Richard Simmons' older sibling, Lenny, tells ET that his brother's fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to the fitness mogul's well-being.
After Dan Taberski aired his interview with Lenny on this week's episode of the podcast, Missing Richard Simmons
, Lenny spoke exclusively with ET over the phone about what his brother has been up to since completely retreating from the public eye.
While Lenny doesn't see his brother that often, since he lives in New Orleans -- where they grew up -- and Richard lives in Los Angeles, he does say that the two speak on a weekly basis. "I talked to him on Sunday, he was doing great. He was asking about our renovations to our home. And we had just gone to see the Broadway musical, Beautiful," Lenny recalls. "We talk every Sunday. He calls me and we have a great conversation and then he talks to my wife. He probably talks to my wife longer than he talks to me."
As for Richard's overall disposition, Lenny says the Sweatin' to the Oldies star is "content"
being out of the limelight. "After all those years, I don't know how he did it," he says. "He was on 24/7, at least. ...People were always calling him and he was always good enough to want to talk to them."
Richard has not been seen out in public in over three years, and while the 68-year-old fitness guru
told the Today
show in a phone interview that he leaves his home and takes walks, he's yet to be spotted. Lenny tells ET that he believes his brother when he says that he's gets out of the house, though that was not the case when he visited Richard in December.
"We were out there for Christmas this year -- like we are every year -- and we had a great time with him. But he did have a cold, so he really wasn't going out that much that day," Lenny notes.
Lenny also has nothing but nice things to say about Richard's housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, who is said to be his closest confidant. "Teresa is a very lovely lady. She has been a good friend of my brother for over 20 some odd years," he insists, adding that it bothers him that Teresa is being painted in a negative light. "It stresses me to hear that people think that she is holding him hostage or that she is mean. She isn't. She is a very nice person."
While many of Richard's fans and friends continue to express concern for him, Lenny is adamant that this is how his brother wants to live. "My brother certainly deserves his vacation," he says. "I certainly cannot fault him for wanting to do that."
Lenny adds, "I would just hope people [can] be a little bit more respectful and realize that he's worked hard and he still loves people -- but he needs some time for himself."
Last week, ET also spoke to Richard's former friend and massage therapist, Mauro Oliveira, who expressed concerned about the fitness guru stepping out of the public eye. "He used to have friends over all the time, dinner parties all the time," he recalled. "That's why it bogs my mind that he decided to 'completely abandon the world.'"
Reporting by Tracie De La Rosa.