Richard Simmons, who last connected with his fans in 2016 before emerging from isolation last week, is living life the way he wants, according to his representative.
In 2016, amid allegations he was being held hostage in his home, Simmons had publicly said the rumors were not true, according to the New York Post.
“No one is holding me hostage,” Simmons said then. “I do what I want to do, as I’ve always done. People should always believe what I have to say, because I’m Richard Simmons.”
Two days later, Tom Estey, a representative for Simmons, said the 1980s fitness guru did in fact post that message, according to the New York Post.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe,” Estey said. “He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
Richard Simmons Makes Rare Statement Days After Documentary on His Disappearance Airs https://t.co/9nx1uNgrIL
— E! News (@enews) August 27, 2022
Simmons withdrew from the public eye in 2014, and is now the subject of a special on TMZ titled “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons.”
The documentary said Simons underwent a right knee replacement and spent years living with a birth defect in one foot.
“Something that happened to him at birth is directly connected to his disappearance — a birth defect that significantly affected one of his legs,” TMZ managing editor Fabian Garcia said in the documentary, according to the New York Post.
“He was born without a full set of bones in his foot and it causes physical and emotional problems,” he said.
Before he was famous, Simmons struggled with his weight.
“Richard found comfort in food and he gained a lot of weight,” Charles Latibeaudiere, producer of the documentary, said. “And that put a lot of stress on his knees.”
The Post said that the documentary includes an interview with Simmons in which he talked about his early life.
“I went through a lot of hurt as a child. I was the largest child in school. At the age of 15, I was 200 pounds. I went to my first Halloween party dressed as a couch. I was the one made fun of. I felt very bad about myself,” he said.
“I’ve had hair transplants, but you can only do so much, so I have 12 hairs left and I just spray them, toss them and make it look like a salad. I’m glad I have hair on my head, you know?” he said in 2011, speaking of the hair loss that accompanied his anorexia as he lost weight.
I understand why so many of us want to know what happened to make Richard Simmons leave public life. But the man gave us a LOT for so many years. He deserves to be left alone if that’s what he chooses. Be grateful and give him peace.
— Daria (@dariazeoli) August 23, 2022
Simmons has been told he needs surgery on his left knee, but will not go under the knife.
“We know still that to this day, Richard still hasn’t gotten corrective surgery on his left knee,” TMZ’s Harvey Levin said. “He walks with a cane and that explains a lot. He’s just not the same guy anymore.”
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