Al and Tipper Gore call it off after 40 years

Al Gore once claimed his romance with wife Tipper inspired the

novel Love Story and the couple shared an uncomfortably long kiss before

millions on the stage of the Democratic National Convention.

Now, after a 40-year marriage that survived the near-death of a

child and the heartache of losing the disputed 2000 presidential election, the

former high school sweethearts are calling it quits.

“After a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to

separate,” the Gores wrote in an e-mail to friends yesterday. “This is very much

a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together.”

Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider confirmed the statement came from

the Gores, but declined to comment further.

The Gores told friends they “grew apart” after four decades of

marriage and there was no affair involved, according to two longtime close

associates and family friends.

The couple had carved out separate lives over time, with the

62-year-old former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate on the road

frequently, said the associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity because

they were not authorised to speak on the couple’s behalf.

“Their lives had gotten more and more separated,” one of the

friends said.

Married on May 19, 1970, at the National Cathedral in Washington,

the Gores crafted an image of a happy couple during his eight-year stint as vice

president in the 1990s and a presidential candidate in 2000.

Their warm relationship stood in sharp contrast to the Clinton

marriage rocked by Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica

Lewinsky, a scandal that hung over Gore’s own presidential campaign.

At the time, Gore said his wife was “someone I’ve loved with my

whole heart since the night of my high school senior prom”. Then, as if to prove

it, he planted that long, awkward kiss on her during the 2000 Democratic

presidential convention.

In a speech to the 2004 Democratic convention, Gore said he wanted

to thank “with all my heart my children and grandchildren, and especially my

beloved partner in life, Tipper”.

The Love Story claim came in 1997, when Gore told a reporter he and

Tipper were the inspiration for Erich Segal’s 1970s best-seller.

A surprised

Segal said that Gore, whom he knew at Harvard, had inspired one side of his male

hero’s personality – the one controlled by a domineering father – but his book

had nothing to do with Tipper Gore.

The Gores have four children, Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert

III, all now adults. Their son underwent rehab treatment in 2007 after marijuana

and prescription drugs were found in his car when he was pulled over for driving

160 kph in his Toyota Prius.

After losing the 2000 election, Gore turned his attention to

climate change, undertaking a worldwide campaign which led in 2007 to a Nobel

Peace Prize and an Oscar for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
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