Richard Simmons (seen in a January 2014 ad, his last known public appearance) has claimed that he “just kind of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a while.”
Richard Simmons has resurfaced — sort of. But after two interviews, concerned friends have still not seen his face.
The reclusive exercise guru was back on the air after a two-year public absence, but worried friends and fans did not get to see him.
On Sunday, Simmons spoke with ET, following a Daily News story about his disappearance into obscurity. And on Monday, he spoke to NBC’s “Today” Show. But Simmons phoned it in on both shows, only deepening the worry surrounding the legendary fitness fanatic.
“I just kind of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a while,” Simmons told “Today’s” Savannah Guthrie. “Right now I just sort of want to just take care of me.”
Simmons had declined several requests for comment from The News. Longtime friends of Simmons had been hoping The News story would coax him out of hiding, and were disappointed that he had only agreed to do phone interviews.
“I only hope that this attention the case is getting helps Richard Simmons to break the spell and finally take full control of his life,” Mauro Oliveira, Simmons’ former personal assistant and masseur, said Sunday.
Oliveira was one of five longtime friends of the 67-year-old Simmons who told The News they were worried because they had not heard from him in two years.
The 67-year-old (seen in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade) assures fans that he’s fine.
Adding a macabre twist, Oliveira said he suspects Simmons’ Hollywood Hills housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, was using witchcraft to control him.
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,” Simmons said. “I do what I want to do and have always done.”
Asked about the accusations against Reveles, Simmons said, “That is just very silly. Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. (It’s) almost like we are married.”
Friends of the fitness guru remain worried because they haven’t actually seen him.
Simmons, who was last photographed by TMZ in January 2014, acknowledged that he has become reclusive.
“I just don’t want to be doing anything,” he said. “I just don’t want to travel anymore. To all the people that are worried about me, I want to tell you that I love you with my whole heart and soul. Richard Simmons is fine.”
Unless Simmons appears in public, those worried folks will not be reassured.
“Until he shows his face, no one will believe he is really OK, and the mystery will continue,” said one longtime friend of Simmons.