It’s been about two years since Richard Simmons fell out of the public eye.
Now, friends of the fitness expert are concerned he is being held against his will and controlled by his longtime housekeeper.
The New York Daily News spoke with five of Simmons’ friends for a story published on Saturday. The report focused on an interview with his former assistant, Mauro Oliveira, who said he went to Simmons’ home in Hollywood Hills in April 2014.
“Mauro, we can no longer see each other,” Simmons reportedly told Oliveira. He said he asked Simmons if his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, was controlling his life and he answered yes.
Another friend, who was anonymous in the New York Daily News story, echoed Oliveira’s worries about the 67-year-old.
“I feel that Richard is now being controlled by the very people that he controlled his whole life,” he said. “Controlled in the sense that they are taking advantage of his weak mental state. Controlled in the sense that they are controlling his mail, controlling his everything. His brother, the manager and Teresa. Those three people.”
Rumors of his disappearance have been circulating for more than a year. A representative for Simmons said the gossip is false and the star is doing fine.
“As I have stated in the past, these claims are untrue and preposterous,” Tom Estey told People Magazine. “Richard, after 40 years of being in the spotlight, is now simply taking a break from the public eye and working behind the scenes to continue to help those millions of people worldwide in need of his assistance and on several projects to be announced soon.”