Another person from Richard Simmons’ inner circle has come forward to dispel recent theories surrounding his three-year absence from the public eye.
Richard Simmons’ older brother, Lenny Simmons, 70, recently defended Richard, 68, on the popular “Missing Richard Simmons” podcast. Created by Richard’s former fitness client and friend, Dan Taberski, the podcast tries to uncover why the fitness star hasn’t been seen in public since February 2014.
In the interview, Lenny said that Richard’s health is “fine” and that his reclusive lifestyle is self-imposed and not due to any illnesses.
“My brother is fine,” Lenny said. “He’s not sick. There’s nothing medically wrong with him at all.”
Additionally, Lenny refuted one of the podcast’s guests, Richard’s former assistant and masseuse, Mauro Oliveira, who alleged that Richard is being controlled and potentially being held hostage in his home by his longtime housekeeper. Lenny said that Oliveira’s accusations are false.
“He’s doing what he wants to do, which is kick back and have a quiet life,” Lenny said. “He’s not angry with anybody. He just decided, ‘I’ve done it and I’m going to be quiet.’ For some reason, he wants to be quiet, which is the complete opposite of how he normally is. I don’t understand it, but I have to respect it.”
Additionally, Lenny shot down the rumour that Richard is hiding out because he’s transgender and transitioning into a woman.
“These things about him transitioning to a woman are ridiculous,” Lenny said. “My wife Cathy and I were out there for Christmas and spent five days with him and I can assure you, he’s not transitioning into anything but himself.”
Lenny’s interview echoes the findings of the Los Angeles Police Department, which concluded after recently visiting Richard at his home that he is “perfectly fine” and not being held hostage.
After the allegations from the podcast began making headlines, a representative for Simmons, Tommy Estey, also said that the accusations weren’t true and that Simmons is very much in control of his life.
“He made a choice to take a break from public life, which he has the right to do,” Estey said. “People need to respect that and not surmise that there’s something wrong, when there’s nothing wrong… For 40 years, he took care of everyone else but himself. And so it’s not that he’s being selfish, he’s just being a person, a regular person, taking care of himself.”
This isn’t the first time Richard’s public absence caused people to worry about his well-being and question whether he was being held hostage in his home. In March of 2016, Simmons called into NBC’s “Today” show to quash the rumours.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” Simmons told cohost 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’ manager Michael Catalano also affirmed that Simmons is doing — and looking — fine, according to People.
“He looks great, he’s trim and he has a beard, salt and pepper,” Catalano said. “He’s in excellent health, as far as I know.”
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