It's been a strange weekend in these conspiracy theory streets. On Saturday New York Daily News ran a longform investigative article alleging that Richard Simmons, beloved fitness guru and he of spandex body suits, is being held against his will by his longtime live-in maid, Teresa Reveles. 67-year-old Simmons has come forward this morning to dispel those rumors, saying he's simply "enjoying this time by myself."
Daily News reported that Simmons, who's been absent from the public eye since an emotional meltdown on New Year's Eve in 2013, has become a prisoner of his own home and concerned friends are no longer in contact with him. "I feel that Richard is now being controlled by the very people that he controlled his whole life," friend Mauro Oliveira told the Daily News. "Controlled in the sense that they are taking advantage of his weak mental state. Controlled in the sense that they are controlling his mail, controlling his everything. His brother, the manager and Teresa. Those three people." But her conspiracy concerning his whereabouts didn't stop there.
He was possessed by a bad spirit. I think tormented is the best word to describe his mental state. I think it was black magic, witchcraft. That’s not close to your culture, but to my culture in Brazil, and to Mexicans that is a real thing. They invoke the spirits. They light black candles, and red and blue candles. I’ve never participated. I only saw from a distance. But at services, they do special meals. They offer meals to the bad spirits, and light candles, invoking with words.
Say what? Apparently stirred by the allegation that he's both a prisoner of his own home and his maid is an evil witch, Simmons phoned into the Today show to clear the air. "No one is holding me hostage," he told Today's Savannah Guthrie. "I do what I want to do, as I've always done. People should sort of just believe what I have to say because I'm Richard Simmons."
When asked about his relationship with Reveles, his housekeeper, Simmons denied that she had any negative influence portrayed in the Daily News report. "That's just very silly. Teresa Reveles has been with me for thirty years. It's almost like we're a married couple." Questioned about his reclusive behavior, Simmons replied that he "just wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a while."
So there you have it. It looks like witchcraft may not be the evil force at play here, after all.