Richard Simmons has not been seen in public for more than a year. It was enough for a close friend to alert the Los Angeles Police Department’s elder abuse unit, suggesting the 66-year-old fitness icon was in danger. TMZ reports that police visited Simmons’ home on Friday, and concluded he was fine.
According to TMZ’s law enforcement sources, Simmons let two police officers into his house. He was “articulate, lucid, relaxed and appreciative of their concern.” His manager has said in the past months that Simmons is recovering from a knee injury, a sentiment also expressed on Richard’s Facebook page in November.
“I am so touched by the outpouring of love and concern I have received today. I have had a tough time dealing with this injury, as it is keeping me from doing what I truly love to do and that is to teach classes around the world. Make sure you keep Sweatin’!”
Also in November, Simmons’ manager, Michael Catalano, gave ABC News a similar message, with the addition of “I know I will see you all soon!”
About a month later, TMZ reported that there were no Christmas decorations at Simmons’ home and no one was allowed to visit. Simmons has kept up an active social media presence. His official Twitter account posts regular updates. It is unclear, however, whether Simmons personally posts those messages or whether it is the responsibility of staff.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good diet!!! http://t.co/Y5YxmjEIPH
— Richard Simmons (@TheWeightSaint) December 24, 2014
happy happynew year to allllllllllllllof u!!! hope urgetting the year off to a good start!
— Richard Simmons (@TheWeightSaint) January 1, 2015
The December TMZ report referred to friends who said Simmons loved social interaction. Now that he has apparently become a recluse, they are concerned.
On Friday, Simmons reportedly told police he simply wanted to retreat after three decades as a public personality.
“I just want to spend some time with myself.”
The Daily Mail reports that despite the earlier assertions of Catalano and Simmons’ spokesperson, Thomas Estey, that he was fine and taking care of his knee, Simmons’ friends said they had not heard personally from the fitness guru. They were not convinced that he was okay. Simmons, a close friend of Joan Rivers, did not attend her funeral in the fall.
Simmons has not even been to his fitness studio, which also raised alarm bells. When police came to his home, however, Simmons said that his presence was not necessary at the gym, where he used to give classes.
“I’ve got people who run things. I don’t need to be there.”
Police also told TMZ that Simmons was bearded, walking with a slight limp and had said he was “exhausted.”
[Richard Simmons image Ray Tamarra/Getty via ABC News]