Sue Bird on How She's Supporting Fiancée Megan Rapinoe Through Retirement: 'It's Never Easy' (Exclusive)

“It's not that we're experiencing the exact same thing, but it's very similar,” Bird, 42, tells PEOPLE. “There's a lot of parallels"

<p>Steph Chambers/Getty</p>

Steph Chambers/Getty

Having lived through her own retirement from professional sports last year, Sue Bird has some perspective on how she can support her fiancée Megan Rapinoe’s upcoming change in employment status.

While speaking to PEOPLE at the Forbes Power Women's Summit in New York City, Bird shared that, so far, their experience has been “very similar” since Rapinoe announced that she would retire at the end of 2023.

“It's not that we're experiencing the exact same thing, but it's very similar,” Bird, 42, says. “There's a lot of parallels. I think for me in this particular moment, I can just give my perspective, give my thoughts, share my experience, and let her take from that what makes sense.”

She adds, “Let her take from that what's going to hopefully help her through. Because I think, no matter what, it doesn't matter what career it is, if you've done something for as long as Megan's been playing soccer, myself, basketball, it's an adjustment. Even if you're ready. She's ready. Even if you're ready, it's never easy, so just supporting in that way.”

Related: Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird's Relationship Timeline

For Bird’s part, she’s been keeping busy with her media and commerce company TOGETHXR and her production company A Touch More.

With the latter, Bird and Rapinoe, 38, are delving into new careers with the goal of telling captivating stories, Bird says.

“Megan and I work really well together, and that's not to say it's all roses,” she says. “I think that's really where the good stuff comes from, the good ideas. It's from bumping heads, it's from having different perspectives, different journeys, and bringing that to the table and seeing what makes sense, what matches, and challenging each other.”

Ethan Miller/Getty
Ethan Miller/Getty

She adds, “I think that's how A Touch More came to be, us sitting on the couch just talking s--- about a bunch of different things. Sometimes we're in total alignment, sometimes we just see it differently, but then we're able to talk through it and whittle down to the actual heart of it all. That, I think is where our partnership as people can really be beneficial in the business world. We're accustomed to doing that from our sports backgrounds, from our team sports backgrounds. We have it in our relationship also, and hopefully we can bring it to the rest of the world through A Touch More.”

The couple, who have been engaged since 2020, have experience on the retirement front.

At the former WNBA star’s jersey retirement ceremony in Seattle in June, Bird laughed along as her fiancée serenaded her with the late Tina Turner’s “The Best,” urging the crowd of more than 13,000 Seattle Storm fans to sing along.

Rapinoe’s voice began to shake with emotion as she delivered her speech honoring Bird, telling her: “There’s no one like you.”

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“You’re everything on the court that everybody could ever wish to be, all of the dreams that little kids have, you’ve done it all,” Rapinoe said. “And I think the thing that everybody knows in here and certainly the people closest to you is you’re so much better off of it. You’ve given everybody this beacon for all of these years, how to be, how to carry yourself, how to treat people.”

Related: Megan Rapinoe Serenades Fiancée Sue Bird as 'Simply the Best' at Jersey Retirement Ceremony

Bird met Rapinoe at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the two athletes began dating shortly afterwards, announcing their engagement four years later.

"I love you so much,” Rapinoe told Bird at the ceremony. “Congratulations on ... arguably the best career that anyone has ever had in the history of any sport, ever.”

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