Depending on who you ask, Richard Simmons is either doing just fine or he’s in serious emotional/psychological, if not physical, danger. He hasn’t been seen in public for almost three years. One day he was teaching classes at his fitness studio, and then the next day he was no call no show. Richard has basically fallen off the face of the earth.
No one really knows what prompted his retreat. Some say that he is being held hostage by his maid. Others say that the nearly 70-year-old fitness guru isn’t as spry as he used to be and doesn’t want to be seen in a physically weak condition. Another theory is that, perhaps, Simmons is simply finished living the celebrity life and wants to live out his days in seclusion. Others insist that Simmons must be experiencing some type of psychological and/or existential crisis.
At the end of 2013, he had this emotional interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin:
When Baldwin asked him what he says to himself in the mirror each morning, Simmons teared up and responded:
“I say, ‘Try to help more people,’ because there are more obese children and teenagers, young adults and senior in the world right now…more than ever in the history of the United States, and when you’re out of work, a dollar hamburger looks great. And when you get a divorce or lose a job, you really just don’t want to take good care of yourself. But just remember: You’re one of a kind, and God could have made you a butterfly that lasts three months, but He made you a human being.”
This man broke down on national television because he is carrying the weight of helping all of the overweight and obese people in the world get healthy and feel good about themselves. That’s quite the burden to bear, yo.
Simmons dropped out of the public eye six weeks after this interview.
Last year, he did a phone interview with the Today Show to let everyone know that he’s just fine and isn’t being held against his will. He eluded to having some problems with his knees. He said that he just wants some time alone and that he’s not depressed or anything of that nature.
It can easily be said, especially if you believe the rumors that his housekeeper is holding him hostage, that the Today Show interview was all a sham. It could easily be a ‘move along; nothing to see here,’ tactic to cover up a bad situation.
Too bad it wasn’t an in-person interview. Somebody coulda slipped Richard a note asking him to blink twice and cough if he was in danger.
On February 15, 2017, three years to the day after Richard Simmons “disappeared,” one of his friends debuted a podcast called Missing Richard Simmons.The description of the podcast is as follows:
On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class at Simmons, cut off his closest friends, and removed himself from the public eye after decades as one of the most accessible celebrities in the world. Nobody has heard from him – and no one knows why he left. Filmmaker Dan Taberski was a Simmons regular and friend of Richard’s. Missing Richard Simmons is Dan’s search for Richard – and the deeper he digs, the stranger it gets.
Missing Richard Simmons is the number one podcast on iTunes.
I think that this podcast is sketchy.
First of all, the podcast, at least in concept (I haven’t listened to it yet) seems exploitative. If we’re to take Mr. Simmons at his word that everything is a-OK-hunky-dory, why is this ‘friend’ (who is also a filmmaker, go figure) digging all up in his business?
Maybe Richard came to the realization after all these years that the people he was surrounding himself with were garbage and wanted to exploit him, so he decided to cut them off. I mean really, who goes and creates a podcast that digs into a so-called friend’s psyche and personal business. One of the episodes is centered on going to Lousiana to find Simmons’ brother. It all sounds like a terrible reality show.
I’m not going to speculate about Simmons’ mental health or his mental state. That’s something that’s private and it’s not helpful. What I will say is that it is alarming that he’s become so reclusive after so many decades in the public eye. I hope that he’s getting the care he needs and surrounding himself with supportive people if, in fact, he’s found himself in a crisis.