Richard Simmons’ mysterious disappearance from public life gets put under the microscope in a new documentary that aims to find out what the fitness icon has been up to since he was last seen eight years ago.
“TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons,” which airs Monday August 22, spoke to those who have known Simmons and reveals that he may not have disappeared as completely as some have thought.
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“We found out he likes going to the beach, he’ll go shopping,” TMZ founder Harvey Levin said recently while promoting the documentary. “There has not been a single paparazzi agency…that has gotten anything of Richard Simmons out in public in more than eight years.”
“We have answers – we know what happened to Richard Simmons, where he is and what he does,” Levin continued. “There are two big things and probably either one could have caused this, one more than the other. But a lot of them we show are just ridiculous, even thought they’ve got a lot of oxygen.”
Fellow fitness icon Suzanne Somers, who was among those interviewed for the TMZ documentary, shared her last encounter with Simmons before he stepped away from the limelight.
“One night I was on the Larry King Show and he was either going to be a guest or supposed to be a guest, and I heard through the Larry King people that he didn’t want to be on the show with me,” Somers said in a clip from the doc shared with PEOPLE.
“I said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘She’ll make fun of me.’ And that’s not my style, I never make fun of anybody. But that’s when I realized a little insecurity has gotten in there,” she added. “I liked him. I was always so surprised when he thought I’d make fun of him. But doesn’t that show you he’s got a heartache? Something’s broken inside because he did it. He had it and then let it go.”
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Conspiracy theories about Simmons have run amok in recent years. He released a statement in 2017 after fans expressed concern about his well-being. Simmons said he was “not missing” and thanked his fans. “Just knowing you care has already made me feel better,” he said. “Hope to see you again soon!”
“TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons” premieres Monday, Aug. 22 at 8/7c on FOX. The special will stream for free on Tubi starting August 30.