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We Can't Get Enough of Mark-Paul Gosselaar's Adorable IRL Friendship with Tiffani Amber Thiessen
It's hard to believe the Found star once played teenage heartthrob Zack Morris, one half of Saved by the Bell's it couple with Kelly Kapowski.
Do you remember the pop-culture phenomenon that was Saved by the Bell’s love story between Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Amber Thiessen)? The teens' romance won viewers' hearts — and we have some good news for Kelly and Zack fans: You’ll be happy to hear their “Friends Forever” game is still going strong.
Who are Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski?
Years before starring on NBC’s Found, Gosselaar starred as the bottle-bleach rapscallion Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell, handholding (primarily child and teen) audiences through the hallways and classrooms of Bayside High.
The sitcom — a spinoff of NBC’s short-lived Good Morning, Miss Bliss (later known as Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years) — followed Zack through many of his oft-mischievous antics. Each episode customarily ended in a wholesome life lesson to be learned across four seasons between 1989 and 1993. The series had all the California surfer vibes and radical ’90s fashion needed to sustain young viewers for decades (though we could do without Zack Morris’s brick-sized cell phone).
Gosselaar’s adolescent character was first introduced in Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which ran from 1987 to 1989, alongside his S.B.T.B. co-stars, save for Tiffani Thiessen, who first appeared in the mainstay series during its premiere season in 1989.
Thiessen played the pom-pom-shaking high school cheerleader Kelly Kapowski, and together, Bayside’s it-couple left audiences love-sick and dreamy-eyed, even throughout the series’ spinoff Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993-1994). Several other S.B.T.B. spinoff series and films would follow, including the most recent 2020-2021 revival now available on Peacock.
Did Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani Amber Thiessen date?
In the late 1980s, Thiessen auditioned for a role on Good Morning, Miss Bliss (starring Gosselaar) but failed to snag the part. But during Saved by the Bell, she and Gosselaar were the relationship goals for many T.V.-hungry adolescents, giving us an onscreen happily ever after.
It was little surprise that the pair also dated in real life.
As covered in E! Online’s behind-the-scenes’ Saved by the Bell: Secretes Revealed in 2019, Thiessen recalled when she sipped alcohol for the first time with Gosselaar.
“Mark-Paul and I got to go to Paris [for a press tour]. We ate crepes, and my first sip of alcohol was with him,” Thiessen reportedly confessed to PEOPLE. “It felt at times like we were Ken and Barbie.”
The S.B.T.B. actors often dated their castmates, which Gosselaar once referred to as “incestuous,” though it wasn’t entirely unexpected for a bunch of teenagers working in close proximity.
Actor Ed Alonzo (who played Max from The Max on the series) remembered Thiessen and Gosselaar’s chemistry offset, even when Gosselaar was dating co-star Lark Voorhies.
“They kinda liked each other a bit,” Alonzo told Entertainment Tonight in 2018. “They liked each other a lot. It was very cute. It was handholding and looking over.”
Are Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani Amber Thiessen still friends?
Post-Saved by the Bell, Thiessen and Gosselaar have continued to have success on the small screen, and perhaps even more importantly, they remained close friends, as Thiessen made known in a 2021 interview with Us Weekly. While promoting a partnership with Nutri-Grain, Thiessen said she and Gosselaar “live totally close together” and that their families have “a lot of fun” hanging out together.
Thiessen claimed she and her husband, Brady Smith, even double-dated with Gosselaar and his wife, Catriona McGinn. She noted the time, though, going out was more difficult to schedule between the former Beverly Hills, 90210 star’s young daughter Harper and son Holt (then ages 11 and 6, respectively) and Gosselaar’s son Dekker Edward and daughter Lachlyn Hope (then ages 8 and 6; he also has a 17-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son with ex-wife, Lisa Russell.)
Gosselaar and Thiessen might have to juggle responsibilities, but they get by with a little help from their friends. In 2020, Gosselaar took to social media to say he needed some eggs. Later, he posted an Instagram video showing a gift basket of eggs from Thiessen with a note that read: “Fresh butt nuggets for the Gosselaar family,” per Us Weekly.
“Here’s the deal,” Gosselaar said in his video. “I ran out of eggs, and I called a friend of mine who has chickens, and I said, ‘Hey, can you help me out?’ So, she left me a few.”
Gosselaar returned the favor, Thiessen told the outlet.
“He actually left beer for my husband, and I actually made a joke,” said Thiessen. “I said, ‘You know, I’m the one who actually gave the eggs; where was my thank you?’ It goes to show you that he loves my husband. Like, the two of them have a great relationship so they have a lot of fun together.”
Gosselaar and Thiessen also enjoyed a double date with their respective partners in 2020 for Thiessen’s cooking show, Dinner at Tiffani’s, as reported by PEOPLE.
Then, in 2021, Thiessen playfully celebrated the Saved by the Bell’s wedding anniversary, which happened during the 1994 spinoff Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.
“Happy 27th Anniversary Kelly & Zach,” Thiessen captioned on Instagram with a flashback photo of the couple dressed to the nines. “Way to keep the love going.”
The Here We Go Again cookbook writer hashtagged #Friendsforever, a nod to a S.B.T.B. song by their fictionalized band, Zack Attack.