He just wants to be left alone. Richard Simmons is "perfectly fine,” according to the LAPD. Officers did a welfare check after Simmons' former massage therapist repeated allegations in episode 3 of the popular podcast Finding Richard Simmons that the 68-year-old is being held hostage by his housekeeper Teresa Reveles. A police source tells Us Weekly, "Officers spoke with Richard and determined he is not in harm’s way."
Speculation about the former TV personality (né Milton Teagle Simmons) has been rampant since he retreated from the public eye in 2014. In the podcast, Mauro Oliveira — a longtime friend — recalled visiting a "trembling" Simmons in May 2014, three months after he suddenly stopped teaching at his workout studio, Slimmons, and being turned out by Reveles: "She started screaming like a witch, ‘No no no no, get out, get out! I don’t want him here!’ Richard looked at me and said, ‘You got to go.’ I said, ‘Really? Is she controlling your life now?’ and he said yes. And that I have to leave.” Oliveira has previously accused the housekeeper of using "black magic" to control her boss.
Simmons' rep, Tom Estey, adamantly denies anything nefarious is going on at the Sweatin' to the Oldies video star's abode. “Teresa has been working with him for 27 years," Estey tells Us. "So, holding him hostage is the biggest, I mean … Teresa is the housekeeper, she’s the caretaker, she is extraordinary, she is amazing, she takes impeccable care of Richard and she has for as long as I have been working with Richard, so that is a complete load of crap.”
“Richard made a choice to live a more private life," his rep continues. "If he decides to come back, he’ll come back … People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn’t. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that’s when he’ll come back, and when that will be, I have no idea or if he will at all. There really isn’t anything to report.”
The podcast's creator, Dan Taberski, a former producer on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, told Us Weekly in February he launched the project after befriending Simmons during classes at his studio in 2012. When Simmons went into hiding, he said, "I couldn't let go." Acknowledging the "thousands and thousands" of people Simmons has helped through his videos, books and classes, Taberski admitted, "We hope the publicity we get from doing the podcast will help convince him to talk to me, and bring him out.”
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