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Richard Simmons Says He's Not Becoming A Woman

"Absolute madness."

That's what a rep for Richard Simmons had to say about a story in the tabloid National Enquirer which claimed the flamboyant fitness guru had transitioned to a woman. The tabloid's cover, dated June 20, features what is allegedly a Photoshopped image of Simmons wearing a wig, lipstick, a fur-and-lace top and a bra.

"EXPOSED!" the tabloid's cover reads. "Secret boob job & castration surgery."

In smaller type, the tabloid claims Simmons wants people to call him "Fiona" and proclaims him "the new Caitlyn Jenner."

The problem? None of that is true, according to Simmons' publicist.

Reports by TMZ and Fox News said Simmons was briefly hospitalized on June 3 for exhaustion or dehydration. A TMZ photographer captured grainy photos of a bearded Simmons leaving the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in the back of a silver car.

Rumors about Simmons began spreading after he withdrew from the public eye in 2013. The fitness guru gained fame in the 1980s with his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" line of exercise videos, as well as his frequent appearances on the Howard Stern show and David Letterman's show. But he reportedly hasn't been seen in public for three years and hasn't been seen at his Los Angeles fitness studio, Slimmons.

It's not the first time tabloids have spurred rumors about Simmons. Early in 2016, after tabloids reported that Simmons was being held hostage in his own home, he spoke to Entertainment Tonight by telephone to deny the rumors, Fox News notes. Simmons said he was recovering from knee surgery and had elected to stay

"I am not kidnapped," Simmons said at the time, according to Fox News. "I am just in my house right now. No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me."

In a December 2015 story, a Simmons rep told TMZ that Simmons was "happily living life outside the public eye" and that it was his choice to maintain a measure of privacy. Simmons remains dedicated to helping overweight clients, the rep said, and was still working on charity projects "behind the scenes."

Simmons himself released a statement after he was recently released from the hospital on June 6, People magazine reports.

"Thank you to everyone who has reached out with love and concern after hearing I was in the hospital," Simmons wrote. " I was dehydrated and needed some fluids and now I am feeling great! Summer is here – drink plenty of liquids. Big hugs and kisses for caring."

Sources: TMZ (2), Fox News, People / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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