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
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
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.
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.