Richard Simmons has struck a deal with "National Enquirer" in his transgender defamation lawsuit that will put the legal drama behind him ... for the most part.

Simmons has agreed to drop his appeal against American Media -- which owns 'Enquirer' -- after a judge ruled against him last year. If you don't remember, the fitness icon sued for defamation over a story published claiming he was in the process of sexual reassignment.

The judge sided with American Media, though, saying being misidentified as transgender does not inherently expose someone to "hatred, contempt or ridicule." Simmons filed an appeal shortly thereafter.

The 2 sides have now come to an agreement to drop it and move on ... but the terms are confidential. So, it's unclear if Simmons is still on the hook for American Media's legal fees.

Not everything related to the case is wrapped up -- he's still got a lawsuit out against the private investigator who allegedly planted tracking devices on him to try and prove the sex change rumors.

That P.I. was charged with the crime of Willful Use of a Tracking Device in July.

John Elliott

John Elliott

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