A shocking story published Saturday by the New York Daily News claims that fitness icon Richard Simmons has not been seen in public in two years, and that friends are concerned he's being held against his will in his Hollywood Hills mansion.
Mauro Oliveira, 49, had enjoyed a friendship with Simmons, 67, for over a year when he describes being cast out of the fat fighter's life, allegedly on the orders of a live-in housekeeper.
During an April 2014 visit to Simmons' home, Oliveira says his friend acted totally defeated and said they'd never see each other again. When Oliveira offered to give Simmons a massage, housekeeper Teresa Reveles — who has lived with Simmons for almost 30 years — reportedly shouted, "No, no, no! Get out! Get out!" Simmons' response was a timid, "You've gotta go."
Other friends confirm to the News that they haven't seen or heard from Simmons in two years, behavior they say is "highly out of character" for the outgoing exercise guru who made a fortune with his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" program.
Though Oliveira claims Simmons is under the control of his housekeeper, his brother Lenny, and his longtime manager Michael Catalano, Catalano says, "Richard is enjoying life at home after a 40-year career of traveling the world and inspiring people to take better care of themselves. He is working on several projects and continues to encourage those that need his help."
Catalano declined a request by the News for an interview with Simmons.