'Criminal Minds' Star Joe Mantegna and His Wife Have Been Through So Much Together

joe mantegna wife arlene
Here's How Joe Mantegna Met His Wife Getty
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  • Criminal Minds star Joe Mantegna started dating his wife in 1969.

  • The two married in 1975 after exchanging private vows in Paris.

  • They share two children together, Mia, 37, and Gia, 34.


Actor Joe Mantegna portrayed David Rossi on Criminal Minds for 15 years. His character married multiple times and claims a childhood sweetheart was the girl who got away. In real life, Joe has been with his wife, Arlene, for over 55 years. And the couple has a beautiful love story in which they have helped each other through hard times and encouraged each other’s dreams.

Joe and Arlene are from the Chicago area and they met in high school and began dating in 1969, according to People. They married in 1975, but first they exchanged private, informal vows at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

joe mantegna wife arlene
Joe and Arlene look so sweet together in this photo from 2008.Getty

In 1978, they packed a U-Haul and moved to Los Angeles with actor Dennis Franz, who later found success on shows such as Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. Joe, however, had a slower start. He finally attracted attention in 1984 after performing in a Broadway play.

Joe returned to the Chicago theatre scene with Arlene at this side. The two cooked pasta dinners for the cast and hosted parties for their theatre friends. “I don’t know how to cook for two,” Arlene told the Chicago Tribune in 1986. “It’s always for eight or ten.”

Arlene supported Joe as he strove to be an actor. During one performance at the famed Goodman Theatre, Joe flubbed his lines and the audience waited awkwardly for the scene to recover. Arlene hugged Joe during intermission and gave encouragement. After the second act, one Chicago critic rated Joe as “brilliant.”

6th annual pageant of the masters gala benefit
Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images

The couple continued to rely on each other after they welcomed daughter Mia into the world in 1987. Mia, now 37, was born three months early due to an infection in the umbilical cord. She struggled as a baby, and Arlene and Joe confronted terrifying moments in which she stopped breathing altogether. Joe went as far as to change the light bulb on his front porch from white to red so ambulances could find their house easier. At the age of two, Mia was diagnosed with autism.

“You go through a million emotions,” Joe said. “Your heart flies out of your chest."

In 1990, the couple had a second daughter, Gina, now 34, just as Joe began booking more TV and film roles, such as The Godfather III. She and her sister were close from the beginning. “She’s wise beyond her years and really understands Mia," he told People.

Arlene managed the family and supported Joe’s acting career. Then in 2003, Joe supported Arlene’s dream of opening her own restaurant. They created Taste Chicago in Burbank, California, which served Chicago comfort foods such as Italian beef sandwiches, deep dish pizza, and Vienna Beef hotdogs in a poppy seed bun before closing in March 2019.

joe mantegna wife arlene kids gia mia
Joe and Arlene with their daughters Mia and Gia in 2015.Getty

Their two daughters are grown, and daughter Gina (who uses the professional name Gia Mantegna) is an actress. In her most notable role to date, she portrayed Devin Levin on the hit sitcom, The Middle.

After more than 55 year together, the couple is now focused on giving back. Joe is the spokesperson for the National Army Museum, which hopes to build a museum dedicated to the history of military service. Arlene and Joe founded the Mantegna Family Foundation which serve veterans and individuals with developmental disabilities, such as Autism.

Joe celebrated his 76th birthday in 2023, and has no plans to retire. In addition to his acting and philanthropic work, he’s also directing. He has directed episodes of Criminal Minds, and returned to the theatre by directing the Off Broadway show, I am Lenny Bruce. With Arlene, no doubt, by his side. In January 2024, Joe officially confirmed his return for Criminal Minds: Evolution season two.

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