AJ Cook: The Criminal Minds Star Is Worth More Than You Think

While she's best known for her role as Jennifer "JJ" Jareau on "Criminal Minds," AJ Cook has been acting since she was a teenager. Born in Ontario, Canada, Andrea Joy (AJ) Cook was a competitive dancer throughout her childhood before she decided to pursue acting at the age of 17. 

"I have always had a very active imagination, maybe in part because of my shyness," she told South Bay. "It was through acting that my imagination was really able to blossom because it allowed me the security to do the things I was thinking about and 'be' what I admired in others but was not brave enough to do as myself. Acting is my therapy."

Cook's breakout role was in Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides," before she landed a role in the Canadian TV series "Higher Ground," starring alongside Hayden Christensen (per TV Guide). She then went on to appear in numerous shows and movies, including "Final Destination 2," "Tru Calling," and "Dead Like Me" before getting hired on "Criminal Minds" in 2005 (per IMDb). Her character soon became a favorite with viewers, so much so that when Cook was let go from the show during Season 6 due to financial cuts, the uproar from fans ultimately led to Cook being rehired (per CBR).

AJ Cook's steady work has led to an impressive net worth

AJ Cook starred on "Criminal Minds" for all but one of its 15 seasons. During that time, she also appeared in guest and supporting roles in shows such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," as well as movies including "Mother's Day" and "Back Fork" (per IMDb). Her consistent work has earned her a net worth of $5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Per Deadline, Cook and another "Criminal Minds" fan-fave Kirsten Vangsness (aka Penelope Garcia), successfully negotiated together back in 2017, seeking raises that would put them on equal earning footing with co-star Matthew Gray Gubler. A few years before that, it seems the two female stars "had consistently been paid less than half of what their male counterparts, Gubler and Shemar Moore, were making at the time." According to Cheat Sheet, while Cook's exact salary on the popular series wasn't known, it was presumed to be "at least $100,000 an episode."