Richard Simmons has broken his 6-year silence, with his spokesperson telling The Post that the beloved fitness icon is “living the life he has chosen.”
Simmons’ rep, Tom Estey, spoke Friday following the release of a new documentary about the workout king’s sudden disappearance from the spotlight.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe,” Estey told The Post. “He is happy, healthy and living the life he has chosen to live.”
On Wednesday, Simmons, 74, published his own short note to Facebook, simply saying: “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love. Love, Richard.”
Estey confirmed the message was personally composed by Simmons, and was his first public correspondence with fans in 6 years.
Simmons was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars for more than three decades before he suddenly disappeared from the public eye in 2014.
Interest in the effervescent exercise guru has been reignited this week, following the release of the new doc “TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons.”
The special, streaming on Fox and Hulu, claims that problems with the star’s knees were behind the his sudden shunning of the spotlight.
Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since 2014, but he did phone the Today show back in 2016 to refute wild rumors that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper.
Fans were thrilled to hear that Simmons was in good health and high spirits, with thousands responding to his Facebook message.
“I knew it was you, Richard!” one admirer swooned. “You are very much loved, please never doubt that. You have done so much good in so many people’s lives. Thank you for all that you have done and are still doing. None of us will ever forget you!”
Another chimed in: “We miss you Richard but hope you are doing what is right for you. You have given me so much joy for years, it is your time now, you deserve peace and happiness. Thank you for saving my life over and over again, I am forever grateful for you.”
Simmons became a beloved figure after he exploded onto the scene in the 1980s with workout videos that were accessible to people of all shapes and sizes.
Clad in hot pants and bedazzled tank tops, the superstar’s light-hearted approach helped make fitness feel fun and accessible to overweight Americans who had long been intimidated by sculpted and self-serious trainers.
His 1988 VHS “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” became the biggest selling fitness home video of all time, grossing north of $200 million.
He continued to be a ubiquitous public figure in the 1990s and 2000s, publishing best-selling cookbooks, fronting infomercials and appearing on late-night talk shows.
However, in 2014, Simmons stopped performing in public, citing problems with his knee.
According to the new TMZ documentary, he underwent a right knee replacement that left him in a considerable amount of pain.
Doctors subsequently told him that he also needed a left knee replacement, but he allegedly refused to so so after being too traumatized by the first operation.
The documentary alleges that Simmons’ knee problems stem from a “birth defect,” whereby he was “born without a full set of bones in his foot.” The condition purportedly caused “physical and emotional problems.”
Despite the reported health struggle, Simmons — who has always been an introvert — is now seeming to relish in his retirement, enjoying a quiet life away from the cameras at his home in the Hollywood Hills.
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