Where in the world is Richard Simmons? The enthusiastic workout guru has been actively out of the public eye for nearly two years now, and his close friends are concerned that he’s being held hostage at his Hollywood Hills home, according to the New York Daily News.
“We were very close,” a friend told the News. “It’s not something that I want to seek publicity about, but we are very concerned. Teresa [Reveles, Simmons’ longtime housekeeper] did turn me away several times. He has missed funerals of close friends. He was the most reliable and caring person on the planet, and then to suddenly vanish? I have come to believe that something else is happening. I don’t think Richard is in there of his own volition.”
According to the report, the last time Simmons spoke with his close friend and former assistant, Mauro Oliveira, was in April 2014; the odd meeting ended with Simmons, 67, insisting that the pair could no longer be in touch.
“i just want to be by myself, and I want to be in the house, and we’re never going to see each other again,” Simmons reportedly said to Oliveira.
The Brazilian-born Oliveira then asked Simmons point-blank whether Reveles was controlling his life, to which the fitness guru said, “Yes.”
“I feel that Richard is now being controlled by the very people that he controlled his whole life,” he says. “Controlled in the sense that they are taking advantage of his weak mental state. Controlled in the sense that they are controlling his mail, controlling his everything. His brother, the manager and Teresa. Those three people.”
The last time Simmons sat down for an interview was for a 2013 New Year’s Eve interview with CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who asked him what his morning affirmations are.
“I say, ‘Try to help more people,’” Simmons said in the televised interview before breaking down in tears.
Simmons rode on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that following November, and attended a Los Angeles fundraiser for Covered California in January 2014.
The final straw for Oliveira, he told the Daily News, was when he visited Simmons at his mansion in March 2014 and saw the public figure sleeping at 2 p.m. on a Sunday.
“I said, ‘Richard, you need to get up. You need to do something,’” Oliveira recalled. “He said, ‘No, I’m tired. let me sleep.’ And nobody cares. I walked downstairs and said, ‘Teresa, Richard needs treatment.’ She said, ‘I don’t care.’”
In January 2015, TMZ reported that the LAPD paid a visit to Simmons after they were tipped off that things might be awry at the Hollywood Hills mansion, but found Simmons alert and responsive.
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!