Flamboyant fitness guru Richard Simmons was everywhere you look for three decades and then suddenly disappeared. Photo / AP
Richard Simmons was one of the most beloved celebrities in America in 1980, but by 2014 he had completely disappeared from the limelight.
Everywhere you looked, there was an eccentric artist with curly hair everywhere. From his rave daytime nighttime TV shows to cookbooks, workout videos and commercials, but after three decades of being a famous celebrity, he suddenly disappeared.
Now the New York Post has reported that a recently released documentary has made a bold statement about where the star has been.
While there have been a lot of wild rumors about where the fitness star is, including his housekeeper holding him hostage and sex reassignment surgery, the documentary found a pretty simple reason.
A documentary titled “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons” claims the star is unable to leave his home due to a birth defect.
TMZ Managing Editor Fabian Garcia said: “What happened to him at birth is directly related to his disappearance – a birth defect that heavily affected one of his legs.
“He was born without a full set of bones in his leg and that causes physical and emotional problems.”
The film’s producer, Charles Latibodière, said the fitness star turned to food because of his pain and, in turn, “gained a lot of weight,” which only made his pain worse.
Fox also revealed that in 2014, the star was told by a doctor that he needed a left knee replacement and if he didn’t get one, he might never play the sport again.
The documentary claimed that the knee replacement was the “key” to Simmons’ disappearance.
“The prospect of surgery and a sedentary lifestyle caused Richard to sink into a deep depression.”
News of the star’s knee problems first hit the headlines in 2014 when TMZ revealed in a documentary that he had undergone a right knee replacement surgery that left him in severe pain.
Simmons was then told that he needed a left knee replacement, but allegedly backed out of the operation due to an injury following his first replacement.
Harvey Levin of TMZ said, “We still know that to this day, Richard still hasn’t had corrective surgery on his left knee. He walks with a cane, and that explains a lot. He’s just not the same guy anymore.”
Although Simmons has retired from public life, in 2017 he gave his fans a statement to People magazine after being hospitalized for stomach problems.
He said, “Hello to everyone who took care of me and sent good wishes.
“You will never know how much this means to me. Aren’t you tired of hearing and reading about me?! I’m sure I’ll feel good and be back home in a couple of days.”
He also re-released workout videos on his Youtube channel during the 2020 Covid pandemic to inspire fans to train and stay fit.
It is not yet known when the documentary will be available to New Zealand viewers.