Richard Simmons sues National Enquirer for libel

Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

"For Mr. Simmons to now claim that his privacy has been invaded is hypocritical when his entire livelihood is based upon the public consumption of his image", the company said in statement posted online Monday.

Richard Simmons has accused his former assistant of blackmail, stalking and extortion for peddling a false story that he transitioning to become a woman. "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", lawyers for Simmons allege in the court filing. It said he contacted the outlets with the stories in exchange for money.

Richard Simmons' choice to step out of the spotlight the past few years has left many people curious about his health and well-being, which forced his rep to give an update on him following a recent hospital stay.

Richard Simmons is ready to bring it on. To wit, Mr. Simmons signed a lucrative merchandising deal with a major branding company in April to handle licensing of his name and likeness.

Most recently, Dan Taberski created the popular Missing Richard Simmons podcast to find the truth behind why Simmons hadn't been seen in years.

The Enquirer responded on its website, saying that "this is a legitimate story that demands coverage". It is the business of The National ENQUIRER - and has been for past 90 years - to report what goes on behind the closed doors of Hollywood.

In February 2016, Simmons says Oliveira told the Enquirer Simmons was being held hostage by his long-term housekeeper Theresa Eveles. "The first being that he was frail, weak and spiritually broken".

As the complaint (read in full here) puts it, "This email - part of a longstanding pattern of harassment of Mr. Simmons by Mr. Oliveira - further demonstrates that Mr. Oliveira was obviously not credible, and any reliance on him as a source was reckless and malicious". The photos provided to The ENQUIRER are real - and speak for themselves.

As a source told NBC News, the 68-year-old fitness guru reportedly has plans to file a multi-complaint lawsuit on Monday for invasion of privacy and defamation against three now unnamed tabloids for recent "unflattering" and "hurtful" reports.

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