A. J. Cook

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AJ Cook Mormon actress

Andrea Joy Cook is a Canadian television and film actress. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Billed as A. J. Cook, she is in the cast of the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds as Jennifer “JJ” Jareau. She appeared in the TV series Higher Ground as Shelby Merrick. She played Debbie Shields in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Cook also has film credits, including Laserhawk, The Virgin Suicides, Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell, Ripper, Out Cold, and Final Destination 2, Night Skies, Bringing Ashley Home, Least Among Saints, and Wer.

She was born on July 22, 1978, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, to Mike and Sandra Cook. She has three siblings. She was considered legally blind at an early age because of severe astigmatism, but contacts and, later, surgery corrected the impairment.

She grew up in Whitby, Ontario, and attended Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute. She later attended Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. She began dancing at age four and took jazz, tap, and ballet lessons. At age 16 she decided she wanted to try acting.

Early professional acting opportunities included a McDonald’s commercial and then a guest role on the television series Goosebumps. She also had parts in two television movies, In His Father’s Shoes and Elvis Meets Nixon.

Cook lives in Los Angeles, California, and Vancouver, Washington, with her husband, Nathan Andersen, whom she married in 2001. They have a son, Mekhai Allen Andersen, who made brief appearances in two episodes of “Criminal Minds.”