Mark-Paul Gosselaar is speaking out about Dustin Diamond. (Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2020)
As he explained on his Zack to the Future podcast Wednesday, the two didn’t fall out, they simply fell out of touch over the years. “The only thing I can say is there’s really nothing that caused that,” Gosselaar said. “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. [I] never took it personally.”
Diamond died Feb. 1, weeks after being diagnosed with Stage 4, small-cell lung cancer. In the years after the popular teen sitcom ended, he had written the 2009 book Behind the Bell, which was critical of his co-stars, and appeared on reality shows, such as Celebrity Fit Club.
Gosselaar recalled that he had last encountered Diamond about two years before he died.
“We did a Comic-Con back in 2019,” Gosselaar said. “I saw him. He looked healthy. I met his girlfriend. We had a nice little conversation and we took some photos with some of the fans. That was it. We didn’t talk after that.”
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Dustin Diamond star in a 1989 episode of Saved by the Bell. (Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank)
Still, he insisted that it wasn’t because something had gone wrong between them. Gosselaar maintained that he never disliked Diamond, and he praised his co-star’s performance in their ’90s hit.
“The respect I have for him is immense. He was an amazing actor on the show. He was a good friend,” he said. “But other than that, I don’t know much about Dustin because for 20-plus years we were not in each other’s lives. But my memories of him are all positive, and I feel for all of his family and friends.”
Gosselaar revealed that the revival of the show had been in talks to have Diamond appear, when he learned of Diamond’s illness from cast mate Mario Lopez.
Many of Diamond’s former cast mates paid tribute to him when he died, including both Lopez and Gosselaar.
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