Rob Lowe's Son John Owen Found Out About His Father's Sex Tape from a Classmate

The father-son duo are costars in Netflix's Unstable, which based on their real-life relationship

Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe attend Netflix's HOLIDAY IN THE WILD Cast & Crew Screening at The London Hotel on October 29, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty

While most teenagers have the privilege of ignoring their parents' sex lives, that couldn't be said for Rob Lowe's son John Owen Lowe.

For John Owen, the awkward revelation that his father made an infamous 1988 sex tape was delivered by a teen classmate.

"I was in eighth grade or freshman year of high school, and some kid said, 'You know, your dad has a sex tape online,'" the 28-year-old actor told Men's Health. "I was like, What?"

John Owen added that there was much about his parents' youth he and his brother Matthew, 30, were not privy to as Rob, 58, and their mom Sheryl Berkoff chose not to share much about the St. Elmo's Fire star's '80s escapades.

"You know what it's kind of like? Santa Claus," John Owen said. "I don't think most parents ever have that moment where they sit the kids down and go, 'OK, we've got to tell you something.' A kid just figures it out. There weren't milestone markers, like, 'OK, he's 16 now, time for them to learn about this part of our life!'"

He added, "Wikipedia and Google took care of that for us."

Men's Health, Rob Lowe's Son John Owen Is Aware — and 'Grateful' — He Got His 'Foot in the Door That Most People Don't'
Mark Williams & Sara Hirakawa for Men’s Health

Back in the late '80s, the leak of the sex tape led to major scandal for Rob when it was discovered that one of the women in the tape was 16 years old. Rob was 24 at the time.

Though Rob claimed he did not know the girl's age but was mandated 20 hours of community service in order to avoid more severe legal action.

Rob has since poked fun at the scandal and even admitted he was grateful for how it led him to sobriety and his family.

"Honestly, I do, 'cause it got me sober," Rob said on The Jess Cagle Show in October 2019. "Sober got me married. I've been married 29 years, and I have two great sons. I don't think any of that happens without going through that scandal. I really don't."

Unstable. (L to R) Rob Lowe as Ellis, John Owen Lowe as Jackson in episode 103 of Unstable.
John P. Fleenor/Netflix

At the end of the month, John Owen and Rob will debut as costars in Netflix's father-son comedy Unstable, which they co-created with inspiration from their real-life relationship.

Rob plays eccentric entrepreneur Ellis Dragon, and John Owen plays his estranged son Jackson Dragon. While Ellis is working to make the world a better place, Jackson simply wants to step out of his father's shadow.

"John Owen was essentially trolling me on my Instagram account," Rob said in a release for the show. "We have a fun banter together and neither one of us thought anything of it. It was just something we did sort of intra-family to make each other laugh and people started to notice it."

He continued, "We spent a lot of time thinking about the base elements that go into our relationship that make it what it is, and then designed fictitious characters around it."

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Unstable premieres March 30 on Netflix.

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