A bizarre story about one of America's most famous fitness personalities continues to get more bizarre. Richard Simmons reportedly hasn't been seen in public in three years, and per an episode of the Missing Richard Simmons podcast that aired last Wednesday, the reason may be disturbing, Entertainment Tonight reports. Mauro Oliveira, who says he's an old friend, alleged during the podcast's third episode that Simmons is being held prisoner by his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, and that the last time he saw Simmons, in May 2014, the 68-year-old was weak, scared, and possibly suicidal, per Us Weekly. And, Oliveira claims, once Reveles barged in on their meeting, she demanded he leave, but not before Oliveira asked his friend, "Is she controlling your life now?," to which Simmons reportedly answered, "Yes."
Dan Taberski, the man behind the podcast, says he was also close to Simmons and that he started the project because he, too, became worried when Simmons basically vanished from public appearances or even just hanging out with his friends. But Tom Estey, who reps Simmons, tells People that everything being claimed in the podcast is a "complete load of crap." Instead, Estey says, Simmons just wanted to retreat into a life out of the limelight. As for Reveles, Estey calls her "extraordinary" and "amazing," noting she's worked for Simmons for nearly three decades and does nothing but take "impeccable care" of him. Estey also asserts neither he, Reveles, nor Simmons will be participating in the podcast in the near future. "This man is a saint … leave him alone," he says. (Simmons put out a Facebook post last year regarding a rumor about himself.)