Richard Simmons Breaks His Silence About Why He Disappeared

We all know who Richard Simmons is—the flamboyant fitness guru most popular in the 80s. However, he was last seen out and about in February of 2014 before he made an abrupt end to teaching at his workout studio and wasn’t seen out in public again.
There were many theories about why he disappeared. For years, people came up with conspiracy theories, include one that he was being held hostage in his home in Hollywood by his housekeeper. There were even a few tabloids, that Simmons wound up suing, falsely claiming that he was transitioning into a woman.

However, finally, in August of 2022, FOX aired a special called “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons,” which answered a bunch of questions regarding what happened. Celebrities such as Denise Austin and Suzanne Somers and Bruce Vilanch made appearances.

After the special aired, Simmons, now 74 years old, posted to his Facebook page for the first time in years. He shared a photo of a smiley-face emoji holding up a thank-you sign. He captioned the post: “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! Love, Richard.” He’s back, ladies and gentlemen!

Okay, so what’s the actual reason he left the spotlight? It wasn’t as complicated as people might’ve thought—and in the documentary ,he finally broke his silence and relayed all the details.

According to the documentary, his disappearance Ihad to do with an issue he was having with his knees, which caused him to become depressed and not be able to be as fit as he once was.

“Doctors told him back in 2014, around the time he disappeared, that he needed a left knee replacement,” the documentary shared. “And if he didn’t get one, he might never be able to exercise again. Now, this is key to the disappearance of Richard Simmons. The prospect of surgery, of becoming sedentary, caused Richard to sink into a deep depression… We know still to this day Richard still hasn’t gotten corrective surgery on his left knee. He walks with a cane and that explains a lot. He’s just not the same guy anymore.”

Simmons did eventually have an operation on one of his knees, but it was so painful that he couldn’t get himself to do it on his other bad knee. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to work out to his normal capacity after that, or even again, and that made him feel terrible.

“He wanted to be remembered as a vibrant, healthy man, not an elderly man with medical problems.” the documentary explained. “Richard wanted to retreat before his image was recast as an old man. And his knee problems were a huge factor in his decision… He had a right knee replacement a few years back. And still needed a left one. He was in a lot of pain.”

In the documentary, an LAPD detective who was in touch with Simmons throughout the years, and who didn’t want to be identified, said that Simmons “doesn’t want to be remembered as this frail, old guy. He wanted to be remembered as a guy that millions of people loved and watched. That’s why he disappeared.”

He doesn’t have to worry about that—it’s clear his fans love him! Check out the video below to learn how people reacted when Simmons decided to emerge back into the spotlight, plus more details on the documentary.

Have you ever done a Richard Simmons workout before? Did you realize he had gone missing for so long?