Before he became a host, Mario Lopez was best known for his acting work. Though many recognize him for the hit NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell, it wasn’t his first gig. Discover more about his career and personal history, as well as the popular musician he briefly dated pre-fame.
Mario Lopez became famous for starring in ‘Saved by the Bell’
Lopez rose to prominence in the ’90s for Saved by the Bell. He portrayed AC Slater, who comes across as the stereotypical jock, but ultimately shows he’s far more than that. Slater is best friends (and often romantic rivals) with Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Zack Morris (who he calls “Preppy”), with whom he often gets into trouble.
Saved by the Bell ended in 1993. Though a couple of spinoffs followed it, they never achieved the same success as the original. In 2020, the NBC-owned Peacock streaming service debuted a revival series of the same name, featuring Lopez, Gosselaar, and others from the show reprising their roles. Only now, they’re the adults.
He transitioned into a host with ‘Extra’
After Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Lopez continued to act. But aside from a role in the crime drama Pacific Blue, he turned his attention to hosting. He hosted the daytime talk show The Other Half, the Animal Planet series Pet Star, and the reality competition program America’s Best Dance Crew.
In 2008, Lopez landed what might be his most popular role to date: Host of the Hollywood news program Extra. His work with the show kept him busy for a decade — though he occasionally appeared as himself in series like Jane the Virgin and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In 2019, Lopez left Extra for Access Hollywood.
Lopez dated his ‘Kids Incorporated’ co-star Stacy Ferguson
Before Saved by the Bell, Lopez appeared in the children’s program Kids Incorporated. Much like similar shows of the era such as The Mickey Mouse Club, the series featured kids and teenagers singing and dancing while learning lessons. Lopez was a background dancer and drummer during the first three seasons.
During his time on the show, Lopez briefly dated one of its stars: Stacy Ferguson, aka Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. “I wrote her a note and, as she likes to point out, I was very smooth at 10 because I bought her perfume,” he told People in 2009. Lopez notes that she was his “first kiss,” adding, “I’m happy for all of her success.”
Who is Mario Lopez married to, and how many kids does he have?
Lopez has been married twice. First to actor Ali Landry in 2004, though their marriage was annulled after just a couple of weeks. After dating Karina Smirnoff (his partner on Dancing with the Stars), Lopez met Courtney Lopez (then Mazza), another dancer. They tied the knot in 2012.
The Lopezs have three children: Daughter Gia, born in 2010, son Dominic, born in 2013, and son Santino, born in 2019. Since becoming a father, Lopez has taken on more animated voice roles, including Social Smurf in the Smurf franchise and Cruz in the Disney Channel series Elena of Avalor.
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