Snowboarder Shaun White may be dominating at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but his rocker girlfriend, Sarah Barthel, has some star power of her own.
White, 31, and Barthel, 34, have been dating for about five years after first meeting backstage at Saturday Night Live. He was in New York City apartment-hunting at the time and Barthel, a native of upstate New York, was living in Brooklyn, he previously told PEOPLE.
White said he and Barthel “just bumped backstage and became friends, and then over time it kind of turned into something.” The pair now live together in the Los Angeles area.
And White said that although he and Bartel have a lot in common, their differences make them the perfect couple.
“We live in two different worlds, so that’s why it’s nice to come together and share stories from the road,” White said. “When we’re both home, it’s just like we’re home,” he says.
Here are five things to know about the edgy musician:
She’s in a Rock Band Called Phantogram
Barthel sings lead for the electro-rock duo and the New York-born band has seen national success in recent years, performing at major music festivals. Barthel even sang the national anthem at a Seattle Seahawks football game last year.
The duo has amassed a large fan base — and their 2014 hit “Fall In Love” was declared certified gold last year.
“I think fans connect with us because we’re different,” Barthel told Billboard last year. “They hear different elements of everything but can’t put their finger on it. That was what we strived for from day one.
“We looked up to artists like OutKast and Beck because they weren’t afraid to do something different and weird, and we wanted to be something like that, where there weren’t rules.”
Barthel is Super Supportive of Her Athlete Boyfriend
The singer is clearly one of White’s biggest fans.
On Wednesday morning (Tuesday night stateside), White snagged his third Olympic gold medal in the men’s halfpipe — rebounding both from a disappointing display at the 2014 Sochi Games and a crash New Zealand in October. Barthel wasted no time singing her boyfriend’s praises.
“So proud of you @shaunwhite You deserve it more than anyone else on this earth,” Barthel wrote in a recent Instagram post. “You are a hero to us all #olympics #shaunwhite.”
She added on Twitter: “That’s my boyfriend and he makes me so proud.”
Barthel also also stuck by him during the sexual harassment allegations that have plagued White’s most recent Olympics stint. As White received praised for his win, a 2016 lawsuit resurfaced in which drummer Lena Zawaideh, who played with White in the rock band Bad Things, claimed he had “repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years.”
Zawaideh and White eventually reached an undisclosed settlement in May 2017, according to the Washington Post.
Her Sister, Becky, Died of Suicide in 2016
In the middle of recording Phantogram’s third album, Barthel learned that Becky had died of suicide.
“She was a hero. She was a rockstar. She was so special to everybody. She was that person in everybody’s life who was a shining star,” Barthel told Complex. “She had that power to influence people. And she was f—— hilarious.”
Barthel honored her late sister in an Instagram post last month, sharing an old photo of herself and Becky playing as children. In a candid interview with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Barthel said that Becky suffered from depression and anxiety “her entire life.” Barthel added that her sister eventually turned to alcohol and “attempted suicide a couple of times.”
“Nobody should ever feel responsible for a suicide death … but that’s easier said than done. That is the truth,” she told the foundation. “I’m growing through this process with the help of therapy, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t blame myself, and the other people in her life, too. It’s the heaviest feeling to ever feel. Suicide is so hard to understand.”
She Obsessed with Her Instagram-Famous Dog, Leroy
Barthel has taken dog-lover to a whole new level. She’s the (very) proud owner of a little pooch and even set up an Instagram account for the pup called “Leroythegoodboy.” She seems to take the dog with her almost everywhere, and the animal’s Instagram account is filled with photos of him posing with stars like Miley Cyrus, Big Boi, Rita Ora, Chance the Rapper and more.
“He’s like my therapy dog,” she told Billboard of little Leroy. “Being on tour is not easy — you forget about the normal world because you’re in this strangle bubble where things can just stress you out, depress you. but when Leroy is in the bubble, everyone’s happy. They can breathe.”
She adds: “I say he’s my dog, but he’s really everybody’s dog. He allows me to let life in and take a step back. He calms us down, mellows the mood out if someone’s in a bad mood or nervous … He’s very important. He does his part and you don’t realize it.”
She and White Are the Perfect Match
Along with both being musicians, Barthel and White both love snowboarding. They co-parent Leroy, and White told PEOPLE that he’s grateful to be with someone who knows what it’s like to have a busy schedule.
“You get somebody that understands what it’s like to travel and to have to be on the road. And I thought I traveled a lot — man, musicians, it’s rough,” White told PEOPLE. “And I didn’t really get it until l was in a band myself and we’re on the road and it’s like it’s Groundhog Day.”
“So it gave me a real nice look at the other side of life and how great I got it,” he continues. “I’m like, ‘Yeah I was kicking it in Tokyo for like the whole week and then we decided to go here and ride,’ but it’s nice to not have somebody like, ‘When are you coming home?’ They get it, they understand being on the road.”