So much has been made of the fact that Richard Simmons hasn’t been seen in public since 2014 but his brother, Lenny, suggests that the former fitness guru just “needs some time to himself.” The older sibling wants to put fans’ minds at ease as Richard continues to be reclusive.

Richard lives in Los Angeles and Lenny lives in New Orleans where the brothers grew up. In-person visits doesn’t happen often but Lenny insists that the pair speak on the phone once a week. “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 says. “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.”

So what’s going on? Apparently, Richard, whose video series “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” propelled him to fame in the 80s, is enjoying a quieter existence. For years, Lenny explains, the younger Simmons devoted his life to helping others and now he’s focusing on himself.

Despite the fact that the 68-year-old told the Today show that he does go for walks and leave the house, no one has actually seen him in three years. Lenny, however, spent Christmas with him just a couple months ago and said that everything seemed just fine.

Even when Richard doesn’t leave the house, he’s not alone. His housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, spends a lot of time at the home. “Teresa is a very lovely lady. She has been a good friend of my brother for over 20 some odd years,” Lenny adds. “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.”

Mauro Oliveira, Richard’s former friend and massage therapist, said that Richard’s behavior is shocking because “he used to have friends over all the time, dinner parties all the time.”

Maybe that’s part of the problem, especially if you believe anything Lenny Simmons says. He believes that Richard “certainly deserves his vacation,” and that he “certainly cannot fault him for wanting to do that.”

Regardless of anyone’s opinion, Lenny tried to put things in perspective by saying: “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.”

That is absolutely true. Authorities have conducted a couple wellness checks on him and Richard Simmons seems to be just fine. He just needs a break and after years of helping others, he deserves it!