Richard Simmons: "No One is Holding Me Hostage"
The fitness guru spoke with Today's Savannah Guthrie by phone in the wake of a 'New York Daily News' article that suggested he's being kept isolated in his home against his will.
In an interview that aired on Monday's Today show, fitness guru Richard Simmons claimed that despite a New York Daily News report this weekend that suggested he is a prisoner in his own home, "no one is holding me in my house as a hostage."
"I do what I want to do as I've always done," Simmons added. "So people should sort of just believe what I have to say because like I'm Richard Simmons!"
Simmons spoke to Today's Savannah Guthrie by phone on Sunday night and the audio played on Monday morning's Today show, over images of the fitness guru, who hasn't been seen in public in roughly two years.
In the Daily News expose, Simmons' former assistant and masseur claimed that Simmons' life is being controlled by his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, his brother and his manager. When asked about Reveles and the influence she has over him, Simmons said, "That's just very silly. Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. It's almost like we're a married couple."
Simmons said he decided to withdraw from public life and just wanted to be alone.
"I just sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while,'' he said. "You know, I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble because I've taught like thousands and thousands of classes, and you know right now I just want to sort of take care of me."
"I just really don't want to do anything, you know,'' he added. "I just don't want to be traveling anymore. It certainly has taken its toll on me, so it was not like over a day, it was just over some time."
But he maintained that his health is "good" and that he takes regular walks and drives and works out in his home gym and he advised fans "not to worry."
"For all the people that were worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with my whole heart and soul and that not to worry, Richard's fine,'' he said. "You haven't seen the last of me. I'll come back, and I'll come back strong."
Simmons' rep shot down the report on Saturday, telling People, "these claims are untrue and preposterous. Richard, after 40 years of being in the spotlight, is now simply taking a break from the public eye and working behind the scenes to continue to help those millions of people worldwide in need of his assistance and on several projects to be announced soon."