Drug spirals, marrying a strip club boss and working in a clothes shop… the rocky lives of TV’s biggest recluses

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THERE are many stars who are quickly thrust into the spotlight – and a handful who just as rapidly step out of it.

One of them is weight-loss guru Richard Simmons, who voluntarily retreated from public life in 2014 and has barely been seen in years.

GettyRichard Simmons was one of the most famous fitness gurus in USA[/caption]

FoxRichard took himself out of the public eye in 2014 and became a recluse[/caption]

In a rare social media post this week, Richard bizarrely claimed he’s dying, before telling his fans to enjoy their lives, as “we’re all dying”.

Despite the alarming social media post, Richard’s manager later insisted that the 75-year-old fitness guru is “very healthy and very happy”.

The reclusive weight-loss instructor was a frequent face on television, and famous for his eccentric and flamboyant personality.

After moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s, Richard took an interest in healthy living and lost over 7st, making regular appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman and The Howard Stern Show.

However, he unplugged himself from media appearances completely in 2014.

By 2016, speculations and concerns about his health began to surface online.

He was last pictured in April 2017, arriving at his Los Angeles home, hiding under a blanket.

And earlier this year, he released a rare statement insisting he didn’t give his permission for an upcoming biopic by Warner Bros, The Court Jester, in which Pauly Shore is set to star as him.

He said: “I no longer have a manager, and I no longer have a publicist. I just try to live a quiet life and be peaceful.”

And he’s not the only US TV star to turn his back on fame for the quiet life.

Yasmine Bleeth

Yasmine Bleeth was one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, when she was on Baywatch

Yasmine Bleeth, 55, was one of Hollywood’s hottest stars back in the Nineties after she turned a guest appearance on Baywatch – alongside Pamela Anderson – into a three-season stint.

Her star turn on the show helped to launch her modelling career, and even led the actress to release her own line of swimwear.

She also dated the late Matthew Perry and Don Johnson at the height of their fame.

But the former star has rarely been seen in public since quitting acting two decades ago after a battle with addiction.

Studios and directors blacklisted her when she relapsed after leaving a rehab clinic and ended up getting arrested in 2001 when police found cocaine in her car following a crash.

While she was in rehab she met strip club owner Paul Cerrito and the pair tied the knot in August 2002 – and they’ve been together since.

In 2020, she was pictured for the first time in years. And she was last seen in May last year, taking a stroll in the sunshine, wearing a baggy jumper and fitted navy joggers teamed with Adidas trainers.

Angus T Jones 

Angus T Jones was just 10 years old when he started on Two and a Half Men

Angus T Jones was just 10 years old when he began playing Jake Harper in sitcom Two and a Half Men, opposite Charlie Sheen.

And, at one point in his life, he was the highest paid child actor in the world, earning a whopping $300,000 per episode of the show, which ran from 2003 to 2015.

In 2012, while he was still starring in the show, Angus revealed he had found God, and branded Two and a Half Men “filth,” urging fans to “stop watching” it.

In an interview with a Seventh-day Adventist-sponsored radio show, he said: “People will see us and be like, ‘I can be a Christian and be on a show like Two and a Half Men.’ 

“You can’t. You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can’t.”

He later issued an apology, saying: “I apologise if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.”

But, now 30, he lives a reclusive life away from the spotlight, and looked unrecognisable when he was spotted last year, having grown a beard and gone bald.

David Caruso

David Caruso looks very different from his CSI: Miami days

David Caruso, 68, is most well-known for playing Lieutenant Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami until the show came to an end in 2012.

After it was axed, David decided to give up acting and, instead, open an art gallery and clothing shop called Steam on Sunset in Florida.

He also became much more private, only having been seen out in 2016 and at the end of last year, when he looked very different.

David had grown out his signature red hair, and swapped dapper suits for a tracksuit, as well as shades for spectacles.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas had been acting since he was eight years old

Another former child star to have stepped away from the spotlight is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, 42.

He’s best known for starring in Home Improvement as Randy from 1991 to 1998, alongside Tim Allen.

But he was actually also the voice of young Simba in Disney’s The Lion King.

Jonathan stopped acting in 2015, however, and hasn’t been seen in public often since, apart from leaving his apartment in California wearing a woolly jumper and hat last year.

In 2013, speaking about why he quit Home Improvement in 1998, he told People: “I’d been going non-stop since I was eight years old. I wanted to go to school, to travel and have a bit of a break.”

Then, in 2016, he added to Premiere magazine: “You can’t be trapped in this bubble called the acting industry.

“The industry is neurotic and weird, and so when I go home and I play basketball with my friends, I’m not Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I’m just Jonathan. I don’t like hanging out with other actors and actresses.”

Robert Iler

Robert Iler played AJ Soprano on The Sopranos until it finished in 2007

Robert Iler played Anthony John ‘AJ’ Soprano Jr. on The Sopranos, and has been out of the limelight since it finished in 2007.

However the 39-year-old gave a rare interview in 2020, revealing he’d been working as a semi-pro poker player, but had stopped doing it as much due to a drug and alcohol addiction.

Speaking on the Talking Sopranos podcast, he said: “I was drinking a lot back in the day, so I would make money playing poker and then I would lose it betting on sports or roulette.

“I have not been drunk in over seven years and hardcore drugs is also seven years. But I was taking Xanax every day and it took to me a long time to get off Xanax, and I had to go see a specialist, so that has been five years.”

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