Richard Simmons responds to rumors: 'I am not kidnapped'

Fitness guru Richard Simmons is responding to recent rumors that he has cut off communication with his friends and is being held against his will at his home in Hollywood Hills, California.

In a telephone interview Sunday with an "Entertainment Tonight" producer, Simmons, 67, said, "I am not kidnapped. I am just in my house right now."

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The New York Daily News published a story Saturday claiming that Simmons hasn't been seen publicly in two years, with one source saying he thinks Simmons' housekeeper is holding him hostage.

Simmons' press representative, Tom Estey, quickly responded, telling USA Today, "Richard Simmons has been in the public eye for 40 years, and he's opted out. It's his right to do it. That's the God's honest truth. There's nothing more to it than that."

Estey added, "I don't want the readers of USA Today to think this man is a Howard Hughes recluse in his own home. He's just not."

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Simmons told ET that he simply needed some alone time.

"I love all the people who worry about me, but it was time for me to take some time to be by myself," Simmons told ET. "For the last 40 years, I have been traveling, teaching classes, and I had a knee injury, so I had a knee replacement, which was very difficult for me. … I have really just been taking it easy, staying at home, working out in my gym and doing the things I haven't done in a very long time."

Simmons added, "No one should be worried about me. The people that surround me are wonderful people who take great care of me."

Read more here.

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