Rob Lowe Says His 1988 Sex Tape Was ‘Ahead Of Its Time’

Rob Lowe attends the premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures' 'Super Troopers 2' on April 11, 2018.
JB Lacroix / Getty Images

Rob Lowe just dropped a bombshell about the 1988 sex tape that almost derailed his acting career. During the March 26 episode of WTF Podcast with Marc Maron, the actor remarked that the tape was “ahead of its time.”

“The real f**k up was that I didn’t wait 20 years later to do it where it would have helped my career,” the actor remarked during the podcast, per a story published by Page Six.

He was likely referring to the success of sex tapes that helped propel other people into the spotlight and keep them there, such as those featuring Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Both used the fame and notoriety from their public gaffes and made careers out of them. For Lowe, the effects at the time were just the opposite.

Lowe was still on a career high at the time of the tape’s release. He was still considered part of Hollywood’s elite “Brat Pack,” a group of young 1980s actors which included Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, and Ally Sheedy.

He was only 24-years-old when he went to Atlanta, Georgia, to campaign for presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis at the Democratic National Convention. This move unknowingly staked Lowe’s place in popular culture, but for all the wrong reasons.

Lowe reportedly went to a club with Sheedy and Nelson where he met two young women, ages 16 and 22, and took them back to his hotel room. Lowe claimed he was unaware of the 16-year-old girl’s age at the time, stating that he believed she was older because she was at a club. The three then videotaped themselves having sex and, according to Yahoo Entertainment, the young women left with the tape.

The younger girl’s mother later sued the actor in a civil lawsuit for allegedly using his celebrity status to “entice her daughter into making a pornographic tape.” The case was settled out of court and Lowe did community service. He was never formally charged. Lowe’s career continued to flounder until Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, asked the actor to host an episode of the 1990 sketch comedy series.

The cast of The West Wing, including Rob Lowe, in 1999.
  Paul Drinkwater / NBC
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His career took some time to rebound, but his SNL appearance showed that his acting and comedic ability outweighed the scandal, and Lowe was soon cast in roles that would include the film Wayne’s World and TV’s Parks and Recreation, The West Wing, Killing Kennedy, The Grinder, and Code Black.

Lowe has been married to Sheryl Berkoff since 1991. The couple has two sons, Matthew and John Owen.