Richard Simmons’ spokesman says a popular podcast’s assertion that the reclusive fitness guru is being held hostage by his housekeeper “is a complete load of crap.”
Tom Estey, Simmons’ longtime representative, told People magazine that “Missing Richard Simmons” made unsubstantiated claims in its third episode, “The Maid and the Masseuse,” released March 1. The series is currently the most downloaded iTunes podcast, according to two unofficial tracking services, iTunesCharts.net and PodcastChart.com
In the episode, Simmons’ friend and former masseur Mauro Oliveira told host Dan Taberski that a weak and trembling Simmons, 68, had called Oliveira in to say they could no longer see each other. When housekeeper Teresa Reveles saw him, Oliveira continued, she screamed at him to get out.
“Richard looked at me and said, ‘You got to go.’ ” Oliveira recalled. “I said, ‘Really? Is she controlling your life now?’ And he said yes. And that I have to leave.”
Estey told People that both he and Reveles have worked for Simmons for decades. “So, holding him hostage is the biggest, I mean . . . Teresa is the housekeeper, she’s the caretaker, she is extraordinary, she is amazing, she takes impeccable care of Richard and she has for as long as I have been working with Richard, so that is a complete load of crap.”
He went on to say, “Richard made a choice. To live a more private life. If he decides to come back, he’ll come back. . . . People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn’t. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that’s when he’ll come back, and when that will be, I have no idea or if he will at all. There really isn’t anything to report.”
Simmons — who had been making 250 personal appearances a year until dropping out of public sight in 2014, due to what he said was a knee injury — responded to the persistent rumors last March, saying in a phone call to NBC’s “Today,” “No one is holding me in my house as a hostage.” He added, “Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. It’s almost like we’re a married couple.”