Richard Simmons Isn't Really Missing, He Just Doesn't Want Anything To Do With Hollywood Anymore

What happened to Richard Simmons?

This question has been haunting fans both old and new. The fitness guru seemingly fell off the face of the Earth a few years ago, and little has been seen of him since. Speculation and stories about Richard Simmons have abounded; there was even a wildly popular podcast that aimed to prove his supposed disappearance.

Simmons, who was born Milton Teagle Simmons in New Orleans, Louisiana, is known as "The Weight Saint" because of his extensive career in the health and fitness industry. In many ways, he revolutionized that industry, putting things like exercise videos, diet and meal plans, and a more health-conscious lifestyle on the map.

While he's always marched to the beat of his own drum, the fact is that Simmons helped a lot of people over the last four decades. As a result, when he apparently vanished in early 2014, people noticed his absence. Clearly, the world felt the loss of Simmons's own unique brand of inspiration, advice, support, and humor.

Keep reading to learn a few things you didn't know about Richard Simmons, his supposed disappearance, and his fascinating life.

  • He Was Thought Missing, But He Is Alive And Well
    Video: YouTube

    He Was Thought Missing, But He Is Alive And Well

    Simmons dropped off the grid in the early months of 2014, making his last public appearance in February of that year. Since he'd been keeping a relatively low profile (as compared to his past visibility), his disappearance did not immediately draw concern.

    By 2016, friends and fans were worried. His landmark gym, Slimmons, closed without warning, and rumors circulated that he was being held against his will by his housekeeper. Simmons had distanced himself from friends, who thought he was both chronically depressed and in danger. However, he soon reemerged from the ether and tried to put the speculation to rest.

    He appeared on The Today Show, saying he was fine, and when the LAPD performed a welfare check on him a year later, they also found him to be safe, healthy, and simply retreating from the public life and persona he'd once cultivated.

  • He Was Hospitalized In 2017

    On April 19, 2017, Simmons was hospitalized for severe indigestion. In a public Facebook post, he wrote:

    “Hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday. I wanted to take a moment to send a big thank you to the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center during my short stay there this week. They make you feel good even though you’re in the hospital for feeling bad.”

    LAPD detective Kevin Becker said that Simmons is "in great spirits... laughing and joking and talking." Although he's retreated from the public eye, it sounds like he's doing well.

  • He Has To Pay The National Enquirer $130,000

    The National Enquirer and Radar Online published articles alleging Simmons was transitioning to become a woman. Simmons sued the publications, saying he's not offended by the implication that he was transitioning, but that the articles were false and defamed his character.

    In March of 2017, a judge ruled that alleging someone is transgender is not considered defamatory, and he ordered Simmons to compensate the media outlets for $130,000 in attorney's fees.

  • He Signed A Deal With A Management Company, Which Could Mean He's Coming Back

    In April 2017, Prominent Brand + Talent signed a deal with Simmons and acquired exclusive rights to his merchandising, endorsements, and licensing opportunities. Michael Catalano, Simmon's manager, said that Simmons may move back into the public eye to promote any "inspiration-themed products" that result from the deal.

  • In 1981, He Alluded To His Disappearance

    Maybe it's an eerie coincidence, or maybe Simmons had been long aware that he might one day tire of his frenetic image and successful career. In a 1981 People magazine cover story, Simmons said, "I work real hard to make people laugh and to make them think. The day I don't love any of this, I'll walk away."

    Was his departure from public life the plan all along? Was it an option he always kept open in case things got too crazy or exhausting? Or, was it something more sinister, beyond his control, orchestrated by outside forces? Simmons claims no one else was involved, and if the People quote is to be believed, then this may simply be something he's chosen to do for his own peace of mind.

  • He Was In Two Fellini Films
    Video: YouTube

    He Was In Two Fellini Films

    When one thinks of Richard Simmons, one does not automatically connect him to the legendary Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. But when Simmons was a young art student studying in Florence, he was cast in not one, but two Fellini pictures.

    In both Satyricon and The Clowns, Simmons was an uncredited actor in the freak show scenes. Also, the shots of Simmons in the Fellini films are the only known images of what the weight loss pioneer looked like when he was overweight.

    It was during his time in Europe that Simmons received an anonymous note telling him he was fat and unhealthy, which, he claims, was what prompted him to move to California and start his weight loss journey.