• Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

Is Richard Simmons really "missing"?

The 68-year-old boisterous fitness guru, who rose to fame in the '80s with his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" aerobics videos, has not been photographed in public for more than three years and is the subject of a popular podcast called Missing Richard Simmons from  Dan Taberski, a former regular at Simmons' Beverly Hills studio, which closed last year.

Meanwhile, the star's absence has spurred rumors and concern about his health. In 2016, he was hospitalized after reportedly exhibiting strange behavior and later said he was treated for dehydration. This week, his rep said Simmons was hospitalized Monday "after a few days of battling severe indigestion" and was feeling better and was expected to make a full recovery.

Amid Simmons' absence, messages appearing to be from him have continued to be posted on his Facebook page regularly. On Wednesday, it featured a health update and a photo of the star smiling. 

"Hello to everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes," the message said. "You will never know how much it means to me. Aren't you sick of hearing and reading about me?! LOL Well by now you know that I'm not 'missing,' just a little under the weather. I'm sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days."

"This has reminded me that when you need help you can't be afraid to reach out and ask for it," the message added. "We all think we should always be able to solve our problems all by ourselves and sometimes it's just bigger than we are. I reached out and I hope you will too. I'm sure there are people in your life who love and care for you and would do anything to help you with the challenges you face. Just knowing you care has already made me feel better. Hope to see you again soon! Love, Richard."

The message and the photo are confusing. There is no proof he actually wrote the post, while the pic, which shows Simmons wearing a red hoodie, a black top that reads "Keep Calm and Carry On," a ring and a couple of bracelets, was taken more than three years ago. He sports the same outfit and accessories in a photo posted on food blogger Tory Avey's website in March 2013, when the bumped into him at the Los Angeles cake and cupcake decorating studio Duff's Cakemix.

Simmons was last photographed at a celebrity event the following December—at the SPARKLE: All-Star Holiday Concert in L.A.

Richard Simmons, 12/13

David A. Walega/WireImage

A month before that, he attended the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Richard Simmons, 11/13

Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images

Simmons has also said himself that he had made the decision to withdraw from public life, adding he wanted to "be a little bit of a loner for a little while." He had made those comments in 2016, following a New York Daily News article that suggested he was in ill health.

This past March, Los Angeles police conducted a welfare check at Simmons' home and said he is "perfectly fine and happy."

And while Simmons appears to continue to prefer to remain out of the public eye, earlier this month, he signed a new business deal for "merchandising, endorsements and licensing opportunities."