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Rob Lowe at 60: actor's then-and-now photos are unbelievable

The Hollywood star started his career as a teen idol 

Rob Lowe during pregame between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos in October 2023© Getty
Megan Bull
TV Writer
March 17, 2024
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Rob Lowe is celebrating an exciting milestone. The A-lister – who made his acting debut at 15 – turns 60, following an impressive decade-spanning career and major life changes. Take a trip down memory lane and explore the star's past and present in photos. 

Rob Lowe pictured in 1979 for A New Kind of Family © Getty
Rob Lowe pictured in 1979 for A New Kind of Family

Rob got his big break in 1979, after landing the role of Tony Flannagan in the American sitcom, A New Kind of Family. "I wanted to be an actor from the time I was eight," he recalled to Netflix. "I started so early that by the time I got to California I was like a little pro and the only acting training I had was on the job." 

Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze on the set of The Outsiders© Getty
Rob and his The Outsiders co-stars Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze

Following up with roles in Thursday's Child (1983), Class (1983) The Outsiders (1983), and St. Elmo's Fire (1985), Rob quickly became a teen heartthrob, but the overnight fame was disorienting, to say the least. "I just knew that all the goodwill coming towards me wasn't really about me, because I hadn't changed," he explained to PEOPLE

"Look, there's also part of it that's super fun. I was in Santa Monica High School, and I really had to pick who I would invite to the junior prom because I didn't want to get turned down; a year later, people were breaking into my house and stealing my underwear."

Rob's dating history includes high-profile romances with actress Melissa Gilbert and Monegasque royal, Princess Stephanie, but it was in 1989 that he found love with makeup artist, Sheryl Berkoff. According to the star, they'd gone on a blind date in 1983, but it wasn't until six years later – when they reunited on the set of Bad Influence – that they embarked on a relationship. 

Rob and Sheryl Berkoff attend the Wild At Heart premiere in 1990© Getty
Rob and Sheryl Berkoff attend the Wild At Heart premiere in 1990

"Listen, she may have saved my life, really. I mean, she met me when I was at the end of my '80s run of wild boy craziness, and she was worth changing my life for," he reflected to Entertainment Tonight in 2021.

A year later, on May 10 1990, Rob took the first step in his sobriety journey. After dealing with the fallout of a leaked sex tape scandal involving himself and two other women, the star realised that it was time to give up drugs and alcohol. 

Rob Lowe and Sheryl Berkoff during "Commitment To Life IV" Los Angeles AIDS Project Benefit in September 1990© Getty
The actor made the decision to become sober in 1990

"I wasn't ready until I was ready," he told Variety. "I was ready when one day back in the days of answering machines my mother called me and I could hear her voice on the answering machine. I didn't want to pick up because I was really, really hungover and I didn't want her to know. 

"She was telling me that my grandfather, who I loved, was in critical condition in the hospital and she needed my help. And I didn't pick up. My thought process in that moment was 'I need to drink a half a bottle of tequila right now so I can go to sleep so I can wake up so I can pick up this phone.'"

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The decision to become sober has been extremely rewarding for Rob. "All of my understanding about life has come from getting sober and being in recovery," he said in 2021. "The work that you do once you stop whatever it is you've been abusing — that's when the real work begins. And that continues to this day. In many ways, it doesn't get any easier but it does get more fulfilling."

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After embarking on a sobriety journey, Rob wed Sheryl on July 22, 1991. To mark their 30th anniversary in 2021, Sheryl – who's since established her own jewelry business – shared a throwback photo to commemorate their special day.

Rob and Sheryl Lowe with their sons Matthew Edward and John Owen Lowe in 2001© Getty
Rob and Sheryl with their sons Matthew Edward and John Owen Lowe

By the mid-90s, Rob and Sherly had become proud parents to Matthew Edward Lowe (born in 1993) and John Owen Lowe (born in 1995). "I just got early on that my boys were going to be my life's work," the actor told Maria Shriver on Today. 

"I loved coaching the teams. I loved going on the field trips," he said. "I am the guy dressing up in, you know, the caveman outfit for the kids' birthday parties." The above is an adorable throwback from the family's evening out at the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Westwood Premiere in 2001. 

Rob and John Owen Lowe at the Unstable premiere© Getty
Rob and John Owen Lowe at the Unstable premiere

Rob is incredibly close with both of his sons and now that his youngest, John Owen, has decided to pursue an acting career, the two have even shared the screen. Speaking to Variety in 2023, Rob revealed what it had been like working on the Netflix series Unstable with John. 

"As a dad, it was a very proud moment because I got to marvel at his facility for writing, which he's had since he was in grade school, and his ability to jump into the comedy world against heavyweights like Fred Armisen and hold his own," he said. 

"As an actor, and particularly as a co-producer, creator with him, being able to have somebody who thinks like me, has the same wants and needs as I do, it's like having a second brain on the set. That's super helpful to have in a partner."

Rob looks smart in his classic suit© Amanda Edwards
Rob is grateful to be turning 60

As of 2024, Rob is truly thriving. Speaking to The Healthy ahead of his 60th birthday, he said: "I'm the best version of myself that I've ever been."

"I remember 40, I remember 50, and going into 60 feels exactly like that did early on. You're like, Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. And then as you get closer, I'm psyched," he continued. "Each year we get, we're lucky. A lot of people don't get [birthdays], and I feel like I'm the best version of myself that I've ever been. I felt that way at 40 and 50. If one keeps exploring and pushing and challenging themselves and staying interested and interesting, then age really is nothing but a number." 

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