A New York Times story reported that Richard Simmons recently signed a lucrative new licensing deal, which could be the impetus for the suddenly reclusive fitness guru to re-emerge after years of self-imposed exile (once a fixture on red carpets and TV talk shows, Simmons hasn’t been seen out in public since 2014).
Could Simmons be on the cusp of returning to the public eye? That’s what TMZ wanted to know from a woman claiming to be a friend of Simmons, who chatted with paparazzi as she brought flowers to his home.
The woman — identified only as Denise — says that Simmons has been dealing with some knee problems, which is why he hasn’t been out and about.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” she says, claiming to have known Simmons for 35 years. When asked if Simmons is OK, she responds by insisting he’s “perfect. He’s very healthy… I swear to you, he’s perfect. He’s very happy.”
Will Simmons return to the public eye? “Of course he will,” says Denise. “When he’s ready.”
The reason for his reclusiveness, she explains, is because “he hurt his knee. Somebody tripped him in class over 10 years ago. He should have had his surgery long ago.”
Asked if that left Simmons depressed, she replied. “Of course. Wouldn’t that leave you depressed? You’ve done aerobics your whole life and all of a sudden you’re bed-ridden? You know, you can’t do the things you used to do…”
So Simmons is bed-ridden now? “No,” she insists, “like I said, he’s fine. He’s very healthy. He just wants to live his life and retire. His brother’s been telling him for a long time to retire — he’s finally listened.”