“Missing Richard Simmons,” the binge-worthy podcast created by former Simmons’ pal Dan Taberski, ended this week, and one person who may be breathing a sigh of a relief is Richard Simmons himself.
According to the fitness guru’s manager, the podcast that gained attention as it quickly became the No. 1 podcast on the iTunes charts was “harmful” to the star.
"He didn't need this intrusion to validate his contribution to people," Michael Catalano, who has managed Simmons career for 30 years, told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “He knows the reception (the podcast) is having. He knows how people are responding to it. But it's also hurtful. It's humiliating, you know? It's damaging. It just is...”
Catalano expressed the same sentiments when he was interviewed by Taberski for the podcast.
“I don’t think he has listened to it in its entirety but he has certainly heard snippets,” Catalano told Taberski during the episode released this week. “I can’t say that Richard feels better as a result of the podcast… I think you’ve really created more worry and speculation.”
Catalano said that he has seen Simmons recently and added during a chat with People magazine Simmons has found humor in some of theories about his current state.
“I said to him the other day, ‘There are people that think you are a very overweight, depressed woman.’ And he laughed. He just laughed,” the manager told People.
When speaking with the Associated Press, Catalano was more firm about the trouble the podcast has caused.
"Anywhere he goes now there's going to be — more than there was before — pointing and speculation. Has he transitioned into a woman? Is that him behind that beard? I don't envy that. I don't envy that for someone, who at this time, has chosen to retreat. He has the right! I just don't think because you are on the public stage for 40 years that you have to continue to remain there until your last breath."
Still, Catalano was adamant that Simmons “hasn't officially announced his retirement.”
The manager hinted that his client could make a comeback at some point in time, telling the AP, "When Frank Sinatra sang 'My Way,' that was his goodbye song. And Frank got bored and he was back for 20 years.”
He said despite the title of Taberski’s podcast, Simmons is not missing.
"Look, it's not like he's missing. He's not ill. He's not 350 pounds. I was with him a few days ago. It's not like I don't know where he is. I know exactly where he is, believe me. And I understand, people don't want to hear it from me, they want to hear it from him, and when he's ready, you will. You'll hear from him."