Richard Simmons’ representative shared a rare public statement on the fitness guru’s 75th birthday.
They told ET, “This is a big milestone. I just want to see him happy, which he is.”
The renowned recluse was a popular figure in the 80s and 90s, appearing on television shows, releasing cookbooks, infomercials and workout videos. His 1988 VHS tape “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” was the most successful fitness home video of all time, generating over $200 million.
In 2014, he abruptly vanished from the public eye, sparking a variety of theories, such as that his housekeeper had taken him hostage, or that he had transitioned to become a woman named Fiona.
The documentary “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons” suggests the actual reason for his disappearance was a birth defect that had a deep impact on his leg. While a teenager, he experienced difficulties with his weight and was a target of bullying in school. In a 1980s interview with Oprah, he discussed his struggles with eating disorders, revealing he had once been hospitalized after dropping to 119 pounds.
After getting into better shape and moving to Los Angeles, he became famous, partly due to his vibrant personality. However, “Three’s Company” star Suzanne Somers recalled an encounter with him that exposed his concealed inner turmoil. She said she had heard he didn’t want to appear on Larry King’s show with her, and when she asked why, she was told it was because he thought she would make fun of him.
The TMZ documentary uncovered that he had a knee replacement that caused him pain, and he refused to get the same procedure done on his other knee. This is thought to be why he left the spotlight, so he would be remembered as healthy and energetic, not as an elderly person with medical issues.
In August 2022, his rep said Simmons was grateful for people’s love and he was living the life he wanted. He also posted a Facebook message, his first public comment in six years, expressing his appreciation for the kindness he had received. On his 70th birthday, a friend revealed to ET that Simmons was doing well and spending his time at home and in his yard.
As he enters his 75th year, his rep confirms he is content.