Megan Rapinoe Pinches Herself When Thinking About 'How Lucky' She Is to Share Life with Sue Bird
"I think to have a lot of women at the center of all of this social change that's happening around female athletes and activism is really just amazing. I feel like every time she does something I'm like bursting with pride and she's just doing so many things out in the world that really are making a difference," soccer star Rapinoe, 35, tells PEOPLE while speaking about her partnership with Smirnoff.
Rapinoe and Seattle Storm player Bird, 40, started dating in 2016 after meeting at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. They got engaged in October 2020.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic postponing or canceling many events in the sports world last year, Rapinoe tells PEOPLE that the couple found a "silver lining" as they've "been able to spend almost every day together."
"Being able to spend so much time together — normally our jobs keep us ships in the night passing each other — that's been incredible," the U.S. Women's National Soccer team player explains.
Rapinoe, who has been at the forefront of the USWNT fight for pay equity, says she and Bird, an activist within the WNBA, often bounce ideas off of each other and share passions. "So it's really pretty special. I think I pinch myself all the time thinking how lucky we are to be in this life together."
Both women are currently vying to compete at the Olympic games this summer with the USWNT and, for Bird, Team USA's women's basketball team.
As part of her partnership with Smirnoff, Rapinoe participated in a virtual fitness class with Washington, D.C.-based fitness studio SideBarre as well as an intimate Q&A session and Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions Lemon & Elderflower cocktail-making class on March 31.
Smirnoff partnered with SideBarre, a Black women-owned small business, to give adults across the country access to the complimentary class in support of Black female entrepreneurs. The alcohol brand has committed $500,000 to the Black community and pledged $50,000 of that to charitable organization Black Girl Ventures in honor of the SideBarre partnership.
"I've had a great partnership with Smirnoff through this year and all through last year," Rapinoe tells PEOPLE. "I just knew that it was going to be a brand that I vibe with and that had the same sort of beliefs as me and wanted to use their platform in a similar way that I try to use my platform."
The athlete thinks it's "cool" for a global brand like Smirnoff to help a small business like SideBarre get "the exposure."
"Ultimately I want to partner with people who have the same values, and with brands who have the same values."
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