 16, she decided to explore acting. Cook also shared her knowledge by teaching dance during her younger years and expressed that if she hadn’t pursued acting, she might have established a small dance studio. In interviews, she mentioned her continued enjoyment of tap dancing.

Educational Background

She enrolled at Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute for her secondary education. Additionally, she pursued acting classes at Utah Valley State College, which was previously known as Utah Valley University.

A. J. Cook’s Career

Cook’s career journey began with her first job in a McDonald’s commercial back in 1997. From there, she gradually transitioned into the world of series work, starting with a guest role in the television series “Goosebumps” and appearances in two television movies, “In His Father’s Shoes” and “Elvis Meets Nixon.” Her venture into feature films commenced with her portrayal of one of the five Lisbon sisters in the 1999 movie “The Virgin Suicides.”

During the same year, she took on a starring role in the TV series “Higher Ground,” where she played Shelby Merrick, a young girl navigating abuse and heartache at a wilderness school for troubled teens. The show ran for one season, concluding with a romantic storyline between Shelby and Hayden Christensen’s character, Scott.

Following her stint on “Higher Ground,” Cook expanded her repertoire by appearing in the 2000 TV movie “The Spiral Staircase” alongside her “Higher Ground” colleague Kandyse McClure. She then secured 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, she made a guest appearance in “Dead Like Me” and featured in Season One of “Tru Calling” as Lindsay Walker.

Starting in September 2005, Cook took on the pivotal role of Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau in the CBS drama “Criminal Minds.” However, in June 2010, her contract option was initially not renewed for season six due to reported budget constraints. Nevertheless, due to a groundswell of support from fans in the form of thousands of letters and petitions to the show’s producers, she returned for two episodes to conclude her character’s storyline. Cook also made a guest appearance in the farewell episode for Paget Brewster’s departure from the series.

There were reports that her departure, along with Brewster’s, was initiated by CBS executives who wanted “new women” on the show. Cook clarified that it was not due to budget cuts, as their replacements were paid significantly more than they were.

In April 2011, it was announced that Cook would return for two more seasons of “Criminal Minds.” In 2013, she and her co-star Kirsten Vangsness negotiated salary raises but did not achieve pay parity with their fellow co-stars Matthew Gray Gubler and Shemar Moore, despite years of earning less than half of their salaries. In 2017, both Cook and Vangsness held out on signing new contracts until they achieved pay parity with Gubler, eventually succeeding in securing new deals to continue on the show.

Cook continued to star in “Criminal Minds” until its conclusion in 2020 after 15 seasons. Following the show’s conclusion, she opted for a break from acting, returning in 2022 with a guest appearance on the show “9-1-1.” It was also announced that she would reprise her role for the “Criminal Minds” revival.

A. J. Cook’s Award-Winning

In 2012, she received a nomination for a Prism Award in the category of Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries for her role in “Bringing Ashley Home” (2011).

A. J. Cook’s Personal life

Cook was brought up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), although she is not currently an active member. Her acting career was not limited to roles that aligned with LDS Church beliefs.

On August 3, 2001, she married her long-time boyfriend, Nathan Andersen, whom she met in a film class at Utah Valley University. To be with him, she relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah. They now reside in Los Angeles, California, with their two sons.

Their first son, Mekhai Allan, was born in September 2008 and even made appearances as Henry LaMontagne throughout the “Criminal Minds” series. The couple welcomed their second son, Phoenix Sky, in July 2015. Cook and her husband chose the name Phoenix because they were told they couldn’t have more children, but Phoenix was a pleasant surprise, and the name symbolizes that unexpected joy. He also made appearances in “Criminal Minds” as Jareau’s second son, Michael.

A. J. Cook’s Net Worth

A.J. Cook, a Canadian actress renowned for her co-starring role on the television series “Criminal Minds,” boasts a net worth of $5 million.

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