Saved by the Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar and his former co-star Dustin Diamond were not close in the years after their series ended, and Gosselaar is now speaking out as to why that was. On Wednesday, Gosselaar spoke out on his podcast, Zack to the Future, and explained that two simply "drifted apart."Sadly, Diamond died in February after a short battle with Stage 4 cancer. He was 44 years old at the time of his passing.
"It’s no secret that the rest of the cast wasn’t very close with Dustin towards the end of his life," Gosselaar said. "The only thing I can say to that is there’s really nothing that caused that. Some people will speculate that 'Oh, well, he wrote a book,' oh, he did this, oh, he did that. I know for me I would look at that and just go, 'You know what? That’s Dustin.' I could see where he would have to do things to make ends meet. Never took it personally."
The Zack Morris actor then revealed that he and Diamond actually had a good interaction with one another just a couple of years ago. "We actually did a comic-con back in 2019, end of the year. Saw him. He looked healthy. Met his girlfriend," he said. "We had a nice little conversation and we took some photos together with some of the fans. And that was it. We didn’t talk after that."
Gosselaar explained that it is not uncommon for actors to work together for years and not have a long-term close relationship afterward. "I’ve worked with a lot of people in my career and there are very few people that I still remain in contact with. I’ve really enjoyed almost everyone that I’ve worked with. I mean, I could count on one hand the people I would never call and don’t have too many nice things to say about them," he shared. "Dustin was not one of them. I would reach out to him if he needed me, but over the years, we kind of just drifted apart."
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dustin Diamond, a true comedic genius. My sincere condolences to his family and friends. Looking back at our time working together, I will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce. A pie in your face, my comrade.— Mark-Paul Gosselaar (@MPG) February 1, 2021
Gosselaar also addressed Diamond not being part of the Saved by the Bell reboot on Peacock. He explained that there had been talks to include Diamond in Season 1, "but COVID cut that short." Gosselaar then confirmed that they "were talking to get Dustin on the reboot for the second season."
Finally, Gosselaar spoke well of his late co-star and expressed sympathy for those close to Diamond. "I just want people to know that he was an amazing actor on this show. He was a good friend, but other than that, I don’t know much about Dustin ‘cause for 20-plus years, we just were not in each other’s lives. But my memories of him are all positive," he said. "I feel for his family and friends and hoping he’s resting in peace."