Andrea Joy Cook (born July 22, 1978) is a Canadian actress more commonly known as A. J. Cook. She has appeared in several Hollywood films and television shows including The Virgin Suicides, Out Cold, Final Destination 2. Currently she plays Special Agent Jennifer "JJ" Jareau in Criminal Minds.
Cook was born in Oshawa
and spent most of her life growing up in Whitby
. Her father, Mike, is a teacher and her mother, Sandra, is a sheriff
and works for a psychiatrist. She has three siblings named 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 don't go against her faith. At four years of age, Cook began taking jazz
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 starred in the 2000 TV movie The Spiral Staircase, and then captured leading roles in several films, including Out Cold and Final Destination 2.
She currently stars as Jennifer "J.J." Jareau in the CBS drama Criminal Minds.
In September 2001, Cook married her long-time boyfriend Nathan Andersen, whom she met in a film class at Utah Valley State College
(UVSC). She later moved to Salt Lake City
to be with him and currently resides in Los Angeles
In March 2008, it was reported that Cook and Anderson are expecting their first child, due in October.
A. J. Cook and her Higher Ground
co-star Jewel Staite
both guest-starred on the show "Dead Like Me
Kirsten Vangsness, Matthew Gray Gubler and Shemar Moore are very good friends of her. Paget Brewster is her best friend on the Criminal Minds set.