Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe said they "tightened up" a little before their ESPN Body Issue photo shoot, but that they were honored to be asked to do it.
For the first time since ESPN Magazine released its first Body Issue in 2009, the magazine will feature a same-sex couple on the cover.
Seattle power couple Sue Bird, of the Storm, and Megan Rapinoe, of the Reign, will be featured on the cover of the 10th anniversary edition of ESPN’s Body Issue, that hits newsstands this Friday. It also includes photos of the Storm’s Breanna Stewart.
In a wide-ranging interview last month, Bird, 37, and Rapinoe, 32, told The Seattle Times that they recently moved in together. They have been dating since fall 2016, and went public with their relationship last summer.
“I think neither of us really wants to just do things and be like, ‘We’re the gay couple,'” Rapinoe told ESPN’s Jemele Hill in an interview for the Body Issue. “But to have this really unique vehicle to actually do that, to celebrate who we are in our sport, but also the fact that we’ll be the first gay couple, is pretty special. It’s pretty amazing to think about, especially in the times we’re in. Just think of how far we’ve come, but also the current climate and defiance in the face of that. Not only are we female athletes, but we’re dating as well. It’s kind of badass.
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“I think it’s important to do these things first. It’s important for people to come out. Visibility is important. It’s important for there to be a first one on the cover (of the Body Issue), or whatever. Just in terms of the culture and society, someone has to do it.”
Hill also asked the couple why it felt like the “right time” to have an openly gay couple on the cover of the Body Issue.
“What better time than when we need to be celebrating things that are different about us and accepting them and trying to understand them better? It’s pretty incredible to be in this moment,” Rapinoe said.
The Q&A that accompanied ESPN’s photo spread also included some fun gems about which of the two women would win in a footrace — Bird concedes Rapinoe might beat her “right now” — and a question about the most physical feat that each has accomplished.
Rapinoe and Bird said they “tightened up a bit” in preparation for the Body Issue photoshoot, but there was also some complaining from Rapinoe in the lead up to photo day, Bird said.
Here’s a photo gallery of ESPN’s shoot with Bird and Rapinoe.