HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT – MARCH 18: Mark-Paul Gosselaar of the TV series “Saved by the Bell” attends the carpet at 90s Con on March 18, 2023 in Hartford, Connecticut. Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

The ‘Saved by the Bell’ alum opened up about how a previous role impacted his home life, causing him and his wife to go to therapy together

Published 09/18/23 12:41 PM ET|Updated 09/18/23 12:58 PM ET

Charmaine Patterson

Mark-Paul Gosselaar is doing what he can to make sure his life as an actor does not impact his life at home. While at 90s Con with his Saved by the Bell co-stars, the actor was asked how he navigates family life while taping a “dark” project.

“I wasn’t necessarily a villain but it was a role where I gained a lot of muscle. I was playing a catcher for the San Diego Padres [for the show Pitch],” he recalled at Saturday’s 90s Con celebration in Tampa, Fla. — which went on in compliance with certain SAG-AFTRA guidelines amid the ongoing union strikes.

The series followed the fictional story of an all-star pitcher named Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) who was the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. Gosselaar starred as a Hall of Famer named Mike Lawson.

“I had to go to therapy with my wife,” he said, adding that unlike previous roles, “I was 30 minutes away from home every day. I’d come home with a big beard. I’m playing this really aggressive baseball player. I’d come in through that front door and like my wife said in therapy sessions, ‘That’s not the guy I married.'” (Gosselaar and advertising executive Catriona McGinn wed in 2012.)

He explained, “It is actually really difficult to go back and forth, especially when you have kids. I consider myself a husband first, a family man second and an actor third. It’s not easy, but I have an understanding family and a wife and we work through it, we communicate about it. But I’m not gonna lie it is tough when you play really intense characters like that.”

The series aired on Fox in the fall of 2016 for one season before it was canceled.

“I wanted to quit the industry after that … ,” said Gosselaar. “That’s one of those you feel like in your lifetime you’re not going to be handed opportunities like that. So for that to pass in the fashion that it did, it was a gut punch.”