Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir know that the internet is invested in their relationship.
The Canadian ice dancers collected their second gold medal in ice dancing this week — they won their first in Vancouver back in 2010, and collected a silver in Sochi in 2014. However, in their latest Olympic run, the pair stirred up a romantic fantasy that has all of social media (not to mention Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb) invested: Are they a couple in real life as well as on the ice?
But Virtue and Moir insist their partnership is even better than what the internet has imagined, and that’s thanks to a lot of hard work, open communication, and yes, some undeniable chemistry.
“Our partnership is so much more than that, and in a lot of ways it’s so much better,” Virtue tells PEOPLE. “We’ve spent 20 years working on this partnership. We get along wonderfully well, but we’ve also worked really hard on communication, and we’ve done a lot of counseling and therapy and working with a sports psychologist to be at our best together, and communicate effectively and efficiently.”
Having people so invested in their relationship feels like a compliment on their skating to Virtue and Moir. As Virtue says: “What we do on the ice is most important.” And after all, when their skating connects with the audience and perhaps more importantly, the judges, that’s when the gold medals happen. But Virtue says that their close bond is so important to them — it’s the foundation of the skating that’s brought them so many medals and accolades in the past — that they like to keep it, in part, for themselves.
“This friendship and this bond that we share is, to us, the no. 1 priority,” Virtue says. “And while it’s lovely when people contemplate and question what’s really happening, I think we’re a little protective of it because it is so important to us and like I said, it’s better than anything else we could really imagine. I wish I had a better way to explain it or some kind of label to put on it but we don’t.”
One of the most special elements of their relationship to the gold medal ice dance team is that they still simply enjoy one another’s company. Moir says that — despite his viral women’s hockey reactions, which made Virtue laugh and say “doesn’t get much more Canadian than that” — that she’s the funny one in the team.
“Tessa’s hilarious,” Moir says. “I think it’s one of the things that gets overlooked because she’s always so pulled together, but she has the best sense of humor. It’s been the joy of my life to have as many laughs as we’ve had along the way.”
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Virtue, too, credits their ability to keep each other laughing, whether that’s on the ice or during one of their many karaoke sessions in the car (their go-to songs are anything country or J.Lo), to what’s kept them close throughout the years.
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“We still have so much fun together and we still look forward to spending time together,” she says. “I think we bring out the best in one other because we’re each other’s biggest fans.”
After three Olympic Games, PyeongChang is expected to be Virtue and Moir’s last — though they say no final decisions have been made yet — as they look to the future, and how they’ll continue to work together when they aren’t working towards that Olympic goal.
“We’ll always be in each other’s lives,” Virtue says. “We’ll have to navigate what that looks like moving forward.”