On Tuesday night, Rob Lowe, the six-time Golden Globe nominee and two-time SAG Award winner will make his debut as the host of FOX’s newest competition series, Mental Samurai. Billed as the “first ever obstacle course of the mind,” the 55-year-old veteran actor, who also serves as producer on the series, will help guide contestants through courses that test their ability to quickly recall knowledge while under immense pressure.
Lowe is best known for his roles on scripted TV series, such as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing, Chris Traeger on Parks & Recreation, and Eddie Nero on Californication, but this isn’t the actor’s first rendezvous with reality TV. In 2017, Lowe teamed up with his sons Matthew Edward and John Owen for A&E’s nonfiction series, The Lowe Files, in which they traveled around the country exploring unsolved mysteries.
The Outsiders star struggled with drugs and alcohol early on in his career before a sex scandal involving a minor in 1988 nearly derailed him as a working celebrity actor all together. In his 2015 memoir, Love Life, Lowe largely credits his wife of 21 years, Sheryl Berkoff and his tight knit family, including brother Chad Lowe, in keeping him on the straight and narrow.
Here’s what you need to know about the most important people in Rob Lowe’s life:
1. His Sons John Owen and Matthew Proudly Earned Their Way into Top Colleges
Amidst the college admissions scandal involving Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, Rob Lowe’s youngest son John Owen took to Twitter to reinforce the fact that he rightfully earned his way into Stanford University, studying science technology in society before graduating in 2018. His famous father, before rethinking his decision and deleting the message, retweeted John and said, “Very proud of my honest, hardworking sons.”
John also acknowledged the privilege he’s been given growing up with such a successful father. Having such luck in life is not lost on him, or his older brother, Matthew, who graduated from Duke University in 2016 and is now pursuing a law degree at Loyola.
The 26-year-old retweeted Little Lobbyist’s tweet about the admissions scandal with the caption “They received “extra time for the test… by claiming a learning disability. You know who will be harmed by this for years to come? Students with learning disabilities who will be denied their right to accommodations.”
2. Rob Lowe’s Mother Barbara Lynn Hepler Died of Cancer at Age 64
While Rob’s father, Charles Davis Lowe, a lawyer, is alive and well, his mother passed away at her home in Summerland, California in December 2003. She was an honors graduate from DePauw University and spent her life working as an English high school teacher and private tutor. As announced in the Malibu Times, instead of flowers at her funeral, the Lowe family requested donations to be made to the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation.
Barbara had son Chad before divorcing Charles when Rob was only 5. She got married and divorced one more time before settling into life with third husband, Steve Wilson in 1977.
3. Rob Considers Actor Robert Downey Jr. Like a Brother
Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. also struggled hard with drugs and alcohol early in his career, was sent to prison in 1997 for violating his drug probation. But Rob, who Downey Jr. has been buddies with since they attended Santa Monica High School together, and was one of the first friends to be by his side during a time when it wasn’t so popular to do so.
“My first take on Rob in school was, ‘How come he has a Mazda?’ ”Downey said to People back in 2000. “I was like, ‘C’mon, he’s 16!’ [But] he’s like a big brother to me right now. Rob for me is a blueprint for what is possible if you have the humility to do the footwork.”
Flash forward to 2019, the two former addicts turned successful actors and fathers, are still best friends. They both attended long time friend’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding to Brad Falchuk in September 2018, along with other former members of their “Brat Pack” days, Charlie Sheen, Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy.
4. His Little Brother Chad Lowe was Married to Hilary Swank for 10 Years
Rob’s younger brother, Chad was married to Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank for 10 years, from 1997 to 2007. Three years after their divorce, Chad married his now wife, Kim Painter.
Chad and Painter have three daughters, Fiona Helper, Mabel Painter and Nixie Barbara.
Chad and Rob are incredibly close.
The regularly go skiing and fishing together with their father, Charlie, and all of their families get together to celebrate the holidays, including half brothers Justin Lowe, who’s an artist based in New York City, and Micah Dyer, who lives in Topanga Canyon, California, with his family.
5. Rob’s Wife Sheryl Designs Men’s Jewelry for which the Lowe Boys Model
While Matthew and John Owen golf, hike, work out, and film with their father, the Lowe boys also do whatever they can to support Sheryl’s new line of designer jewelry for men. While Rob continuously posts loving messages and photos of his wife, the only bigger fan of Sheryl’s jewelry line? Her sons.
The Lowe crew basically defines #familygoals – and it’s clear that Rob and Sheryl are raising their boys right.
The Instagram messages Matthew and John Owen posted for their father’s 55th birthday, says it all.