Richard Simmons Claims Former Assistant Has Been Blackmailing Him

Richard Simmons is fighting back after being hounded by the press following his disappearance from the public eye.  Simmons filed a lawsuit against the National Enquirer and their publishers for publishing false stories they received from Simmon's former assistant Mauro Oliveira.

According to People, the lawsuit claims Oliveira had "blackmailed, extorted and stalked Mr. Simmons for several years with the intention of destroying the career and reputation of Mr. Simmons." Oliveira allegedly contacted tabloids, and offered to give them information about why Simmons had cut back on public appearances over the past few years. 

Over the past few months, there has been rampant speculation as to what happened to Simmons. There were reports he was being held hostage by his housekeeper, he was "frail, weak and spiritually broken," and that he had undergone gender transition surgery. Simmons low public profile was even the subject of a podcast titled Missing Richard Simmons, which delved into the fitness guru's disappearance. 

The lawsuit says the tabloids "were aware of Mr. Oliveira’s opportunistic behavior after receiving notices from Mr. Simmons’ representatives but continued to republish the defamatory" stories anyway. 

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