In some of his first public comments in years, fitness guru Richard Simmons released a statement saying to his fans, “By now you know that I’m not ‘missing,’ just a little under the weather. Hope to see you again soon!” He was referencing the podcast Missing Richard Simmons, whose skyrocketing popularity caused many to begin speculating about Simmons’ whereabouts. Although Simmons has not been seen in public since 2014, his manager confirmed reports that he was only hospitalized for a couple of days in a California hospital for “severe indigestion and discomfort while eating.” Simmons stated that he will be returning home in a couple of days. People are still hesitant to believe Simmons’ calm statement, especially considering that no pictures of Simmons have surfaced in the past four years. Even the statement posted by Simmons’ Facebook page had a picture of him from 2013, which raised eyebrows.
During the run of Missing Richard Simmons, former Daily Show producer Dan Taberski tasked himself with searching for Richard Simmons and theorizing about the former celebrity’s mental and physical health. The podcast was controversial from the very beginning because of the feeling that Taberski, who called himself a former friend of Simmons’ because of his frequenting of Simmons’ Beverly Hills studio, was delving into someone else’s private matters that weren’t his business to dig up. In any case, Simmons must have felt compelled enough by the attention the podcast got to respond to various allegations. Simmons has defended his public withdrawal from celebrity culture in the past. For example, he called into Today in March 2016 to refute rumors that he was being held in his home against his will. Los Angeles police conducted a welfare check that same month, but reported that he was “perfectly fine and happy.” There are rumors that Simmons may be preparing to return to public life following a report earlier this month that he signed a new merchandising and endorsement deal with an undisclosed firm.