The Laid-Back Life of Erin and Rob Estes
Erin and Rob Estes can’t agree on how long they have lived in San Clemente. Erin says three and a half years and Rob thinks it’s five. Their confusion is understandable considering the couple have spent the better part of the past decade moving among Santa Monica, San Clemente and Seattle, living in each place more than once, before deciding to settle in Orange County to take advantage of “the laid-back vibe,” excellent schools and family-friendly atmosphere.
Rob is an actor, best-known for his role as Kyle McBride on “Melrose Place,” Harry Wilson on the WB “90210” reboot and Sgt. Chris Lorenzo on the ’90s USA crime drama series “Silk Stalkings,” a campier version of “Law & Order SVU” (which he has been on as well). Erin is a former surf instructor who now works for an events marketing company.
They live in a self-described “bubble” on the beach in San Clemente with their 5-year-old son, Makai, and Rob’s 17-year-old son, Mason. (Rob’s 14-year-old daughter, Maya, lives in Seattle with her mom, actress Josie Bissett, but visits regularly). After years of living a nomadic lifestyle, the Estes clan is putting roots down in a community that revels in relaxation and allows them to pursue their passions without compromising their values.
Our Neighborhood: San Clemente
Why we live there:
Rob: Schools are so much better here – Mason is at San Clemente High School and he’s academically challenged. There’s less traffic, and for what we got in Santa Monica – a two-bedroom apartment – we pay about the same here and we have a four-bedroom house in a gated community on the beach. It’s just a different vibe. Families, kids everywhere. It’s safe.
Erin: There’s definitely not the stressed-out L.A. vibe in San Clemente. It’s way laid-back. We joke that none of the dads work because they are all so involved here.
What we do:
Rob: I have been acting for about 30 years. At first I did stunts, and I was also break dancing because I needed to get a SAG card and back then you had to have a specialty. I got mine break dancing in a Slice commercial the same day that Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire.
I went to Santa Monica High School with Rob Lowe, Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, but I wasn’t involved in theater. We all played sports, so I thought that athletics was cooler. I became interested in acting when I was working with Hubie Kerns, who was Batman’s stunt double, and he was saying that sometimes they want you to be able to say a few lines before you fall off the building or get shot or get hit, and I thought that was fun, so I auditioned for USC’s BFA program. My junior year I left when I got a job on “Days of Our Lives.”
Erin: I am doing marketing for an events company and substitute teaching at a private prep school here. I used to be the surfing coach at St. Margaret’s, and I also taught surfing for Roxy surf camps.
Where/how we met:
Erin: We got set up on a blind date by mutual friends. I was living here, and our first date was in San Clemente.
Rob: I was in Seattle and L.A., going back and forth every couple of weeks, but I didn’t actually have a place in L.A. up until that point. I was staying with my sister in San Clemente when we met. Then I got a job on “Women’s Murder Club,” and I got a place in Santa Monica.
My perfect day:
Rob: Hitting the beach trail.
Erin: Getting Makai to school, going for a run on the beach trail, going to a barre class and then going to sushi as a family at night. That’s a pretty darn good day.
Erin: I’d go to Hawaii because Hawaii is one of the few places where I can completely relax. I love the North Shore; it’s definitely my most calming spot.
Rob: Snowboarding in Whistler is one of my favorite getaways. I like Mammoth as well, and then there is something about walking around New York City with Christmas decorations that’s great.
Rob: My hot yoga class; it’s just the best. I leave there and I am recharged. I’ve got my anti-crazy suit on after I leave that class. Crazy energy can’t come in for a while.
Erin: Sitting down by the San Clemente Pier, or there’s a beach called T-Street that, ever since I was a kid, is my total chill zone. I can sit on this bench and I just love it.
The better surfer:
Rob: Erin. Definitely.
Rob: Tom Hardy. He goes full tilt no matter what he’s doing. He can go crazy and it’s completely believable. You don’t see an actor pushing anything, you just go, “Oh, my gosh, this guy is telling a story from some kind of subconscious understanding.” So it’s almost like he doesn’t know what’s coming next, and that’s just fun to watch.
Erin: My husband of course! Besides Rob, Edward Norton has always been my favorite; I feel like he can pull off anything. Right now I’m a little obsessed with a show called “This Is Us” with Milo Ventimiglia. I think he is by far, besides my husband, the best TV actor I’ve ever seen.
Rob’s Favorite acting role:
Rob: In 2006 I did a show called “The Evidence” with Martin Landau and Orlando Jones. I played a police officer who was trying to solve a crime that ended his wife’s life while still working and fighting alcoholism. That was challenging.
Erin: In terms of watching him in a role, out of all of the things he has done, I think he is amazing at hosting.
What We’re Up to Now:
Rob: I just wrapped the first season of a VH1 show based on Star Jones’ satirical novel “Satan’s Sisters.” Star Jones is one of the executive producers, and it’s based on the behind-the-scenes drama of a talk show driven by women and all of the fun stuff that happens with those personalities. I play a sitcom dad who’s a superstar, and I come in as a guest on the fictional talk show and develop a love interest with one of the younger cast members.
Erin: On April 30, I have an event that I’ve been working on for a few months. It’s a celebration of recovery from addiction in the form of a festival and a 5K in San Francisco. We’re hoping to bring it to Southern California in the next five years.
Red or white:
Erin: I had always done red, and the last two years I can only do white (because red wine gives me headaches), but I’ll take bourbon any day.
Angels or Dodgers:
Best family values:
Erin: No electronics at dinner. We’re a strong non-electronic family, and at night our routine with Makai is books, teeth, books, bed.
Rob: And 80-90 percent of the time we all have dinner together every night. I like coming together at night as a family after being fractured all day.
Favorite place to shop that is not a chain:
Erin: Amuse Society (ready-to-wear beach
chic clothing). I don’t like shopping, and everything I get from them just fits.
Rob: Our neighborhood has a lot of designers for surf companies, and Amuse is one of them. I like Vissla – which is also run by someone who lives in the neighborhood. It’s surf gear and men’s clothes.
How we relax:
Rob: Playing music. It’s something that I’ve always liked. I was in ninth grade, and I was drumming on my desk when I was supposed to be listening to an algebra lesson, and some girl turned around, and I thought she was going to tell me to stop, instead she said “That’s amazing, you’ve got really good rhythm,” and somehow I slowly started playing guitar and piano and clinking at things. It calms me down.
Erin: It really does. You can tell when he’s had a rough day because he’s playing music.
Rob: That and gardening, chopping things down.
Erin: Trees go away when Rob’s not happy.
What surprises people about us:
Rob: I recently started selling real estate in Orange County. One of my neighbors offered me a job with Berkshire Hathaway. It’s been great. I’ve met really cool people and gotten to experience a lot of great properties, and I like it. It’s fun. Erin is really good at looking at opportunities and taking advantage of them, and that was part of the interest, part of the spark.
Erin: I’m a closet real estate lover.