Several days after Richard Simmons’ rep, Tom Estey, cleared up rumors of his client supposedly becoming a transgender woman, the Sweatin’ to The Oldies icon decided to clear the air directly. On Tuesday, the 67-year-old fitness phenomenon, who has not made a public appearance in nearly three years, took to his Facebook page to clarify the latest whispers surrounding his ongoing disappearance from the public eye.
“Some tabloids have recently falsely reported that I am transitioning,” Simmons posted. “Although I am not transitioning, I have and always will be supportive of those who are going through their journey.”
The transgender falsehood is just the latest piece of the continuing mystery in regard to Simmons’ sudden drop from the public eye. Last said to have been seen by friends and TMZ photographers in January 2014, reports from that time period stated that the usually energetic celebrity had fallen into depression over the loss of his pet dog, and a mandatory knee surgery that he had been avoiding as much as possible. Following an onslaught of stories regarding the alleged issues, Simmons quelled concerns by confirming through his Facebook page that an injury had been keeping him at his Hollywood Hills home but that he hoped to be back in action soon.
Following a speculative report from the New York Daily News that claimed the unseen Simmons was possibly being held hostage by a housekeeper, the still-recovering star called into Today in February of this year to alleviate all concerns.
“No one is holding me in my hostage in my house,” he vehemently expressed to correspondent Samantha Guthrie. “I just sort of wanted to be a loner for a while. Right now, I just want to take care of me.” As for the friends who seemed so worried about him, Simmons was said to have told the LAPD during a January 2015 welfare check that those people were “not close friends.”
Two weeks ago on June 4, red flags went up again after Simmons was admitted to Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles after he was said to have been engaging in “bizarre behavior.” Details beyond that point were unknown at that time, but the National Enquirer somehow gauged from that instance (and the unexplained, prolonged hospital stay that followed it) that Simmons was in the process of becoming a woman named “Fiona.” In turn, Simmons reached out to TMZ to explain that he had only been suffering from dehydration, but the damage had clearly been done as several media outlets began to run the NE story.
Simmons also used Tuesday’s Facebook post to touch on the tragedy of the Orlando Pulse shooting massacre.
“We should not lose focus on showing love, strength and compassion to all of the LGBT community during these tragic times,” he added. “My broken heart and healing thoughts are with the people of Orlando and all other victims of prejudice, bigotry, and hate.”
Despite still not being seen in public, Simmons maintains quite an active presence on social media — his Facebook and Twitter profiles are updated almost daily, and promises of his return are still made occasionally. In a recent piece with People (the same piece where he debunked the rumors of Simmons’ transition), Estey implored his client’s fans to allow him the privacy he craves after spending nearly four decades in the public eye.
“He should be able to have a private life,” Estey said. “When [Richard] decides to come back, he will come back.” Simmons’ full Facebook post can be found below.
[Photo by Michael Buckner / Staff / Getty Images]