Society

Richard Simmons' Rep. Denies Podcast's Kidnap Allegations

| by Shani Shahmoon

The "Missing Richard Simmons" podcast has quickly climbed its way up the charts and earned the title of most downloaded podcast so far in 2017 after announcing odd allegations regarding the whereabouts of the now-recluse weight-loss sensation.

It has been over 1,000 days since Simmons has been seen in public, reported People magazine.

No one has heard directly from Simmons since his disappearance in years, several sources have claimed -- the only exception being Simmons' phone interview with the "Today Show" following a scandalous story published by the New York Daily News. That story quoted a former masseuse and old friend of Simmons, Mauro Oliveira, who blames Simmons' longtime house keeper and caretaker, Teresa Reveles, for allegedly "tormenting" Simmons with witchcraft and keeping him hostage.

In that interview, the curly-headed trainer assured viewers he was fine, dismissing rumors of dramatic weight gain by stating he is 150 pounds and exercises daily, as well as affirming those who thought he was ill.

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Simmons insisted that he is just taking time to himself for the first time in 40 years.

"No one should be worried about me," he added.

More recently, as the allegation became a popular theory, Simmons' spokesperson, Tom Estey, denied the housekeeper-turned-kidnapper theory to multiple news sources.

Estey called the podcast a "complete load of crap."

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"All these things distract from his legacy and I will not allow that to happen because this man is a world treasure," he added.

Dan Taberski, a client and old friend of Simmons, remained curious after the icon's unannounced disappearance in Feb. 2014, despite Estey's statements, so he took it upon himself to create this now-famous podcast to look more closely at the situation.

According to the most recent episode of the podcast, Taberski explained that he spoke to Simmons' manager off the record before he began his podcast project. If Simmons was indeed facing a serious health issue, he agreed he would "let it be." The manager denied anything of the sort, so Taberski continued.

In February, podcast episodes began to be released. They detailed the disappearance, while also interviewing friends and family of Simmons.

Estey and Simmons have not responded to requests for being interviewed.

In the third episode, Oliveira shook things up again when he detailed his last encounter with Simmons in May 2014 to the podcast viewers.

“It was 6 p.m., and I went into his house. He was sitting in the living room, and he was very [weak], physically and mentally. He was trembling. ... He said, ‘Mauro. I called you here because we cannot see each other anymore. I’m just going to stay here,’" Oliveira said.

“I thought of the worst. I thought the worst was going to happen. ... I thought he was suicidal,” he added.

This is when Oliveira explains that Reveles heard the guest and immediately kicked him out of the home, after Simmons allegedly admitted to her controlling him.

Simmons' once very active Facebook page has not seen much activity since Mar. 2016.

The most recent episode of "Missing Richard Simmons" delved into Simmons' upbringing. Taberski and another producer visited New Orleans, where Simmons grew up, and spoke to people who used to be in close contact with the star before he stopped making public appearances.

Sources: People, The Today Show, Missing Richard Simmons, Richard Simmons/Facebook / Photo credit: Missing Richard Simmons

Is Richard Simmons just taking time for himself?
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