Missing Richard Simmons has hit the number one podcast spot on iTunes, and the fascination with where the heck the formerly very public fitness guru has been for the past three years shows no abating.
After falling off the face of the earth—dropping longtime friends, business partners and fitness fans in his famous Hollywood classes—Richard has worried friends and strangers alike because he simply won't communicate with anyone or come out of his house, despite him insisting that he goes for daily walks. He hasn’t been seen in years, sparking speculation he is either obese, depressed, dying, reclusive, or being held hostage by his long-time maid in his Los Angeles mansion.
But his brother Lenny Simmons, one of the few people Richard still speaks to, tells ET the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” God is simply taking much-needed “time for himself.”
“I would just hope people [can] be a little bit more respectful and realize that he’s worked hard and he still loves people — but he needs some time for himself,” Lenny said.
Lenny says he just spoke to his brother last Sunday, per usual, and that he’s “doing great.”
“He was asking about our renovations to our home. And we had just gone to see the Broadway musical Beautiful,” Lenny said. “We talk every Sunday. He calls me and we have a great conversation and then he talks to my wife. He probably talks to my wife longer than he talks to me.”
Richard, 68, is beloved by fans, who often blame his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, for blocking access to the star.
“She has been a good friend of my brother for over 20 some-odd years,” Lenny said. “It stresses me to hear that people think that she is holding him hostage or that she is mean. She isn’t. She is a very nice person.”
The hostage rumors started when Simmons’ former friend and masseuse Mauro Oliveira suggested it in the popular MRS podcast created by producer Dan Taberski.
Last year, Richard denied he was being held against his will to ET.
“I am not kidnapped,” Richard said. “No one should be worried about me … The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me.”
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