Richard Simmons is “sad” that a knee injury has sidelined him professionally, but the beloved and bedazzled fitness guru is hardly a recluse, his spokesman said Friday.
“In terms of him being out and about, he’s going out. If he needs to wear a disguise, he’ll wear a disguise. When you’re Richard Simmons, it’s not easy to get away with anonymity,” longtime spokesman Thomas Estey told the Daily News.
Estey was responding to reports that Simmons, 66, has been a shut-in for almost a year due to paralyzing depression over his health and the death of his adored Dalmation Hattie.
“The dog passed away a year and a half ago, it’s not the issue. And he hasn’t lost weight recently either. He’s presently at the same weight he was when he released his first ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’ video,” Estey told The News.
“The truth is very simple, he has a knee injury, and it’s serious enough to keep him from doing what he loves most: exercising and motivating others,” the spokesman said.
“He is not clinically depressed or a shut-in or a recluse,” Estey said.
“It would be like Tiger Woods having a shoulder injury that stopped him from golfing, but in this case it’s compounded by a thousand because Richard has dedicated his life to others, and right now he can’t exercise or travel and take his message to the people in person,” he said.
Estey said Simmons needs surgery to fix his knee, but he’s been hesitant because he already had the same surgery on his other knee and found it difficult.
“He’s saddened and nervous about the the knee thing, but he’s going to proceed with it, and he’ll be back,” the spokesman vowed. “He’s going to be back and better than ever, when he’s ready.”
He said Simmons has every intention of returning to the classes he has taught at his Beverly Hills fitness studio for decades.
“He wants to go back to teaching,” Estey said.
“I am so touched by the outpouring of love and concern I have received today,” Simmons wrote on Facebook Thursday.
“I have had a tough time dealing with this injury, as it is keeping me from doing what I truly love to do and that is to teach classes around the world. Make sure you keep Sweatin’!” he wrote.