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Rob Lowe may have had humble beginnings, but his trajectory in Hollywood turned him into a teen celebrity, a member of the “Brat Pack,” and a respected actor who shed those early labels.

He was a favorite of John F. Kennedy Jr. in The West Wing, but rose to fame for his roles in The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire. Another actor who came from the same era is Back to the Future king Michael J. Fox.

Both were in films that helped rock the ’80s, and they crossed paths in Tinseltown. However, there was a point when their interactions hit an awkward — but hilarious — bump.

Rob Lowe Michael J. Fox
Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox, 1986 | Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images

Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox came up around the same time

Playing Sodapop in The Outsiders shot Rob Lowe to a new level of fame and soon after, he landed roles in films such as Oxford Blues and About Last Night. Back in the day, a journalist for New York Magazine deemed Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillion, and Tom Cruise as members of the “Brat Pack.”

It’s a term that some of them found offensive but it stuck for years, and typically lumped Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy in the crew too. Do you know who wasn’t part of that list? Michael J. Fox.

During that time period, he’d been soaring in Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, and TV’s Family Ties, adding blockbusters to his resume just like his peers. According to Lowe, the Brat Pack distinction led to a “friendly rivalry” between the two.

Why Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox were ‘frenemies’

In his book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe said he first met Fox at a boxing match. When Fox introduced himself, he asked about an invitation.

“Your invitation? Invitation to what?” Lowe asked. “To join the Brat Pack,” said Fox. “I guess it was just lost in the mail,” he said. Lowe checked for signs that he was joking, and Fox dismissed him said he had his own thing. “The Snack Pack!” he declared.

After the match, they spent the rest of evening throwing friendly digs at each other about their movies. Lowe ran into Fox months later as part of a political bus tour with Jane Fonda.

“The night before, I am at frenemy Michael J. Fox’s house for the kickoff party, this being our attempt to settle a fairly friendly but simmering rivalry,” wrote Lowe.

Fox’s party wore Lowe out

Since the group had to leave at 7 a.m. for the bus campaign, people gathered and had a good time at Fox’s house. Lowe remembered being tuckered out around 4:30 a.m. and bid goodnight to Fox’s attentive dog, Tom Petty’s guitarist, and everyone else. He headed toward a guest room to sleep.

“I stumble to an out-of-the-way guest room and am unconscious in seconds,” Lowe recalled. “Even the commotion of a large object leaping onto the bed doesn’t stir me; I figure I’ll let Mike’s dog sleep where he wants,” he said. Lowe remarked that the room was freezing and he was happy the dog helped keep him warm. Only it didn’t.


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He was awakened by Fox’s assistant who barked, “What the hell is going on?” Groggy and still under the previous night’s influence, Lowe looked at the assistant and apologized for allowing the dog to sleep in the bed with him.

But the look on her face said otherwise. “I look next to me to discover Mike is in the bed, not the dog. I leap out of bed,” Lowe wrote. After loudly invoking Jesus — which elicited a “shuuut up” comment from a half-asleep Fox, he hurried out of the room. They manage to make it onto the bus on time.