Mark-Paul Gosselaar Reveals Why He Fired His Mom as a Teenager

"There's a fine line between being a manager and being a parent," the 'Passage' actor, now 45, who dismissed his mother at age 19 during his 'Saved By the Bell' fame, revealed during a sit-down for Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast.
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Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell — and who these days stars in Fox's The Passage — sat down with THR's Scott Feinberg for his Awards Chatter podcast and opened up about the time when, at age 19, he fired his mother, Paula, as his manager.

Gosselaar revealed that he noticed that he wasn't getting the same treatment his actor peers were getting from their managers, things like meetings, auditions and strategic opportunities. “There’s a fine line between being a manager and being a parent,” said Gosselaar, now 45. “You’re driving your kids to set and taking them to auditions, and I don’t know if that categorizes [someone] as being a manager. I don’t think a parent should be compensated for just being a parent. I don’t think you need 10 percent to sit on set and basically chaperone your son or daughter. That was a conversation I had to have [with my mother] at age 19.”

He added that it was not unusual at that time. "We all sort of grew up in that same era where parents were managers," he said, adding that it was also an era during which his peers had agents who primarily represented younger talent — hence why he and his Saved by the Bell peers never saw a windfall of syndication cash like other casts have.

"You'd have to talk to our agents," he said. "Our deals — even our merchandise deals — are laughable. it's a shame, it really is. I don't think any of us are losing sleep over it, but it's one of those things where you'd like to be compensated in the fashion that some of these shows have been. Some people made some really poor decisions on our behalf." 

One piece of good news: Gosselaar and his mother have since reconciled.

A version of this story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.