A story started making the rounds this weekend that ebullient fitness guru Richard Simmons was a prisoner in his own home, his entire life being controlled by parties taking advantage of his fragile mental and physical state. But he thinks that story's just plain nuts.

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"No one is holding me in my house as a hostage,'' Simmons tells the "Today" show via telephone. "You know, I do what I want to do as I've always done, so people should sort of just believe what I have to say because, like, I'm Richard Simmons." That's pretty tough logic to argue with.

As for whether his longtime housekeeper was keeping him prisoner and controlling all aspects of his life, keeping friends away? "That's just very silly," he insists. "Teresa Reveles has been with me for 30 years. It's almost like we're a married couple." So … yes? But OK, Richard, are you not free to speak freely? Is Teresa in the room with you? Just give us some sort of signal if you're in distress. 

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick