Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Are A. J. Cook And Kirsten Vangsness From Criminal Minds Friends In Real Life?

Following the trials and tribulations of the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, "Criminal Minds" features a diverse and varied cast that play off of each other, much to the delight of longtime fans. The on-screen friends and relationships that blossom throughout "Criminal Minds" long run are the stuff of legend, and the show left a huge mark on the police procedural format.

"Criminal Minds" stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, A. J. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, and Joe Mantegna, and each one of their characters has a sphere of knowledge that compliments their co-workers repertoire of skills. Cook plays Jennifer "JJ" Jareau, a former soccer player who joins the BAU after reading David Rossi's (Mantegna) book, while Vangsness plays Penelope Garcia, who acts as the team's computer support. Fans of the show may find themselves asking if these two actors are friends in real life, and the answer is not too surprising.

Vangsness and Cook are very close in real life

Despite the fact that A. J. Cook's character is most known for having a fierce sense of loyalty, it turns out that in real life, Kirsten Vangsness is the exceptionally protective one! At one point in the show's long history, Cook was fired, which invoked powerful responses from both Vangsness and the viewing public at large. She was quickly rehired to her former position, but in the interim, what happened revealed just how close Vangsness and Cook really are.

In an interview with Screen Rant at San Diego Comic Con in 2010, Vangsness said of the experience, "It certainly didn't feel good and certainly doesn't make you feel like, 'Oh, everybody's ok!' It makes you very aware that it's a job and if they need you, they keep you, and if they don't, they fire you. Not that she's not necessary! But, someone made a decision that she was not necessary and that's a bad decision — in my opinion ... It's like you're living in someone's rental and they get to decide who stays and who goes — and it BLOWS!" Clearly, Vangsness and other cast members disagreed with the decision of the higher-ups to fire Cook, and so she decided to do something about it.

Vangsness went so far as to sign a fan petition to bring Cook back, and she enlisted stars like Jane Lynch and Helen Mirren to add their names. The petition paid off, and Cook's character returned to the show. In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, Vangsness stated, "It was a galvanizing experience — [they] just fired my friend. It was a total shock. It absolutely affects morale." Judging by these interviews, it seems that Cook and Vangsness are much closer in real life then even their on-screen counterparts.