Richard Simmons
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
Gabrielle Olya and Liz McNeil
March 23, 2017 01:10 PM

Richard Simmons may no longer be publicly active, but he keeps himself busy at home by tending to his pets, cooking and watching television.

“He’s doing exactly what he wants to do,” his older brother Lenny Simmons, 70, tells PEOPLE of his brother, who has not been seen in public since 2014. “It’s not like he’s sitting around doing absolutely nothing and staring into empty space, because that’s not him.”

Instead of teaching workout classes and making public appearances, Richard’s new life is now devoted to simpler joys.

“I know he reads, I know he watches TV, I know he rests. I presume he exercises because he looks good,” says Lenny. “He loves his birds and his garden. He has a lot of hummingbirds that he feeds — he has hundreds of them. He helps cook — he’s always been a good cook.”

  • What happened to Richard Simmons? Close family and friends give PEOPLE the real scoop on the beloved fitness guru’s mindset during his three years out of the spotlight in the latest issue, on stands Friday.

Richard’s favorite TV shows these days include 60 Minutes and Wheel of Fortune.

“He watches 60 Minutes — he says that really keeps him up with current events,” says his brother. “I know he likes some of the game shows that kind of challenge him. We’ll watch Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy!, and we try to see who comes up with the answer first so we kind of play that game too.”

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Richard has also spent his time out of the spotlight growing a beard.

“When I look at him, he still looks like my brother,” says Lenny. “He has the beard, his hair is a little grayer but you expect that at 68. But he doesn’t seem to be upset about anything.”

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