Richard Simmons' rep shoots down latest 'hostage' rumors as podcast dives into his absence from the public


Why has fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared from the public eye? This is the question a new podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, is attempting to explore.

Once again, the former Sweatin' to the Oldies icon's reclusive behavior has been thrust into the spotlight, with accusations and insinuations that the 68-year-old Simmons is being help captive or having his actions controlled by his housekeeper.

The claims, made in episode three of the podcast last week, were leveled by Simmons' longtime friend, Mauro Oliveira, who alleges that Simmons is being held hostage by his housekeeper and friend, Teresa Reveles.

WATCH: Richard Simmons' Iconic Exercise Studio Officially Closes Its Doors: Hear the Fitness Guru's Heartfelt Goodbye Message

The TV personality and fitness leader's rep, Tom Estey, is staunchly denying the allegations.

35 PHOTOS
Richard Simmons through the years
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Richard Simmons through the years
Richard Simmons, circa 1980. (Photo by Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Richard Simmons Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Richard Simmons Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
GENERAL HOSPITAL - Shoot Date: December 19, 1979. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) LOUISE HOVEN;RICHARD SIMMONS
GENERAL HOSPITAL - Shoot Date: October 6, 1980. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) RICHARD SIMMONS
TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON -- Air Date 09/28/1981 -- Pictured: (l-r) Political comedian Mark Russell, musical guest Tony Orlando, fitness expert Richard Simmons, guest host Joan Rivers (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
American diet and fitness guru and author Richard Simmons, 1982. (Photo by American Stock Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1992: Actor Richard Simmons poses for a portrait in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - 1992: Actor Richard Simmons poses for a portrait in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 261 -- Pictured: (l-r) Fitness personality Richard Simmons during an interview with host Jay Leno on July 12, 1993-- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 609 -- Pictured: (l-r) Richard Simmons and Tyra Banks on January 12, 1995 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 609 -- Pictured: Richard Simmons arrives on January 12, 1995 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10: American fitness guru Richard Simmons, center, is joined by two policemen and others in an outdoor workout session sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board on February 10, 2000 in Union Square Park, New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Fitness expert Richard Simmons leads students in exercise at the Third Annual Nutrition Advisory Council Symposium sponsored by LAUSD Nutrition Network at California State University on June 16, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
Richard Simmons (center right) with models in fashions by Jay McCarroll and Chris March at the Grand Central Station, Venderbilt Hall in New York City, New York (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)
Fitness guru Richard Simmons poses for a photo while visiting the WGN studios in Chicago, Illinois, on May 8, 2008. (Photo by Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 24: Richard Simmons leads the crowd on the Cannon Terrace in exercises during the 'FIT Kids' rally to promote physical education in schools, following their testimony at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on Thursday, July 24, 2008. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 28: Richard Simmons visits the 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on July 28, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/WireImage)
MOUNT POCONO, PA - JANUARY 08: Richard Simmons attends An Evening with Richard Simmons at the Mount Airy Casino Resort on January 8, 2010 in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
TODAY -- Pictured: -- Richard Simmons appears on NBC News' 'Today' show. (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: -- (l-r) Richard Simmons and William Shatner appear on NBC News' 'Today' show. (Photo by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 22: Richard Simmons celebrates the passage of the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act with a group of tourists at the US Capitol on April 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
(L-R) A guest, Richard Simmons and Denise Austin attend the godfather of fitness Jack LaLanne's 'Celebration of Life' memorial service at Forest Lawn Cemetery on February 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 10: Richard Simmons (R) during the 2011 Miss USA hula hoop contest Mile Shops on June 10, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: Richard Simmons is seen on August 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: TV personality Richard Simmons leaves the 'Wendy Williams Show' taping at the AMV Studios on November 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 25: Richard Simmons at the Legendary Musician Peter Asher Autographs The Painted Guitar Titled 'British Invasion' At Gibson GuitarTown Sunset Strip Sunset Strip at Sunset Strip Market on October 25, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/WireImage)
KATIE - 4/10/13 - Obesity in America and childhood weight issues are discussed on KATIE, distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) CHARLES HAINES, RICHARD SIMMONS
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: Richard Simmons attends the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's 24th Annual 'A Time For Heroes' at Century Park on June 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for EGPAF)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 09: Fitness personality Richard Simmons attends 2013 LA Gay Pride Festival - Day 3 on June 9, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 01: Richard Simmons performs at the Friend Movement Campaign benefit concert held at El Rey Theatre on July 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Richard Simmons and Diana Nyad swim during 'Swim for Relief' Benefiting Hurricane Sandy Recovery - Day 2 at Herald Square on October 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 13: Richard Simmons attends the 29th Annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles on October 13, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AIDS Walk Los Angeles)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
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In a statement released to People, Estey said Oliveira's claims are a "complete load of crap," and that Simmons has decided to simply step back from his life as a celebrity to live a more private existence.

Dan Taberski, who was a close friend of Simmons and created the podcast, explained that he began the project two years after the health and fitness advocate supposedly began distancing himself from his circle of friends and stopped leaving his house.

WATCH: Richard Simmons Speaks Out: 'No One Should Worry About Me'

According to Estey, Reveles has not been keeping Simmons captive, but rather has been caring for his every need.

"Teresa is the housekeeper, she's the caretaker, she is extraordinary, she is amazing, she takes impeccable care of Richard and she has for as long as I have been working with Richard," Estey said, flat-out denying the insinuations that she's been holding him "hostage."

"Richard made a choice. To live a more private life. If he decides to come back, he'll come back," Estey added. "People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn't. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that's when he'll come back."

15 PHOTOS
Richard Simmons in his most recent appearances
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Richard Simmons in his most recent appearances
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13: Personality Richard Simmons post performance at SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert at ACME Comedy Theatre on December 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David A. Walega/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: TV personality Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Roth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Roth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: TV personality Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: TV personality Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: TV personality Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: TV personality Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Richard Simmons attends inflation eve for the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Norfleet/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Personality Richard Simmons attends Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo Presented By POW! Entertainment - Day 1 held at Los Angeles Convention Center on November 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Richard Simmons attends the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Personality Richard Simmons attends Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo Presented By POW! Entertainment - Day 1 held at Los Angeles Convention Center on November 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
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WATCH: The Real Reason Richard Simmons Has Been in Hiding For Nearly a Year

As to why Simmons doesn't end the controversy by speaking with the podcast, Estey says that he refuses to participate "because we didn't feel the need to nor did we want to. All these things distract from his legacy and I will not allow that to happen because this man is a world treasure."

"This man is a saint," Estey noted. "So treat him like a saint and leave him alone."

ET has reached out to Simmons' rep.

WATCH: Richard Simmons Reportedly Hospitalized For 'Bizarre' Behavior

Accusations that Simmons was being held against his will first surfaced in March 2016 when the Daily News ran a feature article on his disappearance from the public arena. At the time, Simmons spoke exclusively with ET via phone interview where he denied the claims.

"I am not kidnapped," Simmons said. "No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me."


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