Richard Simmons To Return To Public Eye ‘Soon’ After Five-Year Break, Predicts Pal Billy Blanks

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Richard Simmons has rarely been seen in public for more than five years, but that could soon change, predicts his pal Billy Blanks. The Tae Bo master told The Blast he believes Simmons, who has not made a public appearance since 2014, will make a comeback in the near future.

Blanks said the 70-year-old fitness guru took some needed time away from the public eye to take care of himself after helping others for decades.

“Richard Simmons (has) been around so long helping people. I think he needed to take time off for himself because when you get to the point where you don’t see yourself anymore, then you lose yourself. I think he needed that private time… to get (himself) together. I think that’s what he’s doing and I think soon he’ll be back.”

Blanks said Simmons was an “awesome guy to travel” with when they did fitness tours together years ago. Blanks, 63, also said that Simmons helped motivate him to develop his own exercise program more than 20 years ago.

Fitness fans have been worried about Richards Simmons for years. In 2017, a podcast titled Missing Richard Simmons sparked speculation that something was wrong with the Deal-a-Meal creator.

The podcast featured Simmons’ former friend Dan Taberski investigating why Simmons had been “missing” from the public eye for more than 1,000 days and questioning why he stopped helping people after more than 40 years in the fitness business. But during the podcast’s run, Los Angeles police made a wellness check to Richard Simmons’ home and reported that he was “fine,” USA Today notes.

Richard Simmons resurfaced on Facebook in April 2017 to assure fans that he was okay and was just “under the weather” and not “missing.”

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Richards Simmons has long admitted to being a recluse who kept to himself and even more so after suffering a serious knee injury. In 2016, when another of Richard’s former friends, Mauro Oliveira, claimed that the fitness star’s housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, was controlling his life, Simmons blasted the story in a phone interview with the Today show. Simmons made it clear that no one was holding him “hostage” in his home.

Simmons explained that he made a conscious decision to take care of himself, to stop traveling, and “be a little bit of a loner for a little while” after his knee replacement.

“You haven’t seen the last of me,” Simmons said at the time. “I’ll come back, and I’ll come back strong.”

Richard Simmons shot to fame in the early 1980s after appearing on the ABC soap opera General Hospital and the NBC reality show Real People. He later ruled the infomercial game with diet and fitness products like Deal-a-Meal and Sweatin’ to the Oldies. Simmons was last seen in public during a trip to Europe in 2014.