As one of America’s most famous fitness personalities, Richard Simmons has had an epic career filled with bestselling books and exercise videos, hundreds of TV appearances, and a massively successful workout studio that stayed open for more than 40 years. In recent years, he’s become a mysterious figure due to his uncharacteristic absence from the spotlight and the rumors that his physical and mental health are deteriorating.
Through it all, the 73-year-old weight loss coach has refused to comment on his personal life, despite years of speculation about his sexual orientation. Ultimately, we need to respect his privacy. We don’t know if Richard Simmons is gay or not, and that’s ok. Simmons’ sexuality is his business. Here’s why people are so interested.
Why People Think Richard Simmons Is Gay
Richard Simmons has always had a larger-than-life personality. His flamboyant and eccentric nature—coupled with his love for short shorts and flashy, sparkly tank tops—have led many people to assume he was gay. Even Simmons himself has acknowledged that he’s not a typical “man’s man.” “My persona has always been what a man was never supposed to be,” the fitness guru said in a 1999 interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Outrageous, gregarious, crazy, silly, funny.”
Throughout the years, the press has continually questioned Simmons’s sexuality and speculated about his lovers. In 2017, Simmons even filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer and Radar Online for claiming he was in hiding because he was transitioning and undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Unfortunately for the Sweatin’ to the Oldies star, the defamation suit was dismissed, and Simmons was ordered to pay nearly $130,000 in legal fees for the defendants.
He Has Never Officially Come Out
The fact that Richard Simmons has never come out publicly has continued to fuel the rumors. He’s never confirmed or denied that he is gay and has always refused to discuss the issue when questioned during interviews. For example, during a press event for his 1999 autobiography Still Hungry After All These Years: My Story, a for the South Florida Sun Sentinel asked the exercise instructor if it bothered him that so many assume he is gay.
“Look, I’m not your average, you know, man in his 50s,” Simmons responded. “I’m not, you know, I don’t have the gray hair slicked back, I don’t have glasses on. I’m not in a coat and tie…[As a kid], I was called sissy and I wasn’t Mr. Macho and I didn’t play sports and guys were really very hard on me… even to the point of, you know, physical abuse, which I didn’t get into a whole lot in the book, but it happens in the school yards every day in 1999. If someone is not born with a deep voice and is macho, they’re getting picked on.”
“But my mother told me and it’s also in the book, never change, be who you are and do the good things that you do,” he added. “And what people think of you, let them think whatever they think.”
When the reporter responded by asking, “So you’re not going to talk about your sexual orientation?” Simmons said: “No, I don’t talk about two things. I don’t talk about my personal life and I don’t talk about death. So you can ask me any other area but those.”
At the end of the day, the only expert on Simmons’ sexuality is Simmons himself. Until he decides to break his silence, we won’t know for sure. So let’s respect his privacy, stop speculating, and enjoy some great workouts!