Update: Richard Simmons has filed a lawsuit claiming his former associate Mauro Oliveira has "blackmailed" him by providing untrue information about Simmons to tabloids, People reports. The lawsuit also claims that RadarOnline and The National Enquirer "knew and acted in reckless disregard for the fact that the information provided by Mr. Oliveira was false and that he was not a credible or reliable source."
"Since early 2014, Mr. Simmons has taken a leave of absence from the media spotlight in order to retreat from his 40-year career in television, fitness and other arenas of entertainment. Starting from around May 2015, Mauro Oliveira, an individual who has blackmailed, extorted and stalked Mr. Simmons for several years with the intention of destroying the career and reputation of Mr. Simmons, contacted several press outlets, including the National Enquirer and Radar, and offered information on Mr. Simmons's disappearance in exchange for a fee," the suit alleges, according to People.
Oliveira, meanwhile, denied the claims in a statement to People. "The allegations are false, and the real story about Richard Simmons will come out eventually," Oliveira told People. "Any reference to monetary compensation is the money Richard Simmons owes Mr. Oliveira for his work done for him, and also for the help he promised me when I stopped working for him, and also for the health problems Richard Simmons caused Mr. Oliveira."
Apparently, the lawsuit specifically names one conversation between Simmons and Oliveira, in which the latter "recanted his fabricated story regarding Mr. Simmons's gender transition." People notes that Oliveira is not named as a plaintiff in the suit against The National Enquirer and American Media. Inc.
This story was originally published at 3:20 p.m.
If there's one thing the controversy surrounding the Missing Richard Simmons podcast reminded us, it's that there are real consequences to gossiping about celebrities. After authorities confirmed that Simmons was fine, fans wondered what it said about them that they were so enthralled with his life and whereabouts. Plenty of rumors swirled about what Simmons has been up to, and it looks like the fitness guru isn't happy about all the gossip. Simmons plans to sue tabloids for their reports about him and invasion of privacy, according to a report from People.
The lawsuit will contain multiple complaints and names RadarOnline, The National Enquirer, and American Media, Inc., its parent company, as defendants, according to People. The outlets reportedly published stories about Simmons "in a hurtful campaign of defamations and privacy invasions," according to People's knowledge of the lawsuit.
It's not clear which stories about Simmons are in question, or if specific articles will be named in the lawsuit. According to the magazine's sources, it will be filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. A source also told NBC News that Simmons plans to file the suit.
"While we have not seen Mr. Simmons' complaint, we stand by our reporting about him, all of which was based on solid sourcing and material evidence," a spokesperson for American Media, Inc. told People. "Should he choose to proceed with his lawsuit, we will defend it vigorously, and we look forward to the public vindication of our reports."
While Simmons hadn't been seen in public since 2014, he was in the public eye again in April after being hospitalized for "severe indigestion." Following that incident, Simmons posted on Facebook to let fans know he was okay and to thank the doctors who treated him at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. He also participated in a phone interview with the Today show in 2016.
A rep for Simmons didn't immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment. We will update this story if and when we obtain a response.
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