Fitness guru Richard Simmons may have dropped off the face of the Earth, but he insists everything is fine and is not being held hostage.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” Simmons told host Savannah Guthrie. “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!”
Simmons’s former masseur and assistant, Mauro Oliveira, had told the New York Daily News that he feared the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” mogul was being “controlled” by those closest to him.
“I feel that Richard is now being controlled by the very people that he controlled his whole life,” Oliveira said. “Controlled in the sense that they are taking advantage of his weak mental state. 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.”
Simmons said that’s not true.
“That’s just very silly,” he said. “Teresa Revels has been with me for 30 years. It’s almost like we’re a married couple.”
Simmons explained why he’s cut off most contact with those close to him and why he’s rarely seen in public anymore.
“I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while,” he said.
In a Sunday phone interview with Entertainment Tonight, he said it was just time for him to take some time out of the spotlight.
“No one should be worried about me,” Simmons said. “The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me.”
The last time Simmons was photographed in public was in January 2014 by TMZ.