Rob Lowe: Tom Cruise Was "Robotic," Charlie Sheen a "Nerd" in 80s

Entertainment Mar. 29, 2011 AT 9:27AM
Rob Lowe: Tom Cruise Was "Robotic," Charlie Sheen a "Nerd" in 80s Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty; Jason Merritt/Getty Rob Lowe: Tom Cruise Was "Robotic," Charlie Sheen a "Nerd" in 80s Credit: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair

Back in the 1980s, Rob Lowe was just another Hollywood Brat Pack hunk who counted Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise among his peers -- and Demi Moore, model Nastassja Kinski and Monaco's Princess Stephanie among his sexual conquests.

On the cover of May's Vanity Fair, the Parks and Recreation actor, now 47, shows off a still-impressive, tan chest and dishes on his new revealing book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography.

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He and fellow It Boy Charlie Sheen -- now 45 -- were competitive party boys back in the day.

"We competed to see who could play harder, then show up for work and still kick ass," Lowe says of making Masquerade in 1987 while Sheen shot Wall Street.  "The verdict: Charlie by a nose."

What was Sheen (born into show business thanks to his father Martin) like back in the day?

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"One-of-a-kind," he writes in an excerpt from the book "A Polo preppy clotheshorse in a world of O.P. shorts and surf T-shirts...a wonderful mix of nerd ... and rebel."

These days, he and Sheen are neighbors, but living vastly different lives. "At my house we are still saving money by not buying desserts," writes Lowe, who has been happily married to wife Sheryl for 20 years, and has two kids. "At Charlie's house, it's never-ending Häagen-Dazs, brand-new BMWs, a lagoon pool with underwater tunnels, and a lit, professional-grade basketball half-court."

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He first met Cruise during auditions for 80s classic The Outsiders, when the future superstar was a houseguest at the Sheen family home.

First impression? "Open, friendly, funny, and has an almost robotic, bloodless focus and an intensity that I've never encountered before," Lowe says.

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The late Patrick Swayze, meanwhile, "[made] Tom Cruise look lobotomized....as cool as you want, wearing tight jeans and a tattered, sleeveless Harley-Davidson T-shirt revealing his massive, ripped arms."

Despite his own post-80s struggles -- career obscurity and a rehab stint -- Lowe says he has no regrets.

"The Brat Pack is timeless...We should all be so lucky in our lives to create things that we're still talking about 25 years later."

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