Richard Simmons is speaking out publicly for the first time in years after TMZ released a documentary about the former fitness guru’s disappearance. Simmons, who is the subject of TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmonschimed in on Facebook to react to the outpouring of support after the special premiered on FOX and Hulu Wednesday (Aug. 24).
In a rare personal note, Simmons posted on Wednesday, “Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and love! ❤️ Love, Richard,” per TMZ.
Because Simmons’ Facebook account doesn’t often feature direct messages from the aerobics instructor, Simmons’ words quickly caught the attention of his followers, who gave the love right back to him in the comments section.
Just two days after the post went up, it’s already gathered over 34,000 reactions and nearly 5,000 comments on Facebook, and it’s easy to see why — Simmons has been absent from the public eye for nearly a decade.
Michael Catalano, Simmons’ manager, told People that the message came from Simmons himself. He confirmed to the outlet, “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.”
TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons explores the theories behind Simmons’ disappearance. The TV personality was last seen in February 2014, and since then rumors have circulated that he’s being held hostage or suffering health issues.
But according to Simmons’ spokesperson, he’s doing just fine. Two days after Simmons shared his heartfelt Facebook post, his rep Tom Estey assured fans that Simmons is plenty pleased with his life these days.
“Richard is eternally grateful for the continuous outpouring of love and gratitude he has received from across the Globe,” Estey told The New York Post. “He is happy, healthy and living the life he has decided to live.”
TMZ Investigates: What Really Happened to Richard Simmons is now streaming on Hulu.