Richard Simmons has broken his silence on his two-year absence from public life. In two exclusive television interviews, via phone, the fitness guru responded to a tabloid report that he is being held captive in his home and dispelled various rumors.
In two interviews in as many days, the now 67-year-old 1980s icon, who rose to fame with his ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’ workout videos, was outspoken in denouncing the claims in a story in the New Daily News.
With an alarming clickbait title, “The Haunted Twilight of Richard Simmons,’ the article quoted extensively from the alleged first-person account of Brazilian visual artist Mauro Oliveira, who was formerly Simmons’ masseur and assistant. Shee numerous allegations; that he was frail in appearance, that he being controlled and held hostage by his longtime housekeeper Teresa Reveles, and that black magic was somehow involved. The article also quoted five unnamed sources who told similar stories of confinement and control. In its totality it created a bleak and tragic portrait.
Richard Simmons spoke first with Entertainment Tonight in a phone interview saying that the article was “very hurtful.” He went on to say, “I am not kidnapped. I am just in my house right now.”
Continuing, he added, “No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me.”
He also said, “For the last 40 years I have been traveling, teaching classes, and I had a knee injury, so I had a knee replacement, which was very difficult for me. I have really just been taking it easy, staying at home, working out in my gym and doing the things I haven’t done in a very long time.”
Richard Simmons was last seen in public, on camera in January 2014. It was TMZ who videoed him, and months later broke the story of his knee injury claiming he had disappeared from sight due to “injury and depression” and quoted unnamed friends who said that he had gone “radio silent” on them. This prompted Simmons to take to his official Facebook page to post a message to reassure fans.
Simmons gave a second interview by phone, on the following day, on the Today Show. He told co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, “No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because like I’m Richard Simmons!”
He also denied once again the allegations of being held captive, saying, “”That’s just very silly. Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. It’s almost like we’re a married couple.”
This time around, as he spoke, he opened up about how his knee injury had impacted him emotionally. He told Guthrie, “I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble because I’ve taught like thousands and thousands of classes, and you know right now I just want to sort of take care of me.”
Continuing, he went on to say of his absence from public life, “I just really don’t want to do anything, you know I just don’t want to be traveling anymore. It certainly has taken its toll on me, so it was not like over a day, it was just over some time.”
When he was about his frankness in discussing his battles with depression in his memoir, Richard Simmons said in reply, “When you’re an overweight kid and you’re made fun of and you’re put down, some of that stuff never leaves you It always sort of is like a shadow, like Peter Pan.”
He then shifted his attention to the concerned public and said, “For all the people that were worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with my whole heart and soul and that not to worry, Richard’s fine You haven’t seen the last of me. I’ll come back, and I’ll come back strong.”
You can see the video of both interviews below.
Pictures: PR Photos