Inside The Theory That Richard Simmons Is Being Held Hostage By His Housekeeper

Is he okay?

Richard Simmons Kathy Hutchins | Shutterstock | Wikimedia Commons

Former fitness guru Richard Simmons, who rose to prominence during the 1980s and 1990s, had been the subject of a wild conspiracy theory that he was held hostage by his housekeeper.

Simmons' disappearance from public life is being explored in a new TMZ documentary titled "What Really Happened To Richard Simmons" which touches on some of the many rumors about the TV personality's abrupt end to his career in 2014.


But it's far from the first time these theories have been explored. 

In 2017, the third episode of the viral podcast "Missing Richard Simmons," made startling claims about the reason why Simmons suddenly disappeared from public life altogether. 

The podcast, which was created by one of Simmons' former friends, Dan Taberski, started in February 2014 and advanced a theory that Simmons was being held captive by an employee.

Was Richard Simmons held hostage by his housekeeper?

In the third episode, Taberski spoke to Mauro Oliveira, Simmons' longtime friend and former masseuse, about the last time he saw Simmons, and why he believes Simmons' housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, is holding him hostage.


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“It was 6 p.m., and I went into his house. He was sitting in the living room, and he was very weakly, physically and mentally. He was trembling. He said, ‘Mauro. I called you here because we cannot see each other anymore. I’m just going to stay here,’ ” Oliveira recalled of their last face-to-face interaction in May 2014.

“I thought of the worst. I thought the worst was going to happen. I thought he was suicidal.”

Oliveira explained that he tried to get Simmons to go upstairs to his massage room so they could talk further, but Reveles immediately stopped him.


“She realized that I was in the house, she started screaming like a witch, ‘No no no no, get out, get out! I don’t want him here!’ Richard looked at me and said, ‘You got to go.’ I said, ‘Really? Is she controlling your life now?’ and he said yes. And that I have to leave.”

Oliveira claimed that he hadn't seen Simmons since that day, along with any of Simmons' other former friends.

Richard Simmons' team has denied the captivity rumors.

In a statement to People, Simmons' publicist, Tom Estey, called Oliveria’s claims a “complete load of crap." Estey denied that Simmons was being held hostage by his housekeeper, and has voluntarily chosen to stay out of the public eye.

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“Theresa has been working with him for, since I’ve been working with him [27 years]. So, holding him hostage is the biggest, I mean … Theresa 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 said.

“Richard made a choice. To live a more private life. If he decides to come back, he’ll come back … People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn’t. 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 that neither he, Simmons, nor Reveles, have any part in the production and making of the popular podcast.


"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. 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.”

TMZ's Richard Simmons documentary theorizes the real reason he has been missing.

The documentary comes to the conclusion that a double-knee replacement surgery forced Simmons to retire early as it severely impacted his ability to exercise.

His declining health and his desire to be remembered as the vibrant, eccentric character he once was pushed the now-74-year-old to become reclusive so as not to show that he had become frailer with age.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.