Richard Simmons is speaking out for the first time in six years following the release of a new documentary that looked into his sudden disappearance from Hollywood — and the public eye in general.
The 74-year-old fitness guru took to Facebook on Wednesday to show his appreciation for the support he’s received since TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons dropped this week. He simply wrote in the rare personal note:
“Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love. Love, Richard.”
The short post quickly sent fans into a frenzy, flooding the comments section with words of praise for Richard. See the reactions (below):
“I’m so proud of you for taking time for yourself. You’ve given so much of yourself to the world, and now it’s your time. Good for you.”
“We miss you Richard but hope you are doing what is right for you. You have given me so much joy for years, it is your time now, you deserve peace and happiness.”
“I knew it was you, Richard! You are very much loved, please never doubt that. You have done so much good in so many people’s lives. Thank you for all that you have done and are still doing. None of us will ever forget you!”
“We miss you Richard but hope you are doing what is right for you. You have given me so much joy for years, it is your time now, you deserve peace and happiness. Thank you for saving my life over and over again, I am forever grateful for you.”
Such sweet responses!
A rep for Richard, Tom Estey, confirmed to The New York Post on Friday the message on Facebook was penned by the health personality, and it was his first interaction with fans in six years. The spokesman added that he is “eternally grateful” for the love, saying:
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe. He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
Glad to hear he’s doing well.
As you may know, Richard burst onto the scene in the 1980s with workout videos that were fun and accessible for many different body shapes and sizes. Quickly, he gained immense success when his 1988 Sweatin’ To The Oldies tape becoming the biggest-selling home fitness vid of all time — grossing over $200 million. Damn!
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He continued to remain in the public eye throughout the 1990s and 2000s – appearing on late-night talk shows, creating best-selling cookbooks, starring in infomercials, and more. But in 2014, he shockingly stepped away from the spotlight and stopped performing for fans.
For years it’s been a mystery over what happened to Richard. There was even speculation the exercise enthusiast was being held hostage by his housekeeper in his home. However, Richard shut down those wild rumors in 2016 to Today, saying:
“No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. 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!”
And that was the last we heard from him… until now!
Interest in his disappearance exploded this week when the TMZ documentary dropped on Fox and Hulu, revealing the alleged real reason the star stepped away from his career. According to the film, it all came down to the beloved figure’s problems with his knees. Richard apparently underwent right knee replacement surgery that caused him a ton of pain. When doctors told him he also needed to replace the left knee, he allegedly opted not to get it since the first operation was incredibly traumatizing for him. This ultimately resulted in him saying goodbye to Hollywood.
The doc further alleges that Richard’s knee issues were due to a “birth defect,” explaining that he was “born without a full set of bones in his foot.” The condition supposedly brought on “physical and emotional problems.” That sounds awful…
Thankfully, it sounds like Richard is doing well and enjoying his life right now, as he should be! You don’t have to do the Hollywood thing forever to stay fabulous!
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[Image via Andres Otero/WENN]