After a series of scandals and run-ins with the law, Dustin Diamond is working to repair his public image and his relationship with his former "Saved by the Bell" co-stars.
The 39-year-old actor, who played Samuel "Screech" Powers on the beloved 1990s sitcom, appeared on Thursday's "The Dr. Oz Show," to apologize.
"Oddly enough, it's doing interviews like this and getting the word out there. This is my best weapon for repairing the damage that was caused by things that were done by people who took advantage of me and the situation I was in at the time," he told host Dr. Mehmet Oz, before turning to the camera to apologize to his former co-stars.
"I will say, guys, I think you're fantastic, working with you has been just one of the icons of my life and I'm sorry that this has taken advantage of me, the book and other situations I'm sure we'll talk about here," he said. "But I'm sure that you've experienced downfalls, as well, in your time and I'm still loving you guys."
After starring alongside Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies, Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley, for four seasons, Diamond went on to star in the spin-offs "The College Years" and "The New Class." Then in 2009, he wrote a tell-all book in which he claimed his co-stars were having sex with each other and using drugs on the set.
Now Diamond claims that he never wrote the book but that a ghostwriter did.
"As it turns out, the general public doesn’t realize, I didn’t write the book. I had a ghostwriter," he told Dr. Oz.
But the damage to his relationships with his former cast mates had already been done.
"I hadn't talked to most of the cast mates in a long time," Diamond said on the show. "Mario Lopez and I speak frequently and Dennis Haskins and I speak frequently. Of course, Slater and Belding. And they know what I went through, but the rest of the cast -- Mark Paul I haven't seen since I was 16 years old, so I feel terrible for it but what can I do? Unfortunately, being in the entertainment industry, you get fleeced a lot and you get taken advantage of a lot. And it hasn't been my first bout with that and so I've gotten good at just kind of brushing it off and moving forward. If I dwell on the past, then it just eats at me and there's nothing I can do about it."
Diamond is also trying to put his run-ins with the law behind him. His most recent arrest was in May 2016 for violating his probation after he served three months in a Wisconsin jail for allegedly stabbing a man during a bar brawl in 2014.
Now, the actor is working on repairing his public image with fans.
"It was very touching to have fans that came up to me and I've had people multiple times come up to me, I mean, we're talking hundreds and hundreds ... thousands of people that have come up and said, you got me through high school. You know, I was the Screech in my school and you represented everything that I felt at that time, which I never thought of when I was doing the show," he told Dr. Oz. "When I was 11 through 21, I was just memorizing lines and trying to make the live audience laugh and the producers laugh and everything else. Trying to work with my cast mates and make the director happy and everything else. It was work for me. I didn't think about the impact I had on the fan base until years later, until I got to meet them."