When one of America’s most happy and upbeat fitness gurus steps away from the spotlight without a word, people take notice. Was Richard Simmons just ready to leave fame behind or was he being held hostage? Here’s what really happened.

Richard Simmons is one of America’s most beloved fitness gurus, known for his head of curls and his infectiously happy personality. Well, he was at least. Over the past few years, the world has seen less and less of Simmons, so much so that he was even thought missing at one point.

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The truth is that he wasn't, but…what is the real truth in this situation? Is it that his housekeeper decided to forcibly keep him away from the world, or did he decide to shut the curtain on his own? Even now, no one knows, but there are a few theories as to what happened.

It Started In 2013

About a month and a half before Simmons disappeared from the public eye, he went on CNN to discuss a new single he had just released, "Hair Do." While there, the interview turned into somewhat of a therapy session for Simmons after one of the hosts, Brooke Baldwin, asked him what he says to himself in the mirror each morning.

She might have been expecting to hear a motivational quip just as upbeat as Simmons himself, but what he said with a tear in his eye was, “I say, ‘Try to help more people,’ because there are more obese children and teenagers, young adults and seniors in the world right now—more than ever in the history of the United States.”

He later added to his statement, saying as he stared into the camera, “But just remember: You’re one of a kind, and God could have made you a butterfly that lasts three months, but he made you a human being.” To many who watched, it sounded as if Simmons was the one who needed to hear these words the most.

Six Weeks Later, He Stopped Teaching Classes

Fans and friends first started to believe that something was truly wrong with Simmons when he, without any warning or explanation, didn't show up to class at his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills in mid-February 2014—it has since been closed completely.

Though the studio manager repeatedly informed patrons of the studio that there wouldn't be any more classes held, for the time being, they weren't able to give the students a reason as to why. Since then, Simmons hasn’t released any new fitness materials or workout DVDs, and he hasn't set foot in his studio even to this day.

Strangely, He's Been Home All Along

No, Simmons didn't retreat to some doomsday shelter or hop on a plane never to return—he's just been in his Los Angeles home. This understandably sparked even more concern over his well-being, so much so that Simmons decided to respond to it during an interview with Savannah Guthrie. The catch?

He did it over the phone, not during a personal appearance. He told Guthrie that he, “sort of wanted to be a little bit of a loner for a little while,” later adding that, “I had hurt my knee, and I had some problems with it, and then the other knee started giving me trouble because I've taught like, thousands and thousands of classes, and you know, right now I just want to sort of take care of me.”

His Maid Was Also Accused of Holding Him Hostage

Teresa Reveles has been Simmons’ housekeeper, confidante, and friend for around three decades. Even when others who Simmons considered his best friends couldn't get ahold of him, Reveles continued to see him daily. Perhaps jealousy is the reason why Simmons’ longtime friend Mauro Oliveira claimed that the housekeeper was holding Simmons hostage inside his own home? Oh, and let's not forget that Oliveira also accused Reveles of being a witch who was using black magic to control Simmons.

Thankfully, Simmons also addressed these allegations in his interview with Guthrie, saying that, “Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years—it's almost like we're a married couple.”

Police Have Also Checked In On Him At Home

In early 2017, amidst growing concern over Simmons’ wellbeing, officers from the LAPD decided to take it upon themselves to see that all was well in Simmons’ home. Perhaps to the surprise of many people, they said Simmons was of sound mind and that he was “perfectly fine and happy.”

Though they didn't elaborate on what he looked like physically, what they discussed with him, and who else was in the home at the time, they concluded that he was not in danger in any way, shape, or form.

So, Has Simmons Just Removed Himself From the Spotlight For Good?

The answer is an unclear “maybe.” Much of the controversy surrounding his life over the last few years has been fueled by the Missing Richard Simmons podcast, hosted by Dan Taberski, a Slimmons regular and friend to Simmons.

Simmons’ manager Michael Catalano said that Simmons had actually listened to the podcast, acknowledging that Simmons doesn't fully support it. “I can't say that Richard feels better as a result of the podcast,” Catalano told Taberski during a meeting between the two. “I mean, perhaps you do. I think you've really created more worry and speculation."

While most people in the public eye might feel the need for grand goodbyes before they leave the spotlight, it appears that Simmons just doesn't share the sentiment. Though it might eventually come, there are some who think that the larger-than-life Simmons can't bear the emotional toll of one last hurrah.

“Most people want that last bow—not everybody," Catalano said. "He's earned it. This is his story. He has, certainly, the right to write the ending."

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