Richard Simmons sues National Enquirer for libel

Richard Simmons
FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2013 file photo, fitness guru Richard Simmons arrives at the Project Angel Food's 2013 Angel Awards in Los Angeles. After an absence from the spotlight, Richard Simmons is speaking out directly to his fans, saying, “Hope to see you again soon!” Simmons issued a statement to People magazine Wednesday. After reportedly being hospitalized Monday for severe indigestion, Simmons sent greetings Wednesday to “everyone who has shown concern for me and sent their good wishes.” He also says that “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.” (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Richard Simmons has filed a libel lawsuit against the National Enquirer and its parent company over stories that claim he is living as a transgender woman.

The lawsuit filed Monday is seeking unspecified damages as well as an apology and retraction for stories published in June 2016 and March 2017 in the Enquirer and its website, RadarOnline.

The lawsuit against American Media, Inc., states the stories rely on a man who has tried to blackmail the former fitness guru for years, and included a 2013 photo of Simmons dressed in drag.

It states Simmons often dressed as a woman as part of his public persona.

Simmons retreated from public life in 2014, sparking rampant speculation about his health and wellbeing.

The Enquirer wrote in a statement that it is standing by its reporting on Simmons.

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