The Top 10 Secrets & Scandals From 'Saved By The Bell' EXPOSED (October 2014)
Saved By the Bell was everyone's favorite squeaky-clean '90s sitcom. But behind the scenes, the teen actors were not so innocent. Mario Lopez, who played jock A.C. Slater on the hit show, spills all in his new memoir, Just Between Us.
- Lopez, now 40, says when he auditioned for his famous role as Bayside High's hot jock at just 15, he wasn't even really interested in snagging the part. "With my hormones in charge, frankly, I was more interested in chasing girls than trekking up to LA to read for a part that had barely been sketched out on paper," the married father of two writes.
- Dustin Diamond, who played nerd Samuel "Screech" Powers, didn't get along with the other cast members. "He was one of those dorky kids who thought it was hilarious to take Polaroids of his genitals and leave the photos all over set," Lopez reveals. "Annoying as that was, it was in keeping with his TV persona."
- While Lopez loved partying as a teen, his costar Mark-Paul Gosselaar wasn't classically cool like his character Zack Morris. "He was nothing like the hot-to-trot Zack and really not yet into the dating, social scene that interested me," Lopez says. "[His mom] never really let him hang out…He was sheltered that way."
- Though Slater dated brainy Jessi Spanno (played by Elizabeth Berkley), off camera, Lopez pursued the gorgeous Tiffani Thiessen, who starred as cheerleader Kelly Kapowski. After she broke up with a much older boyfriend, Thiessen and Lopez "went to movies, went out to eat, hung out at parties, danced together," he recalls.
- Big drama! Though the romance was "official," Lopez admits he cheated on Thiessen. "I thought that being loyal to Tiffani was the right thing to do. But I can't say that I was capable at that age of following through on my noble intentions," he confesses.
- After the show became a hit, Lopez became a teen icon— but fans' mothers went after him, too! "Girls and/or moms would approach and shake my hand and the phone number would be in their palm, as if I was getting greased with some money," he writes. "All that girl attention, I should add, was not terrible."
- Slater's curly mullet was the real star of the show, but Lopez claims his signature 'do wasn't natural. "Mom, who must have been some kind of closet stylist, decided to try out an 'at home' perm on me," he admits. "The classic curl worked on me — so much so that later on, when she stopped the perms, casting people would ask if I could curl it again."
- During his first season, Lopez says he made just $3,000 an episode — and naively signed a strict contract that prevented him from earning money from endorsements or merchandise. "If my agent in that era had been more savvy— or if we'd had any guess about how popular the show was going to be — I would have tried to avoid signing a ridiculous contract," he says.
- Though the show took place in California, SBTB was a huge hit in France! "To this day, French people will come up to me and say, 'Sauves par le gong,'" he reveals.
- Lopez admits that if social media and the Internet were readily available during his SBTB years, he would have been a gossip target. "I'm grateful that Facebook [and] Twitter...weren't around when I was a teen and a twentysomething," he writes. "Most likely I would not have gotten away with the crazier escapades that played themselves out at different stages and probably would have wound up with a lot more drama and heartache."