Richard Simmons Signs Licensing Deal, Could Signal Return to Public Life

Spotlight on fitness guru intensified in recent weeks thanks to podcast “Missing Richard Simmons”

After rampant speculation into his whereabouts, fitness guru Richard Simmons may be preparing for a return to public life.

The reclusive “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” icon signed an agreement for merchandising, licensing and endorsements with Prominent Brand + Talent, the management company co-founded by Simmons’ longtime manager Michael Catalano, according to License Global.

Simmons, who has not been seen in public in three years, has been thrust back into the spotlight thanks filmmaker Dan Taberski’s popular podcast, “Missing Richard Simmons,” in which Taberski tries to understand why Simmons abandoned public life.

In the third episode, Simmons’ longtime friend and former masseur, Mauro Oliveira, said he believes Simmons is being held against his will by his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, whom he called a “witch.”

A rep for fitness icon Richard Simmons has staunchly denied the allegations, saying that Simmons has stepped back from his celebrity life to simply be more private.

“Richard made a choice. To live a more private life. If he decides to come back, he’ll come back,” Tom Estey said. “People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn’t. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that’s when he’ll come back.”

Catalano, in discussing the new licensing deal with the New York Times, said it’s “possible” Simmons will make public appearances to promote new products.

“All I can say, at least for now, is it is possible,” he said. “But it is yet to be determined, I would say.”