John Owen Lowe likens finding out about dad Rob Lowe's sex tape to learning the truth about Santa Claus

Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe
Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe

For all the talk of rampant nepotism in Hollywood, there’s at least one area where the children of the famous are at a disadvantage: it’s way too easy to know way too much about your parents’ past. It’s a dicey scenario Rob Lowe’s son, John Owen Lowe, faced as an impressionable middle schooler, and it arrived in the form of a schoolmate introducing him to the reality that his dad has a sex tape (somewhat) easily available for viewing.

“I was in eighth grade or freshman year of high school, and some kid said, ‘You know, your dad has a sex tape online,’ ” John Owen, who stars alongside his father in the upcoming Netflix comedy Unstable, tells Men’s Health’s Ryan D’Agostino in a new interview. “I was like, ‘What?’”

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For the uninitiated: the Rob Lowe sex tape is an infamous relic from the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, featuring Lowe and two partners, one of whom was only 16 years of age at the time, per the Los Angeles Times. After the tape was leaked, Lowe claimed he did not know the girl was underage—he ultimately served 20 hours of community service to avoid any additional legal proceedings.

As a teen, John Owen took the news as best he could, and found solace in connecting the experience to a slightly more widely applicable loss of innocence: the realization that Santa Claus is more of a wish your heart makes than a real, rosy-cheeked guy.

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

As far as Rob can see it, not having to be the one to reveal the truth to John Owen set him free—thank god for the internet age. “Wikipedia and Google took care of that for us,” he jokes.

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