Former ‘Nerd’ Rob Lowe On Growing Up With Charlie Sheen & Punching Tom Cruise
First Published: May 4, 2011 2:25 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Rob Lowe seemingly has it all – the chiseled good looks, an enviable acting career and a loving family.
Now happily married to Sheryl Berkoff, his wife of nearly 20 years — whom he glowingly describes as his “best friend” — the self-dubbed former “nerd” admits he used to have less luck with the ladies.
“I wanted to be an actor and you have to understand, even in Santa Monica, at that time --this was pre-“Glee,” people! — they weren’t into young theater people,” Rob told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover of his surprising lack of lady love as a Southern California high schooler, on Wednesday’s Access Hollywood Live. “I was like, the theater nerd…I didn’t have my mojo till a few years later.”
The 47-year-old actor attended high school with Charlie Sheen – spawning a lifelong friendship between the pair – and Rob revealed the former “Two and a Half Men” star wasn’t exactly bagging “goddesses” left and right either!
“Charlie’s always been eccentric, wonderful, and an iconoclast, and interesting,” Rob explained. “We went to a big high school and I can remember Charlie, for some reason, was wearing a bulletproof vest to school because he thought the gangs were going to get him. Charlie has some thoughts – there’s no two ways about it!
“We were both nerds, man. I am telling you – he wanted to be a baseball player,” he added, laughing.
Having enjoyed a friendship with Charlie since the age of 13, Rob — who shares these stories and more in his new book, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends — said he has reached out to the actor regarding alcohol and substance abuse, but the two don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to Alcoholics Anonymous, as Rob credits the organization with helping him achieve his now 21 years of sobriety.
“I’ve talked to Charlie…we agree to disagree,” Rob said. “Recovery saved my life. I’ve reached out to him, but he’s doing it his way, man.”
While Rob shared his high school days with Charlie, his “college” consisted of filming the coming-of-age classic “The Outsiders” with Charlie’s brother Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise.
“We used to box in the hallway of the hotel to sort of to blow off steam [during filming]. It was pretty much Emilio, me, Tom… you didn’t want to mess with Swayze – he was too gnarly! He’s a Texas boy. You didn’t mess with Texas!” Rob told Billy and Kit with a laugh. “Tom and I fought a lot. He was one of those guys that was OK until you really hit him hard — and if you got in a hard shot at Tom, you were likely to get killed! … He’s the best.
“That time in my life – that was my college,” he added. “That was my first time away from home. Those were my frat buddies. So, I have that bond with all of those guys to this day.”
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, the “Parks and Recreation” funnyman rejoiced over the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, as he has a personal connection to the tragedies of September 11, and celebrated history in the making at Ground Zero on Sunday evening.
“I was having dinner uptown and it came over my Blackberry and at first, like most people I thought, ‘This can’t be right – nine years later. This is real?’” Rob told Billy and Kit of his initial reaction to the news. “I went down to Times Square and Ground Zero because I wanted to share that bit of closure with New Yorkers, because New Yorkers have been so important to me throughout my life.
“I went up to the first fireman that I could find and I gave him a hug,” he continued. “With that amazing spirit and generosity that they all seem to have, [the fireman] said, ‘Mr. Lowe – get up on the rig with the boys.’ And so I did. It was just good to share a piece of history.”
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