“Missing Richard Simmons” is the latest craze captivating podcast listeners. In it, a one-time friend of Simmons, Dan Taberski, investigates the fitness guru’s life in recent years. Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since 2014.
Simmons’ rep has rejected the claims in the podcast, but that hasn’t stopped fans from listening.
“Missing Richard Simmons” has reached No. 1 on the iTunes podcast charts, and many fans are calling it the new “Serial,” referencing the addictive “The American Life” podcast of 2014.
New episodes of the podcast are released on Wednesdays, and if you haven’t tuned in yet, there’s plenty you’ve missed. This week, Taberski tries to track down two people he claims are still in contact with Simmons.
If you’re curious about what all the hype is about, here are some of the most-shocking revelations from “Missing Richard Simmons” … so far.
[SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading here if you haven’t listened to the most-recent episode of “Missing Richard Simmons.]
Simmons may not have shut everyone out
During the most recent episode of “Missing Richard Simmons,” Taberski travels to Mississippi to speak with someone named Elijah who he says may still be communicating with Simmons. Elijah avoided speaking with Taberski and his team.
The podcast also speculates Simmons still communicates with his brother, Leonard, who lives in New Orleans. Taberski tracks down Lenny Simmons, who shuts the door in his face and refuses to speak to him in person.
His brother seems confused by Richard’s isolation
In a preview for next week’s episode, Taberski tracks Lenny Simmons down on the phone, and Lenny is heard explaining, “He’s not angry with anybody. I don’t understand it. I wish I did.”
According to Taberski, Simmons manager says he’s not sick
There has been speculation that a grave illness has sent Simmons into isolation. Taberski insists it’s not the case.
Taberski says in the latest episode, “I’ve known Richard’s manager for a few years now, and I asked him off the record really early on in this process if there was something serious going on, like illness, so that I would know just to leave it be, but he still said no, he’s fine, and he still maintains [that].”
Richard cried during workout classes, attendees said
Taberski called the classes, which he attended for a time, “an emotional ritual, almost, for everyone involved.”
He said the fitness star would break down in tears mid-class.
“It has happened in every class I’ve ever been to,” Taberski says.
His friend, who attended a class once, described the moment when Simmons began crying.
“…It was out of control crying,” she said. “At the time I am thinking it was scary.”
Simmons supposedly called fans at home
The podcast takes time to interview a fan who says she met Simmons in 1994 and gave him a note with her telephone number.
“You have to understand: I am in Nebraska,” a woman named Kathy says on the podcast. “I was a 450-lb hairdresser. All of a sudden, Richard Simmons jumps in my life — who is full of color — and I feel, suddenly, hope.”
Kathy claims the two spoke at least once a week and sometimes Simmons would confide in her about matters in his life. The podcast hints Kathy was one of many fans Simmons spoke to on the phone.
“He would wake up at 4 in the morning and reach out to 30, 40, 50 people with phone calls and emails,” Taberski told Yahoo News. “It was sustained relationships that lasted years, sometimes decades.”
Richard hadn’t been to someone’s house in 7 years
In its first episode, the podcast replays an interview Simmons did before he disappeared from the limelight in which he says, “I live a very recluse life. This is about the most hanging out I’ve done – four people in a room. I teach my class, I kiss everybody, I take hundreds of photos and I go home. I socialize with no one.”
The star says during the years-old chat he hadn’t been to someone’s home in seven years and only had people at his home for business meetings.
Simmons ‘ghosted’ 94-year-old ‘second-mother’
A woman named Jerry speaks to Taberski during the podcast and she is described as being like a second mother to Simmons. He can be heard on the podcast speaking at her small 90th birthday party, which only included close family and friends, and though they spoke very often before he vanished from the public eye, she hasn’t heard from him since.
On the podcast, a concerned Jerry begs Taberski for updates on her pal.
“What do you know? Anything? I miss him very much,” Jerry says.
Simmons' home has no buzzer
Taberski attempts to find Simmons at home and speak to him, but he can’t figure out how to let anyone inside know he is standing outside of the home.
“There’s no buzzer, there’s no doorbell, there’s no knocker… There’s no way of reaching people inside besides screaming,” he describes.
Simmons’ housekeeper eventually steps out to take out the trash, briefly recognizes Taberski dismisses him, avoiding his questions about the famous fitness guru.
At least 1 person still thinks Simmons is being controlled by his housekeeper
Mauro Oliveira, Simmons’ former masseuse, says on the podcast he attempted to interact with the star and Simmons’ longtime housekeeper stopped him.
Oliveira describes what he says happened when he was in Simmons’ mansion one day.
“She starts screaming like a witch, ‘No, get out, get out…’ Richard looked at me and said ‘You gotta go.’”
Oliveira claims he asked Simmons directly if the housekeeper was “controlling your life now?” to which he claims Simmons said, “Yes.”