UPDATE (3:22 PM CT): According to the Sesame Workshop, Bert and Ernie are just friends and nothing more.
The company released a statement on Tuesday saying that the pair were “best friends” and “always” have said as much.
“They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” the statement said. “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits, and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.”
ORIGINAL STORY: For those of us who’ve watched Sesame Street for the past few decades, we always knew but never really said anything about the relationship of Bert and Ernie. They played together, lived together and even sing together. During the 48 (!) year run of Sesame Street, no one has made the obvious connection. Well, until now.
In an interview with Queerty, writer Mark Saltzman, who joined the show in 1984 revealed something we all knew: Bert and Ernie are a couple.
“When asked whether or not he thought of Bert and Ernie as a gay couple, Saltzman responded, I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”
The “Arnie” he’s referring to is acclaimed film editor Arnold Glassman, who passed away in 2003. Bert and Ernie may squabble and argue but hey, they love each other like a real couple.
So, there you have it!