By Chris Nashawaty
March 29, 2011 at 05:25 PM EDT
Sam Handel

Rob Lowe gives a taste of his upcoming autobiography in the new issue of Vanity Fair, including his reminiscences of his early days in Hollywood palling around with Charlie Sheen and Tom Cruise. “We competed to see who could play harder, then show up for work and still kick a–,” Lowe says of his hard-partying youth. So, who played harder: him or Sheen? “Charlie by a nose.”

In Lowe’s book, the actor writes that in their younger days in Malibu, Sheen was “one of a kind … a Polo preppy clotheshorse in a world of O.P. shorts and surf t-shirts” and “a wonderful mix of nerd … and rebel.” “At my house we are still saving money by not buying desserts,” comparing his life to the Sheens who lived nearby. “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.”

Lowe remembers hanging out with his Outsiders co-stars, Tom Cruise and Patrick Swayze. He describes Swayze as “as cool as you want, wearing tight jeans and a tattered, sleeveless Harley-Davidson T-shirt revealing his massive, ripped arms. (This is his uniform, he never changes it, and if I looked like him, neither would I).”  Lowe also paints another Outsiders co-star, Matt Dillon, as a ladies’ man, picking up a young fan in the hotel lobby. He also refers to the only female star of the film, Diane Lane, as everyone’s on-set crush: “At only 16, she already seems like a legend… I watch as she breezes by with her chaperone. With all the teen testosterone on this movie, she’ll need one!” Lowe also talks about some of his early conquests, too, including Demi Moore, Nastassja Kinski, and Princess Stephanie, whom the actor recalls with “a fair amount of residual pride” had a poster of him.

Explaining how he landed in rehab after the Brat Pack boom began to wane, Lowe says, “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.”

Read more:

Charlie Sheen says Rob Lowe should replace him on ‘Two and a Half Men’

‘Parks and Recreation’ exec producer Mike Schur: ‘No truth’ to rumors of Rob Lowe replacing Charlie Sheen on ‘Two and a Half Men’

Your favorite Brat Pack quote?