Richard Simmons is well known for his outlandish personality and workout routines, but the fitness guru is now suing over claims that he underwent a sex change. Radar Online and the National Enquirer have covered Simmons’ secret life away from the cameras and aren’t backing down from their gender identity reports. What’s the truth behind Simmons’ lawsuit?
Radar Online released an official statement on the matter, defending their piece on Simmons. In the original story, the outlet released photos of Simmons dressed as a woman and claimed that he was transitioning into a female. The photos are pretty damning evidence against Simmons, who has disappeared from the spotlight in recent years.
Based on their statement, it is clear that the two tabloids are not backing down from their claims.
According to CNN, Simmons is suing the outlets for invasion of privacy and libel. The fitness star says that the tabloids published “hurtful” and “egregious” rumors about his sexual orientation. He officially filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Monday. The original stories were published from June 2016 to March 2017.
USA Today reports that Simmons says that the photos were leaked by one Mauro Oliveira, who has a history of stalking him.
“[Oliveira] has blackmailed, extorted and stalked Simmons for several years with the intention of destroying (Simmons’) career and reputation,” the lawsuit explains.
Simmons did not, however, divulge his relationship with Oliveira or why the man was in possession of the photos. Simmons has not released an official statement on the matter.
According to MSN, a rep of Oliveira claims that the stories are true. Although Simmons says Oliveira sold the photos to make money, Oliveira claims that Simmons actually owes him compensation for work and only sold the stories to help pay for health problems.
In the photos, Simmons is featured wearing different dresses and showing off lingerie. One image shows a topless photo of the fitness star, complete with black bars over his nipples. An insider claims that Simmons underwent “a boob job” and that he was “taking hormones to make them grow.” Even more, sources claim that Simmons had taken on the name Fiona and had a surgeon castrate him.
Richard Simmons was understandably angered by the release of the photos and accompanying rumors. He denies that the stories are true and says the images are from back in 2013 when he frequently dressed up as a female to go along with his entertainment personality.
“The National Enquirer and Radar Online used Mr. Simmons’ respite from the glare of public life to treat his persona as a defamation free-fire zone, acting as if they had a license to publish any story they wanted about Simmons,” the suit continues.
Despite Simmons’ lawsuit, American Media, the parent company that owns Radar Online and the National Enquirer, isn’t backing down. The company released a statement that bashed Simmons for wanting a private life while promoting his brand in the media.
“We stand by our reporting about Mr. Simmons, and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit and win public vindication of our reports.”
Simmons is seeking unspecified damages for the reports. He is also demanding an official apology from the outlets and a retraction of the original stories. Simmons has been reclusive over the past few years but recently made a statement that he was alive and well, despite the rumors that surrounded his disappearance from the public eye. He was also recently hospitalized for indigestion but has since been released.
A rep for Simmons refused to comment on the lawsuit. Based on the statement from American Media, it might be a while before this one is resolved in court.
Tell us! Whose side are you on: Richard Simmons or the tabloids? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images]