Listen to Richard Simmons Break His Silence on “TODAY”

Click here for the “Today” show interview with Richard Simmons that aired this morning. I watched it on TV about an hour ago. It was a phone interview with Savannah Guthrie that took place on Sunday, and they played it at 7:40 this morning, over a series of photos and b-roll footage of Richard’s appearances, classes, and videos.


You can listen for yourself, but Richard did pretty much exactly what I thought he would do: he confirmed that he’s happy and healthy, refuted the claims from the New York Daily News article that he was being held against his will, and told his friends and fans not to worry. There were no shocking revelations, no heated exchanges, no attacks on the people who have put forth outrageous claims.

“For all the people that are worrying about me, I want to tell them that I love them with all my heart and soul. And that not to worry, Richard’s fine. And you haven’t seen the last of me, I’ll come back, and I’ll come back strong.”

My heart skipped a beat when he first began talking. It was a powerful moment hearing his voice for the first time in a long time. It was instantly recognizable, even after over two years of silence.

There’s a part of me that wishes Savannah dug a little deeper, asking, for example, why it’s taken him so long to put his fans at ease, but I’m sure I could nitpick any interview, and that’s not the point.

I’m just happy that Richard has finally added his voice to the conversation, and that’s something I’ve been wanting for years. I asked, way back in June 2014, that Richard let us know he’s okay, and that we shouldn’t worry, and now he’s done exactly that. His voice, during the interview, didn’t have his same trademark effervescence or ebullience that we’re used to in a Richard Simmons television appearance. There was little enthusiasm. His words were measured and carefully chosen. But it was Richard, talking in a tone that is rare for him, but one that I’ve heard before.

I don’t see any point into speculating about his health – mental, emotional, or otherwise – based on the interview, because 1) we’d never get any answers, and 2) I don’t think he wanted to do the interview, and that would affect his demeanor. I think it was a public relations necessity, based on the whirlwind of news that circulated this weekend, and in that regard, Richard did what was needed. He delivered enough to quiet the media, or at least pivot it away from headlines claiming he was being held hostage via magic spell.

I don’t think we’re going to get more, either. Well, a little more: Richard granted “Entertainment Tonight” an interview on Sunday, too, that’s airing tonight, but they already ran an article online, and it sounds very similar to what he shared on “Today.” (My TiVo is set regardless.)

So, where to go from here? I’m going to listen to Richard, and I’m not going to worry. I’m going to continue sending him my love, continue to keep him in my heart, continue taking classes at his studio. I’m going to email him today and thank him for letting me hear his voice. And I’m going to wait for the return he says is going to happen, and I will give him a hug when I see him again. That’s what friends do.


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5 Responses to Listen to Richard Simmons Break His Silence on “TODAY”

  1. I miss him so much-it was wonderful to hear his voice!

  2. Charlotte Cavaluzzi says:

    Thank you David for sharing this. It was so good to finally hear from Richard, and I will continue to pray for him.

  3. Rebecca Hill says:

    Hey, David!

    It’s Rebecca Hill here. We chatted via email several years ago because we both had a connection to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s book, “Shaping the New You” that Richard Simmons worked on. (And we were in touch because the Ellen show was considering helping me give a healthy makeover to the recipes we use at the B&B Hotel I work at here in LA.) Anyway, I thought of you when I heard Richard’s phone interview on the Today Show and then read your blog. I know he is your health and fitness mentor and a friend and I’m sure you have been concerned about him. If/ when you happen to talk with him please tell him he is loved by thousands and thousands and thousands of people, including me. We respect his wishes for privacy and understand needing “alone time” but we love him whether he is jumping around in his dolphin shorts motivating us and making us laugh …and we also love him even if he’s having trouble with his knees/ having mobility issues or whatever challenges he may be facing.

    I know he probably thinks we all look to him to be our health and fitness teacher…but really I look to him to be a “life teacher” – to show us how life looks/ feels both in good times and when there are challenges. But, also, he doesn’t always have to be a teacher – sometimes he can just be a guy – a fabulous guy – who needs some time to himself. 🙂

    And speaking of fabulous guys who are an inspiration – glad to see you continue to do so well – KEEP IT UP, DAVID!

    🙂 Rebecca

  4. Kenlie says:

    I’m sending my love to him too…and to you…

  5. Carrie says:

    I love reading your thoughts on this. My guess is that he’s getting older and feels the need to slow down. He’s worn out. It does bother me a little that he didn’t even give a heads-up to family and close friends, or to those of us who connected with him long-distance, to let us know he’s worn out and needs to take a sabbatical for awhile. But maybe that would have drawn more attention to him, so I don’t know. I agree his publicists could have handled this much better than they have.

    Today I remembered how he used to light me up inside, I felt that today after reading this post. I miss him. I realized that he would want me to look to others (like you) who have stayed the course for inspiration. (That’s actually the reason he created a Clubhouse online–he can’t be everywhere at once, so he wanted a safe, positive environment for people to support each other in getting and staying healthy.)

    Anyway, I’m still sorting through my thoughts and feelings on this. Thank you for sharing yours. They have helped a lot.

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