Born ten minutes before his identical twin brother, Cody, Zack was born at St. Joseph's Hospital (known now as St. Joseph's Medical Plaza) in Seattle, Washington on a Sunday at 6:30 am in 1992. He traveled the nation with Cody and his mother Carey before finally settling into the Tipton Hotel as seen in the first episode of the series, "Hotel Hangout".
Zack is shown to have a Swedish heritage; in the episode "The Swede Life", Zack and Cody visit Sweden which they detail as the home of their ancestors.
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
Moved into the Tipton against their will, Zack and his brother Cody are forced to live with the bare minimum in a hotel suite while their mother sings in the lounge several nights a week. They are finally "settled", and make friends in school, though not without issue. Zack is best known for his pranks and jokes around the hotel, and usually gets a more severe punishment than his brother Cody. Though Zack is not as intelligent as his brother, he shows that if he works hard, he can accomplish anything.
Zack moves up through middle school with his brother and they encounter several problems both there and at home, often with Mr. Moseby or their mom. He eventually reaches high school, and an opportunity opens up for him and his brother to attend school aboard a cruise ship, the S.S. Tipton. The boys' mom, with her employment discount, sends them off into the world.
The Suite Life on Deck'
The Suite Life Movie
After accidentally losing a letter Cody wrote to Bailey, Zack reveals Cody's plans to leave the S.S. Tipton to attend a science internship. Shortly after, he asks Cody for the car which Cody would receive as a gift when going to college, but Cody refuses. Following this, still not having the car, Zack decides to follow Cody to his internship at a prestigious Vancouver science facility. Zack, trying to impress one of the assistants at the lab, ends up destroying some very expensive equipment. Cody then reveals that he hates Zack and doesn't think of him as a brother. Dr. Olsen, who is at the time disguised as Dr. Spalding, realizes that they would be perfect for the Gemini Project. He offers; they accept, and both eventually agree and arrive on the island.
The first phase of the project is to eat a specific fruit, this then causes the boys to be interconnected physically and feel each other's pain. The second phase then takes effect and they are able to think each other's thoughts. This then leads to a big fight and prompts Zack to leave the project. Zack is then reassured by Nellie that they need Zack there and he decides to stay. The boys then work out there problems and quickly overhear Dr. Olsen telling Nellie that Cody must lose his brain.
The two then sneak into Dr. Olsen's lab and learn about the other two stages. The third stage is that the two twins minds will combine to make one personality. The fourth and final stage is the hive, which would then allow Dr. Olsen to control all twins that have progressed to stage three. Dr. Olsen then catches the two sneaking around and tries to capture them, ordering all the twins to get Zack and Cody.
Dr. Olsen finally captures the twins and they are pinned to chairs in order to complete stage three. But Bailey, London, Woody, and Dr. Spalding rush in to stop him. Unfortunately, Olsen puts up an electric force field and states that no one can stop him. Dr. Spalding tells Dr. Olsen to show everyone who he really is, and it is revealed that he is Dr. Spalding's evil twin brother. He pushes the button and Cody and Zack begin to merge. The twins argue while they are merging and their conflict destroy the machine. The twins are freed and they rush up to their friends, though Dr. Olsen doesn't give up, and attempts to merge the twins again. Bailey ropes him using her lasso, rendering his plans futile. Dr. Spalding and Dr. Olsen are then given the same fruit that Dr. Olsen gave to Zack and Cody, which causes Dr. Olsen and Dr. Spalding to reveal how they feel about each other. Mr. Moseby then comes in with the police, taking Olsen away after he and Spalding had just made up.
Finally, Zack receives the car from Cody, only to have the car become crushed by an intermodal container.
Zack is a "player" when it comes to girls. Zack is not nearly as smart as Cody, and can be described as lazy. Zack is very good at sports such as basketball, baseball, and football. Even though he insults Cody, he is shown to be protective when other people are mean to him.
Unlike his brother Cody, who loses most of his prankster antics, Zack is still fond of pranking people throughout both of the series regardless of the often high consequences and already knowing he will be the first person blamed. He seemingly has an affinity for trouble making.
Zack is usually shown to be extremely lazy school-wise, in sharp contrast to his book smart brother. In "Goin' Bananas", he implicitly states that he would try harder; however, because of his brother's over-achieving personality, he explains that nothing he ever does is good enough. In line with this idea, despite Zack's obvious moments of intelligence, he can be short-sighted and lacking in his thoughts, making him appear dumb to others. He always relies on Cody to do his homework and school projects as Cody is clearly the more intelligent of the two. Zack is also a very good strategist, since the first episode he is shown to be able to make quite good plans that usually succeed or would succeed if an unseen second or third party didn't intervene.
In "The Ghost and Mr. Martin", Zack changed history when he learned of the tampered compass.
Zack has, on two occasions, proved to be an expert in surviving in the wild with little more than the shirt off his back. He's also an expert fisherman. Soon after he became a grizzly scout became the second highest person there, he also is good at tracking and stealth. In "Lost at Sea", he talks about having got neat hundreds of awards for many things, including saving someone (Cody's) life (despite claims from Cody that it was Zack who landed him in the situation), which, to Cody's dismay, also impresses Bailey very much.
In the episode "Books and Birdhouses", Zack is shown as very talented in making things out of wood, in the episode he was top of that class and was his teacher's favorite student.
Like his brother, Zack is about four feet tall with short blonde hair at the start of the series. He generally wears long-sleeved shirts with t-shirts over top, and skater pants or shorts along with skater shoes. Of the two, he generally appears to be far more laid back than his brother, who usually wears more formal clothing. Before the start of The Suite Life on Deck, Zack grew his hair longer, to be around shoulder length. As the series progresses, Zack grows to around five-foot-ten tall, and cuts his hair back to a much shorter length.
- Cody Martin - Zack's younger twin brother, he is the other main character of The Suite Life series. Though he doesn't always get along with Cody, the two share a strong brother-best-friend relationship and love each other.
- Carey Martin - Zack's mother. Carey is divorced from Kurt. Zack loves Carey, although he sometimes acts like he doesn't.
- Kurt Martin - Zack's father. Kurt is divorced from Carey. Zack loves Kurt, and often seems to prefer to see his dad.
- Knuut Martins - Zack's Swedish ancestor.
- Olaf Martins - Zack's Swedish ancestor.
- London Tipton - Zack's wealthy friend from the Tipton Hotel. In The Suite Life on Deck, they both head to the S.S. Tipton to attend Seven Seas High School.
- Bob - Zack's good friend on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
- Warren - Zack's friend on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.
- Woody Fink - Cody's messy roommate on The Suite Life On Deck. Zack and Cody are both very good friends with Woody.
- Marcus Little - Zack's roommate for some of the The Suite Life on Deck series. Zack and Marcus are good friends.
- Bailey Pickett - Cody's girlfriend for the majority of the The Suite Life on Deck series. Zack and Bailey are good friends.
Zack likes and flirts with many girls, but has never really had one long-term girlfriend, although he seems to be serious with his current girlfriend, Maya. In "Prom Night", they take each other for dates.
- Maddie Fitzpatrick - He calls her "sweet thang" and despite flirting with other girls, Zack had a crush on Maddie throughout all three seasons of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Throughout the series, he frequently flirts with her and tries to impress her, though is constantly rejected due to the three-year age difference between them. Zack expresses genuine love for her and believes that she loves him in return but 'just doesn't know it yet'. Though he has a huge crush on her in the whole series, it is the most major in season one. In seasons two and three, he still has feelings for her, but he also flirts with other girls. In "A Prom Story", where he eventually gets to dance with her. In "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Hotel", it is revealed that his greatest dream is to marry Maddie. Zack expresses jealousy whenever Maddie is shown to fall for another boy, such as in "Maddie Checks In" and "Rumors". He seems to love Maddie more than his own mother as shown in "Pilot Your Own Life". He always performs kind actions towards Maddie, such as being the only one to show up at her sixteenth birthday party in "Not So Suite 16" (despite London's bribery of big screen TVs) and ensuring that her work in Lip Syncin' in the Rain is given credit for. Throughout the show, his love for her is expressed in many subtle nuances. In the On Deck episode "Maddie on Deck," Maddie kisses Zack for confidence. When Maddie returned in "Maddie on Deck", Zack resumed the crush he had on her throughout all three seasons of the previous series. This time, she started responding to his crush by kissing him. (See also Zack-Maddie Relationship.)
- Max - Zack and Cody became friends with Max and 'Tapeworm' in the first aired episode and second produced episode. Later in the episode, Zack and Cody ditch them but soon get back with them. In "Kisses & Basketball", Max kisses Zack on the lips and this annoys Zack. Zack and Max stop speaking to each other and stop passing the ball to each other in Basketball. Because Cody, 'Tapeworm' and some other kids wanted the team to win, they made Zack ask Max on a date. Max accepts. Zack then finds out he actually likes her. Then when he tells Max that he originally didn't want to go but found out it was fun, Max gets angry and leaves. They later make-up and become friends again. In "Club Twin", Zack asks Max to help the club get money, and Zack offers $10 and a kiss. Max agrees for the money but not the kiss.
- Agnes - Agnes had a liking for both twins in the episode, "Crushed", but neither one of the twins liked her.
- Jolie - In the episode "French 101", Zack and Cody both fight over the French girl Jolie. At the end of the episode, Jolie kisses Zack, angering Cody when he sees them.
- Jessica and Janice Ellis - Zack and Cody have gone on double dates with these two several times during the second season, but they like Cody instead of Zack.
- Darlene - Zack had a crush on her in the episode, "Ask Zack". He manages to use the Ask Shirley advice column in the school newspaper (which Cody appointed him in the position) to get Darlene to go out with him, though his scheme gets found out by Darlene later in the episode, when letters from those needing advice from 'Shirley' accidentally spill out of his backpack, and she breaks up with him. Zack later apologizes to Darlene in the school paper (and inadvertently reveals to everyone at school that he is the person behind Ask Shirley in the process), and manages to win her over, much to Cody's dismay.
- Vanessa - Zack had a crush on her during the episode, "A Midsummer's Nightmare". Vanessa does not like Zack, instead she likes Cody.
- Gwen - In "A Midsummer's Nightmare," she is Cody's girlfriend originally, though Zack and Gwen kiss while running lines during rehearsals for the school production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and it was revealed that Gwen started to like Zack and she breaks up with Cody. Gwen's crush on Zack ended with the episode; otherwise they are very good friends.
- Ella - During the episode Miniature Golf, Zack went out with Ella twice and attempts to beat her at miniature golf when she beats him at the game.
- Haley - When Zack had to go to summer school, he only flirts with a girl named Haley, and if she gets scared she puts a paper bag over her head.
- Betsy - Zack told London that she was a "rat-roach" exterminator in "Sleepover Suite". He later kissed her so that she wouldn't be able to tell London that she wasn't. After he kisses another girl, she gets angry and slaps him.
- Amber - Zack fell for Amber, and tried to talk her into dating him in the episode, "First Day of High School". She is a year older than Zack, and she refuses to date a younger guy.
- Abby - Zack went out with her twice during the episode, "A Tale of Two Houses". Abby found out that Zack lied to her, but she forgave him.
- Dakota - Zack had Travis (Jaden Smith) cook in secret pretending it was him who cooked to impress her in "Romancing the Phone".
- Sabrina Bryan - In the episode "Doin' Time in Suite 2330", Zack subdues her by saying she's his favorite amongst the members of the music group The Cheetah Girls.
- Kiely Williams - In the episode "Doin' Time in Suite 2330", she hugs Zack because he says she's his favorite amongst the members of The Cheetah Girls. When he says this to the other cheetahs she gets angry.
- Adrienne Bailon - In the episode "Doin' Time in Suite 2330", Zack tells her she's his favorite amongst the members of The Cheetah Girls.
- London Tipton - They've had a number of interactions seen as hints towards a possible relationship.
- Violet Berg - She and Zack had a romance in "Kidney of The Sea".
- Olivia Cabot - The daughter of Harvard's Dean of Admissions, Monroe Cabot. She and Zack dated in "Shipnotized" but Cabot has to approve of boys Olivia dates and Cabot didn't approve of Zack but he approves of Cody so Zack makes it look like Cody is dating Olivia. In the end, Cabot finds out and Zack and Olivia stop dating. Though Olivia's outrageous behavior after being hypnotized might have also contributed.
- Marissa - In the episode "Splash and Trash", Zack finds a girl floating in the ocean and believes she's a mermaid, before learning that she is actually a competitive swimmer and after learning that she has no time to relax because her father wants her to work harder to win the gold, Zack teaches Marissa how to relax and act like a normal teenager. Zack later convinces her to go after her dreams but live a normal life, after she tells her dad on the phone that she is quitting swimming. She says that he is a 'really great friend', but they will be just friends only until she wins the gold medal in the Olympics, and then she will be looking for someone (Zack) to celebrate with her.
- Alex Russo - In the episode "Double Crossed" (part of the "Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana" special), Zack is seen flirting with Alex. His obsession comes in handy when she needs to hide in his room, to which he responds by looking up to the sky, putting his hands together and saying, "Thank you!" Later on, when he discovered that Alex used him to cover up a prank, he insults her by calling her cunning, sadistic, and cold-hearted, but this was immediately followed by, "Where have you been all my life?" Alex then showed a temporary interest, but then was dragged away by her brother to be punished for the prank.
- Tanya - Zack dated her in "Ala-ka-scram!" but she left him when he showed up late.
- Becky - In "Smarticle Particles", Zack pretended to like Becky and goes out with her so she wouldn't beat him up. He later asks Woody to flirt with her and when he catches them in each other's arms after Woody slips, he breaks up with her. He later sees her and becomes attracted to her, but she is already going out with Woody.
- Hilary - A girl Zack dates in "Family Thais". Zack originally liked her friend Sasha (Erica Aulds) and she liked Cody but upon hearing the other two were already in relationships, Zack and Hilary got together.
- Jenna - Zack flirted with her in the episode "Lost at Sea".
- Tiffany - Zack dated her in "Roomies".
- Dorta - A Swedish girl Zack liked in "The Swede Life". Her ancestor Ingrid originally like his ancestor Knut but married another guy when he was shipped to fall of the face of the Earth.
- Janice - In "Model Behavior", Janice is shown to have a crush on Zack, but Zack waits too long and she starts dating Woody instead.
- Maya Bennett - Maya appears in season three. Zack flirts with her but Maya ignores his motives. Later, Zack looks in Cody's six-month plan book and fails to impress due to the plan being designed for Bailey. Cody tells Zack to treat Maya as a friend; therefore Zack becomes Maya's friend. In "Das Boots" when Zack, Woody, London and Maya almost die by running out of oxygen in London's shoe submarine, Zack admits his love for Maya. Maya reciprocates that she feels the same way, but when they get saved by Cody, Maya resents the idea of becoming Zack's girlfriend. In the episode, "Party On!" Zack and Maya shared their first kiss. In "Graduation on Deck", Maya left to join the Peace Corps, and broke up with Zack.
- "Hey beautiful. I don't always smell like this. Unless you like it!"
- "Hey, sweet thang!"
- "Maybe she'll have a lousy time on your date. You are as boring as a stick. Actually, worse. You can play with a stick."
- "Mr. Moseby, you just don't know what it's like to deal with kids!"
- In "Bon Voyage", Zack said Marcus was the only roommate he had that he didn't hate, although Bailey was his roommate for most of "The Suite Life Sets Sail".
- In "What the Hey?" Zack can do a perfect impression of his mother.
- The way his name is spelled has caused some confusion. In "Rumors" Cody spells it "Z-A-C-K." But in episodes such as "Forever Plaid" and "Sink or Swim" his name tag says "Zach." Also in the closed captions for some episodes, it is "Zack" but in others it's "Zach."