January Jones is a TV and film actress known for her roles in Mad Men, X-Men: First Class and Unknown.
Born on January 5, 1978 in Soux Falls, South Dakota, January Jones worked as a model before landing roles in films like Bandits, Love Actually, Anger Management and American Wedding. She’s co-starred for several seasons in the acclaimed TV series Mad Men as Betty Draper, for which she’s received Emmy and Golden Globe nods. She’s later starred in the 2011 films Unknown and X-Men: First Class.
Actress and model January Jones was born on January 5, 1978, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Growing up, Jones worked as a life guard and at a local Dairy Queen. "I hung out with dudes in high school. We were hippies into the Dead, Zeppelin, Phish," she told GQ. Jones was a typical teenager in many regards. Her father Marv told People magazine that she tried to sneak out of the house on a number of occasions. "One night she went out the basement window. Our dog was barking, which got her caught. Next time, she tried taking the dog with her."
After graduating high school, Jones decided to try her luck in New York City. "Everything was a culture shock. The people were different, the sights were different, the food was different . . . I was experiencing a freedom I hadn't before," she told WWD magazine. Jones started out as a model. Not tall enough for some jobs, she appeared in commercial advertisements for such companies as Abercrombie & Fitch and Clearasil. "I didn't really enjoy it. It was a means to an end for me," Jones once said.
Jones took a break from modeling, spending a few months in Paris. Among other pursuits, she read the works of Ayn Rand and visited the grave of rocker Jim Morrison while there. Jones then returned to New York briefly before moving out to Los Angeles to launch her acting career.
Breaking into Acting
In 1999, she had a small role in the television movie Sorority. Jones also appeared in the pilot episode of Get Real with Jon Tenney. She became well known for her relationship with Ashton Kutcher rather than for her acting talents. According to an interview in GQ magazine, Kutcher was not supportive of Jones' efforts to become an actress. Jones and Kutcher broke up in 2001. That same year, she appeared on the big screen in the crime caper Bandits, with Bruce Willis. Jones continued to land film work, with parts in the horror film Taboo (2002), and the romantic comedy, Full Frontal (2002). In the comedy Anger Management (2003), Jones played a lesbian porn star opposite Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson.
Continuing to pursue comedy, Jones had a supporting role in American Wedding (2003), the third installment of the American Pie films. She also worked with writer/director Richard Curtis on the ensemble dramatic comedy Love Actually (2003). The following year, Jones appeared in the poorly received Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Working with legendary actor Tommy Lee Jones, Jones appeared in the critically acclaimed drama The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005). In the film, she played the wife of a border patrol officer who kills an illegal immigrant. Continuing to work on independent films, Jones had a leading role in 2006's Swedish Auto with Lukas Haas, which also received positive reviews. She followed this performance with a supporting role in the sports drama We Are Marshall, with Matthew Fox and Matthew McConaughey, that same year.
In 2007, Jones experienced a career breakthrough with the debut of the American Movie Classics' cable show, Mad Men. The 1960s drama tells the story of the lives of several employees at a New York City advertising agency. Jones played Betty Draper, the wife of suave and philandering ad executive Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm). "January has an athletic intensity to her acting," series creator Matt Wiener explained to GQ. She has been able to successfully convey Betty's struggles as a wife and a mother, to show the confusion and conflict behind her character's beautiful, but cold, exterior. "I never had any training—it's all very instinctual," she once said.
Her portrayal of Betty has earned the actress two Golden Globe nominations—one in 2009 and one in 2010. As part of the Mad Men cast, she has won two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Wishing to avoid typecasting, Jones has stayed away from other "unhappy housewife" roles. She had a small role in Richard Curtis's Pirate Radio (2009), playing a young American girl who schemes to get closer to the DJ she loves. Jones also appeared in Unknown (2011) with Liam Neeson and the western Sweetwater (2013) with Ed Harris.
As the final season of Mad Men was about to air in 2015, January struck in a new direction. She began a new TV series The Last Man on Earth starring Will Forte. The comedy explores life on our planet after a virus wipes out the world's population. Jones plays one of the few survivors.
In June 2010, Jones made headlines when she hit several parked cars while driving her Range Rover in Los Angeles. Some claim that she fled the scene, but this allegation has been refuted by the actress, and her representative. According to the statement, the actress "left her license with a witness and walked to her nearby home to call the police." The accident reportedly occurred while Jones was trying to avoid the paparazzi.
Jones allegedly called restaurateur and celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, at the scene of the accident. The two had been part of a group watching a basketball game nearby. Shortly after Flay arrived at the site of the accident, Jones left to go home. She later returned, reportedly wearing a new outfit and chewing gum. According to TMZ.com, the Los Angeles Police Department says the actress was not under the influence at the time of the incident, and there are no plans to investigate the accident any further.
From July 2010 to January 2011, January Jones dated Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis. On September 13, 2011, Jones gave birth to her first child, Xander Dane Jones.