Rob Lowe Discusses the ‘Beauty’ of Being a Dad to Adult Sons (Exclusive)

  • Rob Lowe is taking a closer look at his genetic makeup and the traits he passed along to sons John Owen and Matthew
  • Speaking with PEOPLE about their partnership with AncestryDNA, Rob says the deep dive was the perfect Father’s Day experience
  • The actor also opens up about recognizing his sons as adults and appreciating the relationship they share today

Rob Lowe is exploring what it means to be a dad — on both an emotional and genetic level.

The Unstable actor, 60, and his sons, John Owen, 29, and Matthew, 30, teamed up with AncestryDNA to discover all the ways they are genetically similar. The trio explores their DNA results and Parental Traits Inheritance — a new feature that reveals physical and personality traits you may have inherited from each parent.

Speaking with PEOPLE about the experience, Lowe says it was a great father-son bonding moment for the three, who shared a lot of laughs as they visited the Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica High School, Rob’s teenage stomping grounds.

“It was unbelievable going back, in particular because my boys were there,” Rob tells PEOPLE. “There was also the nostalgia of it. I haven’t set foot there in Santa Monica High School in 40-plus years. I’ve not been there since I left to shoot the movie The Outsiders.”

“Of course, some of it is exactly the same. Most of it is different, and then you’re just overwhelmed by the history,” he says of the visit. “I started feeling feelings like I was 16 and 17 again. And then, of course, I’m standing there with my two sons who are looking at me like, ‘Dad, get over it.’ “

The same has been true of fatherhood for the proud dad. While so much changes, the important things stay the same.

“The beauty of fatherhood is that it changes. When you’re young, being a father puts you back in touch with your own inner child. You get to revisit your own childhood through your kids, to reclaim it,” Rob says.

“You get to experience their wonder and awe, and all of those amazing things. Then they become young adults and adults, and to be able to guide them or be a part of decisions that are much more — I don’t want to say important, but important, you know? First houses, significant others, jobs. With all of that stuff, the stakes are way higher. It makes me glad to be around to give my two cents for what it’s worth.”

The actor has always been “obsessed with family histories,” and has looked up information before to share with his “very close family.” The insights the new AncestryDNA tool provided dug even deeper, however.

Rob Lowe (center) and his sons visit the Santa Monica Pier.

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“Using this new tool, they were able to find out shared genetics, which was so fun,” he says. “We laughed so hard and bonded so much. It would be a fun experience for anyone to do, but it was extraordinary for us and right in the pocket of the kind of stuff that I’m naturally obsessed with.”

Of the different genetic commonalities found in the test — from a competitive nature to a predisposition for male pattern balding — Rob was intrigued to see how the similarities came out in the DNA.

“One of the features we learned we share is about being ambitious and competitive. When I was in those hallways, I knew what I wanted to do and was actively working on being an actor,” he shares.

Rob adds, “Most people in high school haven’t even really thought about what they want to do yet. My younger son has always kind of known what he wanted to do. My older son hasn’t necessarily known what he wanted to do, but has always been such a hard worker. Those things were borne out in the AncestryDNA test.”

From Left: Rob Lowe, sons John Owen and Matthew, and wife Sheryl Berkoff.

Courtesy of Lowe family

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As they prepare to celebrate Father’s Day together, Rob and his sons are looking forward to “going on a little fishing trip as a family.” The actor, who has a busy summer with several different projects, says, “We love to get out there.”

“I am very excited to finish this season of 9-1-1 Lone Star, which will be out in September, and to have season two of Unstable on Netflix on August 1st,” he says. “Then I’m going immediately to shoot two seasons back-to-back of The Floor, my game show for Fox.”

He concludes, “And then, a much-needed vacation. Where I’m going, I have not decided yet.”

Head to to see the full episode and explore for yourself what DNA traits you share with your family members.

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