His energy and empathy helped inspire a generation to live healthier and love themselves. But now, according to a friend of the 1980s workout guru, it’s Richard Simmons who is in need.
Richard in LA in 2013. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Sweatin’ to the Oldies star hasn’t been seen outside his Holly wood Hills home in nearly 18 months, and a former employee worries that his life is being controlled by his longtime housekeeper.
“The last time I saw him, I thought he was suicidal,” Mauro Oliveira, Richard’s former assistant and masseur, tells Closer. “It was 2 p.m. on a Sunday, and he was still in bed. My guess is that he’s sleeping all the time and barely eating or drinking fluids.”
Richard in NYC in 2011. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Rumors about Richard’s disappearance first surfaced last year when he stopped teaching classes at Slimmons Studio, the workout space he founded in 1974. The star’s manager blamed it on a knee injury, and Richard, 66, took to Facebook to assure his fans he was fine. “I am so touched by the outpouring of love,” he wrote last November. “I have had a tough time dealing with this injury.”On top of his ailment, the star was reportedly hurting from the end of a romance and the death of a beloved pet.
Concerned, Mauro reached out to Richard’s brother, who then flew out to LA from New Orleans to intervene. The fitness legend was treated for 10 days under an assumed name at Cedars-Sinai hospital, says another source, but since that time, his housekeeper has not allowed Mauro to see him again. “She controls who can come in and who cannot,” claims Mauro.
To read the full story on Richard, pick up the new issue of 'Closer Weekly' on newsstands now!