(March 14, 2016) — Fitness and weight loss guru Richard Simmons dismissed claims that he’s being held hostage inside his own home.
Simmons became a trending topic after a report surfaced that he hadn’t been seen in public for more than two years. Simmons told the executive producer of Entertainment Tonight that he’s fine.
“I am not kidnapped,” he told executive producer Brad Bessey by phone. “I am just in my house right now.
“No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me.”
On Saturday, the New York Daily News published a piece about the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” star that suggested he was being hidden away from the world and “controlled” by those around him. One of Simmons’ friends, his former masseur and assistant, Mauro Oliveira, told the publication that people around him were taking advantage of him.
“(He’s being) controlled in the sense that they are controlling his mail, controlling his everything. His brother, the manager and Teresa (Reveles, Simmons’ live-in housekeeper). Those three people,” Oliveira told the New York Daily News.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Simmons’ last public appearance was in December 2013 at an all-star holiday concert in L.A. He talked to Today Sunday, saying his health is good and he’s doing well.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” he told Today. “I do what I want to do, as I’ve always done.”
Simmons acknowledged that travel and a lifetime of workouts have taken their toll on his body. He said he’s struggled with knee injuries and wanted time to himself, adding that he’s going on walks, taking drives and working out at home.
“Right now I just sort of want to take care of me,” he said.
He also offered a message for his fans.
“I want to tell them that I love them with all my heart and soul,” he said. “Don’t worry, Richard’s fine. I’ll come back and I’ll come back strong.”
Simmons’ rep, Tom Estey, also dismissed the claims that his client was being held against his will.
“As I have stated in the past, these claims are untrue and preposterous,” Estey told People. “Richard, after 40 years of being in the spotlight, is now simply taking a break from the public eye and working behind the scenes to continue to help those millions of people worldwide in need of his assistance and on several projects to be announced soon.”