'Criminal Minds': This Is "Penelope Garcia" In Private

Criminal Minds: "Penelope Garcia" In Private
November 28, 2020 - 17:01 / Lucas Anderson

"Penelope Garcia" was a Criminal Minds star and fan favourite. She was the BAU's technical analyst, who appeared in all 15 seasons and two Criminal Minds spin-offs. Actress Kirsten Vangsness played the role through the show's 2020 finale. Here's what you need to know about the star's personal life, from her relationships to what keeps her occupied off-screen.

In 2020, Criminal Minds aired its swan song after 15 seasons. "Penelope Garcia" was among the stars with the hit crime show since season 1, serving as the BAU's technical analyst.

Actress Kirsten Vangsness portrayed hacker-turned-FBI analyst "Penelope" in all 15 Criminal Minds seasons and spin-offs Suspect Behaviour and Beyond Borders. Let's get to know the Criminal Minds icon better.

Criminal Minds: "Penelope Garcia" actress Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten Vangsness is an American actress who got her start in the theatre. Criminal Minds was her breakthrough screen role, joining the main cast in season 2 after portraying "Penelope Garcia" in a recurring season 1 role.

Criminal Minds: "Penelope Garcia" actress Kirsten Vangsness

Over the years, the actress only appeared in around one other project per year away from Criminal Minds. Along with Suspect Behaviour and Beyond Borders, Vangsness's role with the franchise is by far her most-recognized work.

Is Kirsten Vangsness married?

Today, Vangsness is 48 years old and keeps her personal life relatively private. In previous interviews, she described herself as queer. She was in a seven-year relationship with Melanie Goldstein, a film producer. But the engaged couple broke it off in 2013. 

More recently, in 2015, Vangsness got engaged to actor and writer Keith Hanson. The couple broke the news to People at the time, with the actress saying: "He's the perfect partner." Nearly five years later, Vangsness and Hanson are still engaged and appear to be taking things at their own pace.

On the Nunn on One podcast in 2016, Vangsness said of her personal life: "A few years ago, I broke up with a woman I had been together with for quite some time. We broke up over normal reasons—not because I thought I was no longer gay.

"I defined myself as queer because I never understood myself personally inside my own body my sexuality. I met a guy that I fell for. I like the word 'queer' because it doesn't fit into a box. I am in a fluid place. I know I am not straight. There has never been a question of that."

In the same interview, she said she "is not bisexual." But in a recent Instagram post, she also wrote to her followers that she is "bi" on Bi Visibility Day 2020.

Since Criminal Minds concluded, the actress doesn't appear to have any new roles locked down as of yet, either. She has been busy, though, with Kirsten's Agenda, a YouTube talk series she hosts.

Vangsness is also very active on social media, where she currently talks politics, shares Kirsten's Agenda promos, and gives fans glimpses into her social life — which includes occasional appearances by TV-star friends such as Pauley Perrette and Shemar Moore.