Who can forget the kiss, that deep smooch Al Gore shared with Tipper onstage at the Democratic National Convention after his nomination for the presidency ten years ago?
And now, just weeks after their 40th wedding anniversary, what appeared to outsiders as a solid marriage and genuine partnership is dissolving. They told friends by e-mail on Tuesday: "This is a very mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration." The news was first reported by Politico.
A close friend of the couple said neither of them is having an affair. Other sources reported the couple had simply grown apart. The Gores own homes in Nashville and Montecito, Ca, and the Gore family homestead in Carthage, Tenn. The friend, who insisted on anonymity, said it was unclear where Tipper would choose to live; the couple's grandchildren are all in New York.
The Gores met at his high school prom at Washington's tony St. Albans (the former Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson was there with one of his classmates). And when he went off to Harvard, she entered Garland Junior College in Boston. They married in May, 1970 at the Washington National Cathedral. Both had grown up in this area, Tipper with her mother and grandmother in suburban Virginia after her parents divorced, and young Al and his family in the swank Fairfax Hotel on Washington's embassy row, where they lived while his father, Albert Gore Sr. , served in the House and Senate from Tennessee.
Gore's own political career -- after service in Vietnam and a few years spent in Nashville -- also spanned both chambers from 1976 to 1993. In 1988 he ran for president, but lost the nomination to Michael Dukakis. A year later, their son, Albert, then 6, was badly injured in an auto accident, which scotched another presidential run. By 1992, however, he was on the Democratic ticket, as Bill Clinton's vice president, part of a southern Baby Boom duo. With victory came a move into the vice president's mansion, where Tipper Gore reared their four kids, occasionally played the drums, and where the couple hosted an annual costume party for the press.
Throughout their marriage, Tipper Gore was almost never without a camera, photographing not only her family but official events in this country and overseas. Limited editions of her photos are sold by the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams home furnishings chain. As Second Lady, she became an activist for mental health initiatives; earlier, in the mid-1980s, as a vocal foe of violent, misogynistic pop lyrics, she was accused of artistic censorship and subjected to rocker mockery by Frank Zappa and others for seeking warning labels on music.
In 1999, after befriending Zappa's widow Gail, Tipper Gore played drums and sang backup on a recording by daughter Diva Zappa.
The kiss that launched Gore's 2000 campaign -- in which he warned against the perils of global warming and promoted new technology even as an adviser convinced him to shift his wardrobe to earth-toned clothing -- did not propel him to the White House. George W. Bush was declared the winner after contested voting and a 5-4 Supreme Court decision.
During the past 10 years, Al Gore won a Nobel Prize, an Oscar and an Emmy for his work on the environment, and the couple traveled widely. In 2005, he founded Current TV, an interactive cable network.
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