“Thank you everyone, for your kindness and love! <3. Love, Richard,” the fitness guru, 74, wrote via Facebook on Wednesday, August 24, seemingly in response to the support he’s received following the TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons dropped on Monday, August 22.
On Friday, Simmons’ manager Michael Catalano confirmed the post’s authenticity to People. “This was a personal post from Richard. He was moved by the reaction to the special and all the good wishes that he received. He was encouraged by the kindness,” he revealed.
While the Louisiana native’s social media account regularly shares workout-related videos, the personal note from Simmons sent fans into a frenzy, flooding his comment section with love and support.
“I’m so proud of you for taking time for yourself. You’ve given so much of yourself to the world, and now it’s your time. Good for you,” one Facebook user wrote, while another said, “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.”
Fans also posted personal pictures they had with the workout star, urging him to take as much time as he needs out of the spotlight.
TMZ’s documentary, which aired on both Hulu and Fox, investigates details behind what happened after Simmons mysteriously stopped teaching at his workout studio in February 2014 only to allegedly never be seen in public again.
The special featured interviews with Suzanne Somers, writer Bruce Vilanch and Simmons’ longtime costume designer, Leslie Wilshire.
The speculation surrounding the What Women Want actor’s disappearance was initially sparked by the “Missing Richard Simmons” podcast, which claims that Simmons is being held hostage in his Hollywood Hills home along with other outlandish theories.
However, in 2016, Simmons called into the Today show to set the record straight. “No one is holding me in my house as a hostage. You know, I do what I want to do as I’ve always done, so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because, like, I’m Richard Simmons!” he explained. “Right now, I just sort of want to take care of me. I just really don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to be traveling anymore … it’s taken a toll on me.”
In 2017, Simmons was hospitalized for “severe indigestion” at an undisclosed location in California. “After a few days of battling severe indigestion and discomfort while eating, we agreed it was best for him to seek treatment,” his rep told ABC News in a statement at the time.
After a three-day stay under medical care, he was escorted by police back to his home, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department told Entertainment Tonight. “Richard got into his house safely,” the rep noted, adding that he was greeted by “a bunch of paparazzi” outside his Hollywood Hills mansion.
At the time, Simmons took to Facebook to address the situation directly with his fans. “Hello to everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes,” he wrote. “You will never know how much it means to me. Aren’t you sick of hearing and reading about me?! LOL Well by now you know that I’m not ‘missing,’ just a little under the weather. I’m sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days.”