It was the article that launched a thousand, well, articles: an extensive New York Daily News piece on Richard Simmons published Saturday that claimed the "intensely social public figure" has for the last two years essentially vanished, having stopped responding to calls and emails, and suggested an overly controlling live-in housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, is to blame. The fitness guru's rep, Tom Estey, called the claims "untrue and preposterous" in a statement to People, saying Simmons just wanted a break "after 40 years of being in the spotlight." To USA Today, Estey said, "I don’t want the readers ... to think this man is a Howard Hughes recluse in his own home." But, still, no word from Simmons himself ... until Sunday night.
In a phone conversation with ET, Simmons said quite plainly, "I am not kidnapped. I am just in my house right now. This is how I want to live my life right now. And to all the people that are worried about me, please don't be. If I was in any trouble, if I was hurting in any way, I would reach out. It is time right now for Richard Simmons to take care of Richard Simmons." He too cites his 40 years of being in the public eye, and references a "very difficult" knee replacement surgery. But he says, "I still weigh 150. I work out every day. I have a gym at the house, and I am very healthy." (Here are 14 reasons to love Simmons' Instagram feed.)