Richard Simmons has broken his six-year silence when his rep told the Post that the beloved fitness icon is “living the life he chose.”
Simmons rep Tom Estey spoke on Friday after the release of a new documentary about the training king’s sudden disappearance from the limelight.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continued outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from around the world,” Estey told The Post. “He’s happy, healthy and living the life he chose.”
On Wednesday, Simmons, 74, posted his own brief note to Facebook, simply saying, “Thank you all for your kindness and love. Love, Richard.”
Estey confirmed the message was personally written by Simmons and was his first public correspondence with fans in six years.
Simmons was one of the most prolific public figures in America for more than three decades before his disappearance. He is pictured in 2011. Getty Images
Simmons was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars for more than three decades before suddenly disappearing from public view in 2014.
Interest in the bubbly exercise guru was reignited this week following the release of a new document, TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons.
The special, which is streaming on Fox and Hulu, claims the star’s knee problems were behind his sudden avoidance of the limelight.
Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since 2014, but he called the Today show back in 2016 to debunk wild rumors he was being held hostage by his housekeeper.
Fans were thrilled to hear Simmons was in good health and in good spirits, and thousands responded to his Facebook message.
The fitness guru exploded onto the scene in 1980, earning millions from workout videos that were inclusive and uplifting. Sygma via Getty Images
“I knew it was you Richard!” one admirer gushed. “You are loved very much, please never doubt it. You have done so much good in the lives of so many people. Thank you for everything you have done and are still doing. None of us will ever forget you!”
Another chimed in: “We miss you Richard but hope you’re doing what’s right for you. You have brought me so much joy for years, now is your time, you deserve peace and happiness. Thank you for saving my life time and time again, I am forever grateful.”
Simmons became a popular character after exploding onto the scene in the 1980s with workout videos accessible to people of all shapes and sizes.
The 1988 VHS “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” became the best-selling home fitness video of all time, grossing over $200 million.
Dressed in hot pants and glitzy tank tops, the superstar’s easygoing approach helped make fitness feel fun and accessible to obese Americans, long intimidated by modeled and self-serious trainers.
His 1988 VHS “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” became the best-selling home fitness video of all time, selling over $200 million.
He continued to be a ubiquitous socialite throughout the 1990s and 2000s, publishing bestselling cookbooks, hosting infomercials, and appearing on late-night talk shows.
Simmons stars in 2013 – just a year before he stepped out of the limelight. WireImage
However, in 2014, Simmons stopped appearing in public, citing problems with his knee.
According to the new TMZ documentary, he underwent a right knee replacement that left him with significant pain.
Doctors then told him he also needed a replacement for his left knee, but he reportedly refused to do so after being too traumatized from the initial surgery.
Simmons is said to be enjoying his retirement and spending time at his home in the Hollywood Hills.
The documentary claims that Simmons’ knee problems stemmed from a “congenital defect” that left him “born without a full set of bones in his foot.” The condition reportedly caused “physical and emotional problems.”
Despite the reported health issue, Simmons – who has always been an introvert – appears to be enjoying his retirement and enjoying a quiet life away from the cameras at his home in the Hollywood Hills.