Richard Simmons' publicist has responded to allegations that the former fitness guru is being held hostage by his caretaker.
Director, producer and podcast host Dan Taberski has been documenting his mission to figure out why Simmons has been missing from the public eye for the past few years in his popular podcast "Missing Richard Simmons," E! News reported.
In the latest episode, Taberski invited Simmons' friend and former massage therapist, Mauro Oliveira, on to the show. He claimed Simmons is being held at his Los Angeles home against his will by his caretaker, Teresa Reveles.
But Simmons' spokesperson Tom Estey has refuted those claims. He said Simmons is doing well at home, and praised Reveles for taking good care of the actor.
"Teresa has been working with him for 27 years," Estey told E! News. "So, holding him hostage is the biggest, I mean ... Teresa is the housekeeper, she's the caretaker, she is extraordinary, she is amazing, she takes impeccable care of Richard and she has for as long as I have been working with Richard. So that is a complete load of crap."
Estey went on to explain that Simmons himself decided to "live a more private life."
"People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn't," Estey explained. "We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that's when he'll come back, and when that will be, I have no idea or if he will at all. There really isn't anything to report."
Estey added, "We did not cooperate nor participate in this podcast because we didn't feel the need to nor did we want to. All these things distract from his legacy and I will not allow that to happen because this man is a world treasure."
"He has helped millions of people lose millions of pounds," Estey noted. "He has saved millions of lives, spent millions and millions of his own money helping and saving people's lives. This man is a saint, so treat him like a saint and leave him alone."
Simmons' last reported public appearance was in February 2014. He released a statement in June 2016 after conspiracy theories began circulating, reports People.
Simmons wrote a statement that he published on his official Facebook page:
It’s been over forty years now, and I am finally taking my own advice. I am being kind to myself, and putting myself first. I am making changes and taking time to do the things I want to do.
Please know that I am in good health and I am happy. No one has ever been able to tell me what to do and the same is true today. I am still independent, determined and opinionated. I simply am making a new beginning for myself -- quietly and in my very own special way.