Rob Lowe recalls the moment he hit rock bottom during alcoholism battle: ‘This is no way to live’

Rob Lowe will celebrate 32 years of sobriety in May – and he’s never been more grateful.

“I’m happy I lived the life that I lived because I have no regrets, but I was super ready to coach Little League, carve pumpkins on Halloween, read books and serve hot lunch on Wednesdays,” the actor told People magazine in this week’s cover story. “I really, really loved every minute of it.”

“Up until I turned 26, I spent all my time investing in my career,” the 57-year-old shared. “From 26 on, I’ve invested in me; my spirituality, my recovery, my marriage, my family. A lot of it has been, excuse me, f—ing hard. And no one has a perfect life… but I’m grateful for all of it.”

Lowe made his film debut in 1983’s “The Outsiders.” The coming-of-age drama, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, also starred Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise and Matt Dillon. His further skyrocketed to fame with 1985’s “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the Brat Pack flick that starred Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson.


Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox in Los Angeles, California, circa 1986.

Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox in Los Angeles, California, circa 1986. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)

“I became so identified with it — the wild, fun, rock and roll, quasi-debauched with the heart of gold [guy]: that’s my early twenties in a nutshell,” Lowe admitted.

Lowe said stars like Keith Richards, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty were his role models. But when he saw his idol Beatty in one particular movie, Lowe realized he had to turn his life around.

“I remember watching ‘Shampoo’ and when I saw Warren left alone and broken at the end, I absolutely felt like, ‘Oh, this is how my life will play out if I don’t figure it out,'” he recalled. “It would be many years until I did, but that was always my fear, that I would end up alone. Intimacy and I were not very well acquainted until very late in my life.”

Lowe said rock bottom came in 1990 when he was 26. After a night of partying, Lowe returned home and discovered his mother was leaving a message on his answering machine. She pleaded for Lowe to pick up. His grandfather had a heart attack. 

Lowe didn’t pick up the phone.


Rob Lowe will celebrate 32 years of sobriety in May.

Rob Lowe will celebrate 32 years of sobriety in May. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for TOM FORD: AUTUMN/WINTER 2020 RUNWAY SHOW)

“I remember going into the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror and my thought process was, ‘You need to drink directly from this bottle of Cuervo Gold so you can go to sleep, so you can wake up, so you can deal with this,'” said Lowe. “Out of all the things that had gone on in my life, that was the thing where finally I went, ‘This is no way to live.’ I went to rehab 48 hours later.”

The star, who struggled with alcoholism, has been sober since then. Today, he’s still pursuing his love of acting with “9-1-1: Lone Star. Lowe revived a one-man stage show after it was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. He’s also juggling two podcasts.


Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl Berkoff have been married since 1991.

Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl Berkoff have been married since 1991. ( Photo by Arnold Jerocki/WireImage)

But Lowe insisted that his most rewarding role is that of a family man. Lowe and his wife Sheryl, 60, are proud parents to sons Matthew, 28, a lawyer, and John Owen, 26, a TV writer.

“I’ve never been happier, personally or professionally [and] there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not thankful about it all,” Lowe gushed. “I have gratitude and profound humility for the gifts that I’ve been given, and worked for, in this world.”


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