Reclusive entertainer Richard Simmons was photographed for the first time in three years after returning from hospital Thursday evening.
The former fitness guru, 68, has spent the last four days inside Cedars Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills where he was being treated for indigestion.
Simmons left the hospital at approximately 5pm Pacific Time, hidden under a blanket in the backseat of a Mercedes car driven by his long-term housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, on the way back to his LA home.
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Richard Simmons, 68, was seen being driven from hospital to his LA mansion on Thursday night. He emerged from the car shrouded in a blanket and guided by his long-time housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, 64
The one-time fitness guru seemed frail as he walked – possibly a sign of his recent bout of indigestion, for which he was hospitalized for four days. He had initially waited in his car until police arrived to escort him
Only Simmons’ hand could be glimpsed from within the blanket as he was guided back to his home, where he has lived a near-hermit-like existence since he vanished from the public eye in 2014
Simmons was also wearing a pristine pair of New Balance sneakers as he returned to his mansion – perhaps a sign of how little he goes outside. Even his dogs are walked by his housekeeper
Reveles, 64, had previously refused to comment on Simmons’ condition after being approached by DailyMail.com as she pulled up at 2.15pm.
The pair arrived at Simmons’ gated mansion 15 minutes after leaving the hospital and drove into the garage attached to the house.
But Simmons, apparently still reluctant to be seen, hid inside for 40 minutes – during which time four LAPD cop cars, a police helicopter, and his manager Michael Catalano arrived.
Eventually, Simmons was helped out of the garage by Reveles, still hiding beneath a blanket and screened by Catalano’s Range Rover, and into the main house.
Despite his recent release from hospital, the fitness guru, who was wearing a pair of blue sweatpants and a pristine pair of New Balance sneakers, appeared frail as he was ushered inside.
Catalano declined to comment on Simmons’ health when contacted by DailyMail.com.
Once a familiar face on TV, Simmons has been holed up inside his Los Angeles mansion for the last 38 months and has reportedly cut off contact with friends, as well as fans.
His admission to hospital on Monday is thought to be the first time he has left home in three years, with Catalano breaking the news of his illness the same day.
Simmons had waited in his car for 40 minutes, with only his housekeeper for company, before he emerged, wrapped in a blanket and walking weakly
Simmons only departed when his manager, Michael Catalano (left), arrived, along with police (right). Police had also been seen at his home on Wednesday, while he was in hospital. It’s not known why they were there
Speaking to ABC News, he said: ‘After a few days of battling severe indigestion and discomfort while eating, we agreed it was best for him to seek treatment.
‘He’s already feeling better and is expected to make a full recovery.’
The following day, Simmons released a statement on social media thanking fans for their concern, accompanied by a photograph of himself dating from 2014 – the year he withdrew from view.
He said: ‘Aren’t you sick of hearing and reading about me?! LOL,’ he wrote. ‘Well by now you know that I’m not “missing”, just a little under the weather.
‘I’m sure I will be feeling good and back home in a couple of days. You will never know how much it means to me.
‘This has reminded me that when you need help you can’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it. We all think we should always be able to solve our problems all by ourselves and sometimes it’s just bigger than we are.
Simmons posted to Facebook for the first time in years on Wednesday to say thank you to fans concerned for his health. He also posted this photograph – but it was from 2014, the same year he was last seen
‘I reached out and I hope you will too. I’m sure there are people in your life who love and care for you and would do anything to help you with the challenges you face.
‘Just knowing you care has already made me feel better. Hope to see you again soon!’
Simmons’ disappearance from public life has become one of the great celebrity mysteries of recent years and has sparked a slew of articles, as well as a 2017 podcast called ‘Missing, Richard Simmons’.
The podcast, which was inspired by a 2016 DailyMail.com story, sparked renewed interest in the fitness guru’s disappearance.
Friends had previously claimed Simmons was being ‘held hostage’ by Reveles but Simmons’ brother Lenny, 70, of New Orleans, Louisiana, last month told People that the entertainer is doing fine.
He said: ‘He’s doing exactly what he wants to do. It’s not like he’s sitting around doing absolutely nothing and staring into empty space, because that’s not him.
‘I know he reads, I know he watches TV, I know he rests. I presume he exercises because he looks good.’
Lenny added: ‘When I look at him, he still looks like my brother. He has the beard, his hair is a little grayer but you expect that at 68. But he doesn’t seem to be upset about anything.’
Simmons is also understood to be planning a comeback in the next few months and has signed a lucrative deal with Prominent Brand + Talent.
This new deal gives Prominent the rights to represent Richard Simmons for licensing, merchandising and endorsement opportunities around the globe.
An LAPD helicopter (pictured) joined the four police cars that arrived while Simmons was hiding in his garage