Kristine Sutherland's first love was theater. She went to an audition in high school as moral support for a friend but ended up auditioning herself. She worked as an actress on stage through the 80s, landing a few pilot roles as well as her small secretary part in Legal Eagles (1986) and her big-screen debut in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989),
In 1993, Kristine and her husband John Pankow (actor, best known as "Ira" on Mad About You (1992)) moved to Los Angeles, looking to enjoy their daughter's upbringing. Kristine told as few people as possible that she was moving and was surprised when she received a phone call from her agent, telling her that he found a part she'd be perfect for. She auditioned for the role of "Joyce Summers" on television's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997), In 1999, John and Kristine decided to move to Italy for a year, intending to go for the duration of a school year, giving their daughter the chance to learn a language organically. Whilst Eleanore studied at school, Kristine flew back into the USA occasionally to film a few episodes of "Buffy". In 2000, they moved back to America, keeping a house in both LA and New York. Since leaving the show, Kristine has pursued other interests. She is a very keen photographer and became a qualified photographer thanks to a college course at the Santa Monica College.