Rob Lowe calls sex tape scandal involving 16-year-old girl the ‘best thing that’s ever happened to me,’ and Twitter reacts

Long before Paris Hilton, Pam and Tommy, and Kim Kardashian, Rob Lowe was involved with a sex tape scandal of his own. In 1988, the then-24-year-old Brat Packer filmed his hook-up with 16-year-old Jan Parsons and her 22-year-old female friend; the pair took home the footage, which was made public the following year when Parsons’ estranged mother filed a civil suit against the actor.

The encounter took place in Georgia — just before the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, which Lowe was attending in support of presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. Despite Parsons’ age, it was not considered illegal because the state’s age of consent at the time was 14. Lowe, who denied seducing the teen and claimed to have not known her actual age, settled the case and agreed to perform community service.

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Rob Lowe and his wife in the 1990s
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Rob Lowe and his wife in the 1990s
Rob Lowe and Sheryl Berkoff during 1st Annual Movie Awards at Universal Ampitheater in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Sheryl Berkoff and Rob Lowe during "True Lies" Los Angeles Premiere at Mann's Village Theater in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 2: Actor Rob Lowe and his wife Sheryl Berkoff attend the 1992 Carousel of Hope Ball to Benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes on October 2, 1992 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - AUGUST 13: Actor Rob Lowe and girlfriend Sheryl Berkoff attend the "Wild at Heart" Universal City Premiere on August 13, 1990 at the Cineplex Odeon Universal City Cinemas in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Rob Lowe and Sheryl Berkoff during "Frankie and Johnny" Los Angeles Premiere at Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Rob Lowe and Sheryl Berkoff during "Little Man Tate" Los Angeles Premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - AUGUST 3: Actor Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl Berkoff attend "An Evening at the Net" Benefit for Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program to Kick-Off the 66th Annual ATP Los Angeles Open on August 3, 1992 at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, UCLA in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
CENTURY CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Actor Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl Berkoff attend "A Night to Fight Diabetes" Special Benefit Preview Musical Performance of "Sunset Boulevard" on November 30, 1993 at the Shubert Theatre in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Rob Lowe & wife Sheryl Berkoff (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Rob Lowe and Sheryl Berkoff during "Tommy Boy" Los Angeles Premiere at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
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Lowe’s career suffered significant blowback at the time, though he went on to rehabilitate his image thanks to shows like “The West Wing” and “Parks and Recreation.” Now, some 30 years after the racy footage — which also included a second tryst with a model and Lowe’s male friend — leaked, the 55-year-old actor is calling it “the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Got me sober, sober got me married,” he explained in an interview with Jess Cagle for Sirius XM. “I’ve been married 29 years and I have two great sons. I don’t think any of that happens without going through that scandal.”

Lowe also joked that he “invented” the sex tape, adding, “The problem was, I didn’t make any money off of it like everybody does. I was too stupid.”

He also spoke of the importance of being transparent about his past — but some critics say he overstepped the mark, and accused him of making light about an incident involving a teen girl.

Lowe’s interview comes three years after comedians joked about his sex tape scandal and Parsons’s age during his 2016 Comedy Central roast.

“Rob Lowe defies age … restrictions,” comedian Nikki Glaser quipped. “You look like you are sculpted. You put the statue in statutory rape.”

“I had such a crush on Rob as a little girl,” she added. “If only I knew that’s when I would have had my best shot.”

“Rob Lowe. Or as the girls in the sex tape said, ‘Rob, no,’” joked roaster Jeffrey Ross.

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