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As a new hit podcast has reinvigorated the mystery surrounding Richard Simmons’ absence from the public eye for three years, the Los Angeles Police Department reports that the diet guru is safe and well.
“He is perfectly fine and he is very happy,” LAPD Detective Kevin Baker told People magazine this week. “I don’t know what he is going to do, but right now he is doing what he wants to do and it is his business.”
Baker said that the LAPD has made periodic visits to Simmons’ home and found him to be “welcoming” of them at each visit.
The podcast, “Missing Richard Simmons,” was created by a former fitness client and friend of Simmons, Dan Taberski, in the hope of discovering why Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since February 2014. One of its guests, Simmons’ former assistant and masseuse, Mauro Oliveira, alleged that Simmons is being controlled and potentially being held hostage in his home by his longtime housekeeper. Baker said that Oliveira’s accusations are false.
“There was something about his housekeeper holding him hostage and not allowing people to see him and preventing him from making phone calls, and it was all garbage, and that’s why we went out to see him. None of it is true,” the detective said. “The fact of the matter is we went out and talked to him, he is fine, nobody is holding him hostage. He is doing exactly what he wants to do. If he wants to go out in public or see anybody, he will do that.”
After the allegations from the podcast began making headlines, a representative for Simmons also said that the accusations weren’t true and that Simmons is very much in control of his life.
“He made a choice to take a break from public life, which he has the right to do,” the rep said. “People need to respect that and not surmise that there’s something wrong, when there’s nothing wrong… For 40 years, he took care of everyone else but himself. And so it’s not that he’s being selfish, he’s just being a person, a regular person, taking care of himself.”
This isn’t the first time Simmons’ public absence caused people to worry about his well-being and question whether he was being held hostage in his home. In March of 2016, Simmons called into NBC’s “Today” show to quell the rumors.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” Simmons told co-host Savannah Guthrie. “You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done, so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because, like, I’m Richard Simmons!”