Are Bert and Ernie a couple? Sesame Street weighs in

There are conflicting reports on whether or not beloved characters Bert and Ernie are romantically involved.

The duo are two of Sesame Street's most iconic characters, known for their close bond despite their contrasting personalities.

Many people have assumed that because Bert and Ernie sleep together in the same room, they are in a relationship.

Their alleged romance has been the subject of jokes in comedy shows such as The Simpsons, Modern Family and Friends.

Bert and Ernie were depicted on the cover of The New Yorker in 2013 to commemorate the legalisation of same-sex marriage across the United States.

In an interview with LGBT news website Queerty, screenwriter Mark Saltzman opened up about his experience working on Sesame Street in the 1980s.

He revealed that when he wrote skits for Bert and Ernie, he wrote them as a "loving couple" based on his own relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman.

"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [gay]. I didn't have any other way to contextualize them."

Mr Saltzman says he was the happy-go-lucky Ernie to his partner's more serious Bert.

"That's what I had in my life, a Bert and Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert."

However Sesame Street itself has denied Mr Saltzman's claims that the pair are lovers.

"Bert and Ernie are best friends," Sesame Workshop said in a statement. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.

"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."

Many on social media took issue with the show's statement, saying that many other Muppets are shown to be in heterosexual relationships, such as Kermit and Miss Piggy.

It's not the first time the show has distanced itself from such suggestions.

In 2011, Sesame Workshop issued the same statement in response to a petition asking that Bert and Ernie get married on the show.