Richard Simmons has broken his six-year silence, with his spokesperson telling the Post that the beloved fitness icon was “living the life he chose”.
Simmons’ rep Tom Estey spoke on Friday after the release of a new documentary about the sudden disappearance of the king of training from the spotlight.
“Richard is forever grateful for the continued outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from around the world,” Estey told the Post. “He is happy, healthy and living the life he chose to live.”
On Wednesday, Simmons, 74, posted his own short note on Facebook, simply saying, “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love. I love you, Richard.
Estey confirmed that the post was personally composed by Simmons and was his first public correspondence with fans in six years.
Simmons was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars for more than three decades before suddenly disappeared from the public eye in 2014.
Interest in the effervescent exercise guru was rekindled this week, following the release of the new doc “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons.”
The Special, streaming on Fox and Huluclaims that problems with the star the knees were behind his sudden avoidance of the spotlight.
Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since 2014, but he did call the “Today” program in 2016 to refute wild rumors that he was being held hostage by his governess.
Fans were delighted to hear that Simmons was healthy and in good spirits, with thousands of people responding to his post on Facebook.
“I knew it was you, Richard!” an admirer fainted. “You are very much loved, please never doubt it. You have done so much good in the lives of so many people. Thank you for all you have done and are still doing. will never forget!
Another added: ‘We miss you Richard but hope you are doing what is right for you. You have given me so much joy for years, it’s your time now, you deserve peace and happiness. Thank you for saving my life again and again, I will be eternally grateful.
Simmons became a beloved figure after bursting onto the scene in the 1980s with workout videos accessible to people of all ages. everything shapes and sizes.
Dressed in hot pants and dazzling tank tops, the superstar’s lightweight approach helped make fitness fun and accessible to overweight Americans who had long been intimidated by sculpted, earnest trainers.
His 1988 VHS “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” became the best-selling home fitness video of all time, grossing over $200 million.
He continued to be a ubiquitous public figure in the 1990s and 2000s, publishing bestselling cookbooks, hosting infomercials, and appearing on late-night talk shows.
However, in 2014, Simmons stopped performing in public, citing knee issues.
According to the new TMZ documentary, he underwent right knee replacement surgery which left him in considerable pain.
Doctors then told him he also needed a prosthetic left knee, but he reportedly refused after being too traumatized by the first operation.
The documentary alleges that Simmons’ knee problems stem from a “birth defect”, whereby he was “born without a full set of bones in his foot”. The condition is said to have caused “both physical and emotional problems”.
Despite reported health issues, Simmons – who has always been introverted – now appears to be relishing his retirement, enjoying a quiet life away from the cameras at his home in the Hollywood Hills.