Richard Simmons won't be appearing in person on his newly launched online channel, "Richard Simmons Sweatin' Shop." Instead, according to a new report, the fitness guru's friends will be slinging his merchandise.
The reclusive star's manager told Page Six in a statement, "We hear from Richard's fans every day asking where they can find both classic and new Richard merchandise to help keep them motivated. Talkshop.live, a unique new sales portal where anyone can instantly become a seller of goods, presented the ideal platform to achieve just that."
Richard's last public appearance was in January 2014.
"Richard, 70 and retired, was not required to present the product, so we enlisted the next best thing. Loving students, cast mates and FOR (Friends of Richard)," the statement said. "From time to time, we will engage other people as presenters as well. We hope this becomes a way for Richard's fans to stay in touch and stay inspired."
Once a fixture at Hollywood events, Richard has eschewed public life, but a bizarre string of tabloid stories have kept his name in the media.
In 2014, a report suggested that he was battling debilitating depression. After that, reports indicated that he was being held hostage by his housekeeper, which he, his team and the police said was patently false. In 2016, he was hospitalized for two days after some "bizarre behavior," leading many to wonder if he was perhaps having a stroke.
In 2016, he also sued the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media, for its June 2016 cover story, alleging that he was in hiding while undergoing the transition to become female.
The mag claimed that he underwent a, "secret boob job and castration surgery." But, Richard put a kibosh on any and all gender surgery rumors.
"I have never sought nor obtained any medical treatment or procedure designed to transition from male to female," the eccentric aerobics-video mogul asserted.
A judge eventually dismissed the suit, arguing that saying someone is transgender is not defamatory.