Richard Simmons Update: Fitness Star is ‘Fine’ And Just ‘Avoiding The Public Eye,’ According To Rep

Richard Simmons is fine. That’s the update coming from his rep, according to USA Today. This new information about the beloved fitness instructor comes after a report appeared in The New York Daily News that claimed that he was missing and possible being held against his will. The report in The New York Daily News stated that Simmons has “stopped returning calls and emails more than two years ago, behavior that is highly out of character.”

But Simmons’ rep, Tom Etsey, says that this is not the case.

“Richard Simmons has been in the public eye for 40 years, and he’s opted out,” Estey said. “It’s his right to do it. That’s the god’s honest truth. There’s nothing more to it than that.”

Etsey told the USA Today that the rumors that Simmons is mentally unstable are unfounded.

“I don’t want the readers of USA TODAY to think this man is a Howard Hughes recluse in his own home,” says Estey. “He’s just not.”

This is not the first time that Simmons’ behavior has caused concern in the media. As the USA Today notes, TMZ reported on it in 2014.

“Something is seriously wrong with Richard Simmons… he disappeared for almost the entire year… and we’re told there’s a physical problem that has led to debilitating depression,” the article said.

As USA Today reports, Richard Simmons addressed the rumors at the time in a written statement and referenced an injury as the reason why he had disappeared from the public spotlight.

“I am so touched by the outpouring of love and concern I have received today,” the statement read. “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.”

As People Magazine reports, Simmons’ former personal assistant, Mauro Oliveira, told the New York Daily News that the last time that he visited Simmons’ home, the fitness trainer said he could no longer see Oliveira.

Oliveira said that Simmons claimed that his live-in housekeeper Teresa Reveles is now firmly in control of his life. There were also claims from Oliveira that Reveles was using witchcraft to control Richard Simmons.

‘I think it was [caused by] black magic, witchcraft. That’s not close to your culture, but to my culture in Brazil, and to Mexicans, that is a real thing. They invoke the spirits.’

He later said: ‘It’s extremely hard to explain to you how someone is when they are tormented by bad force. That’s the thing. F***ing Teresa is putting black magic on him.’

The Daily Mail also reports that Oliveira wrote and self-published an e-book recalling his impression of what was going on with Simmons and his housekeeper. The book is titled King Rich And The Evil Witch and, according to the Daily Mail, Oliveira wants the book to be adapted into a Broadway production.

Other friends also told the New York Daily News that they were concerned about Richard Simmons’ welfare, as well.

TMZ reported in January, 2015, that the Los Angeles police visited the Simmons’ mansion to check on his welfare after a friend made an elder abuse claim. The police said that Simmons answered the door, was lucid, and seemed that he appreciative of their visit.

According to TMZ, at that time, Simmons also confessed that he was tired of being in the public eye at that time. “I just want to spend time with myself,” Simmons reportedly said to the police. He also added that he is in touch with his close friends.

Simmons also explained why he had not been at his fitness studio for a very long time. “I’ve got people who run things. I don’t need to be there,” he said.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]