The Mysterious 'Disappearance' of Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons vants to be alone. Or does he?

One of the stranger stories in pop culture these days is the mental state of the former fitness guru.

Simmons, now 68, hasn’t been a public persona for some time. The days of his ubiquitous “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” videos are long gone. He no longer appears on “The Howard Stern Show” to get insulted by the host. Nor does he teach fitness as he did for decades.

If you want to find him now, better hit YouTube.

Not everyone stays famous forever. Some bow out of the limelight by choice. Others find the public has had enough of their face. So which is it with Simmons?

People in Simmons’ inner circle say the star simply wants to live a more private life these days. Yet rumor has it Simmons is essentially being held hostage in his own home, controlled by his longtime housekeeper, Teresa Reveles. That’s according to Mauro Oliveira, a friend of the star.

There’s even a podcast dedicated to uncovering the truth: “Missing Richard Simmons.” And guess what? The podcast is a smash.

A few who have had long ties to the star offer a similar story. Contact with him ended abruptly.

Simmons’ representative says talk of the fitness legend’s troubles are nonsense. Simmons’ older brother, Lenny, insists all is well with his sibling.

“I talked to him on Sunday, he was doing great,” Lenny told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview. “He was asking about our renovations to our home. And we had just gone to see the Broadway musical, Beautiful. We talk every Sunday. He calls me and we have a great conversation and then he talks to my wife. He probably talks to my wife longer than he talks to me.”

Area police investigated Simmons’ home recently and came to the same conclusion. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

So why can’t we do just that?

Some celebrities tire of fame. The lack of privacy. Dealing with paparazzi at the most annoying times. The need to be “on” at all times. Simmons was always “on,” no doubt.

Perhaps the whole story says more about us than him. We love nostalgia. We adore stories about classic TV shows and the cast reunions they inspire. It makes us feel good … and sometimes young again at the same time.

So seeing someone like Simmons step away from the limelight robs of us that opportunity. No more trips down memory lane, at least for now.

Perhaps we’ll cling to a conspiracy theory or two rather than accept the fact he wants his life back.

He deserves that much.

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