Richard Simmons will do anything to protect his privacy.
According to People Magazine, the famous fitness instructor is ready to file legal action against RadarOnline and the National Enquirer, and their parent company American Media, Inc., after he claimed they published content about him “in a hurtful campaign of defamations and privacy invasions.”
NBC News reported that Simmons filed the suit on Monday with the Los Angeles Superior Court and is seeking undisclosed damages.
The cruel and malicious publication of these stories is particularly offensive because Mr. Simmons fully supports individual autonomy and the essential human dignity of every person to make his or her own personal choices regarding sexual identity," the complaint stated.
The National Enquirer and Radar Online have cheaply and crassly commercialized and sensationalized an issue that ought to be treated with respect and sensitivity. Principles of freedom of speech and press may protect their prerogative to mock and degrade the LGBTQ community. But freedom to speak is not freedom to defame. Mr. Simmons, like every person in this nation, has a legal right to insist that he not be portrayed as someone he is not. Even the most ardent supporter of sexual autonomy and LGBTQ rights is entitled to be portrayed in a manner that is truthful.
“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 spokesman for American Media Inc. said, according to NBC News. “Should he choose to proceed with his lawsuit, we will defend it vigorously, and we look forward to the public vindication of our reports.”
“People have a right to privacy, and just because someone is a public figure doesn't mean their right to privacy is gone.” Simmons’ manager, Michael Catalano said in a statement to NBC News. “Richard is very glad get his side of the story out. This has been going on for a long time.”
Simmons has not been seen in public in nearly three years, but it was recently reported that he was hospitalized for severe indigestion. Upon his release from the hospital, Simmons posted to his official Facebook page to thank fans for their support and express his gratitude to those who cared for him during his hospitalization.
“They make you feel good even though you’re in the hospital for feeling bad,” he wrote, thanking “the wonderful men and women of the Los Angeles Police Dept.”
LAPD Detective Kevin Becker spoke to People Magazine about Simmons’ condition after reportedly helping him back to his Los Angeles home.
“He looks really great,” Becker said. “He is getting older, like all of us, but he is in good shape. He is in great spirits. He was laughing and joking and talking. He is very friendly, very funny.
Kelcie Willis with the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this story.