In the latest legal wrangling over the defamation suit Richard Simmons filed against National Enquirer, Radar Online and their parent company American Media, the alleged source behind the reports that Simmons was transitioning genders said in a signed declaration filed Thursday that he never told reporters the fitness guru was becoming a woman.
Simmons filed a lawsuit in May over stories claiming that the fitness icon is transitioning from male to female, according to court documents.
The media reports that alleged Simmons was changing genders used Mauro Oliveira, Simmons' former masseuse, as their source. Oliveira was also the one who sold photos to a media agency of Simmons dressed in women's clothing, which were used to accompany the stories.
In July, the media outlets asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out, arguing in court documents that saying someone is undergoing a gender transition is "not defamatory under modern jurisprudence."
Neville Johnson, Simmons' attorney, told ABC News that the National Enquirer "has gone out of its way to try and humiliate and embarrass and slander" Simmons.
"They have hyped this into a whole other story with all these other details that are simply wrong and false," Johnson added.
Simmons' move on Thursday argues the National Enquirer and Radar Online knowingly printed information that was false. Simmons' legal team filed a signed declaration from Oliveira, who claims that he never said that Simmons was transitioning genders.
"I was shocked and disturbed after discovering that the National Enquirer and Radar Online published cover stories claiming that Richard Simmons has transitioned into a woman and included the photos I supplied," Oliveira stated.
"Although I may have said that Richard Simmons's chest looks like the chest of someone who might be on hormones," Oliveira's statemend added, "I never stated that Richard Simmons is now a woman, had breast implants, or had sex-change surgery."
Johnson told ABC News that Simmons is "doing fine" in the midst of the legal battle.
"He just is private and he'd like to stay that way," Johnson said. "If he has to come forward and testify and have his body examined, so be it."
A spokesperson for American Media told ABC News the company "stands by its reporting."
"It’s the height of sophistry to claim to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights, yet also claim to be defamed by being identified as transgender. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s noted Mr. Simmons refusal to identify with or openly support gay and lesbian rights over the course of his entire career," the spokesperson said in a statement. "AMI stands by its reporting, which was not only supported by a lengthy on-the-record taped interview with Mr. Oliveira, it was also supported by photographs and videotape (which AMI possesses but did not publish), and was consistent with prior reporting about Mr. Simmons’ lifestyle. We look forward to litigating Mr. Simmons’ claims in a public court of law."
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 30.