updated 04/04/2014 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/05/2014 AT 1:05 PM ET
Rob Lowe doesn’t want you to focus on his good looks.
The 50-year-old, whose second memoir, Love Life, is out on April 8, says in an interview with The New York Times Sunday Magazine that it’s not easy being pretty.
“There’s this unbelievable bias and prejudice against quote-unquote good-looking people, that they can’t be in pain or they can’t have rough lives or be deep or interesting,” he says. “They can’t be any of the things that you long to play as an actor. I’m getting to play those parts now and loving it. When I was a teen idol, I was so goddamn pretty I wouldn’t have taken myself seriously.”
The actor insists that there is “a historical bias that good-looking people are not funny,” but he’s proven to be the exception to that rule in projects like Parks and Recreation.
Lowe explains that it’s because deep down he’s not that cool.
“My deep dark secret is that I was a nerd in school,” he says. “I liked the theater. I liked to study. I wasn’t very good at sports. It took being famous to make me cool, which, by the way, I never forgot.”
Lowe learned about the darker side of fame in 1988 when his sex tape became public. But things have come full circle for the father of two – he’s now starring in the movie Sex Tape with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, about a couple whose homemade video goes missing.
The actor admits that the plotline wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for him. “Considering I pioneered the field, it’s high time I actually made some money in it,” he says of taking a role in the film. “Now that it’s a thing that suburban couples do when they’re bored, I decided it’s time to get back in the pool.”