Richard Simmons speaks out after six years of silence following a documentary about his disappearance from public life.
The fitness legend has not been in the public eye since 2014 and has been a subject of public fascination.
In March 2016, speculation began that Simmons was being held hostage by his housekeeper, which he denied.
Due to his relative silence, he was the subject of the Missing Richard Simmons podcast, and now the TMZ documentary, What Really Happened to Richard Simmons, which premiered on August 22 on Fox and Hulu.
The 74-year-old was subject to bizarre rumors that he was undergoing gender reassignment, which led to a lawsuit against several publications.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons began posting old videos on his YouTube channel after six years to help people exercise from home and has continued to do so as recently as this week.
Richard Simmons responds to TMZ documentary
The fitness guru sent a short sweet message to his supporters following the release of the documentary.
“Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! ❤️. Love, Richard,” he wrote on Facebook, alongside an image of an emoji.
Simmons’ rep, Tom Estey, on Friday echoed his client’s comment on Facebook.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe,” Estey told The New York Post, continuing:
“He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
NY Post reports that Estey confirmed the Facebook message was composed by the reclusive star.
While he has been active on social media since he stepped away from public life, this was his first statement addressing his fans in about six years, according to the publication.
His social media accounts only feature archive footage of his fitness videos that made him a star.
In the 45-minute documentary, What Really Happened to Richard Simmons, those who knew him including Suzanne Somers, writer Bruce Vilanch, and Dr. Phil shared their theories about why he retired from public life.
What did Richard Simmons say six years ago before breaking his silence?
Simmons made his last public appearance in February 2014, when he suddenly stopped teaching classes at his fitness studio.
His last statement before the Facebook post came in 2016 when he denied that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done so people should sort of just believe what I have to say,” he told the Today show, continuing:
“I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while. You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble…and you know, right now I just want to sort of take care of me.”
Simmons concluded the statement by promising to “come back strong.”