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Al and Tipper Gore Split After 40 Years of Marriage

5 years ago
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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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When you see a 40 year marriage fall apart you wonder if the parties have given very serious consideration to the long-term prospects for their health. The diseases of aging can reshape an individual’s life in one day. He or she could find out tomorrow that they have cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart attack, and so on where they really need the moral support of their spouse when suddenly they are facing the grim reaper. That is, just because one spouse appears healthy today he or she may be at death’s door tomorrow. Your spouse knows pretty much everyone you know, so he or she can speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself. He or she can make decisions on your life when you are incapable of doing it for yourself. Thus, a real tragedy is seeing a 40 years marital stability symbol succumb to the divorce court.

June 06 2010 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I bet it was Bush's fault

June 04 2010 at 3:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We all change as we grow older. Some couples can't live with the changes the other makes. No one knows what happens between couples out of the limelight. I wish them both well. Who knows just maybe separating means just that, and they might find their way back together.

June 02 2010 at 3:28 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I am very sad to hear this. I hope that they find their way back to each other. Love is meant to endure the test of time, and in the person we have fallen in love with should be the one to hold our hand into eternity.

June 02 2010 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe they just need a breather. It's always alarming and sad when you hear this kind of news, but consider that Tipper has always kept the home fires burning, raised the children, supported her husband in a myriad of ways and possibly needs to find herself again. It could be that Al's involvement in so much has taken him down a path that has taken him away from the MOST important thing in his life. And who says it's Al's shortcomings? Only the two of them truly know. Let's give them some time to reload, maybe months, maybe years. Anyway, however long, our prayers will sustain them & their family during this time. -- Cheryl

June 02 2010 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda Lou

I am so sorry to read of the Gores Separation

June 01 2010 at 11:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I've only known my husband for 4 years and we've been married 2 1/2 and I CAN''T IMAGINE life without him! It kills me to go visit my Mom @ the beach without him for ONLY A WEEK! It's unimaginable that two people could be together this long then be able to part without a VERY GOOD reason.. none of my business, but I think there has to be more than we know..

June 01 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

this is SOO SAD!! I wonder if they were only putting on a front for the media and have never had a solid marriage?? I hope they're both happy!

June 01 2010 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So deeply sorry for the Gores and their family, that after 40 years of marriage, they have come to this point in their relationship, will be keeping them all in my prayers as they find what is best for each of them in their lives.

June 01 2010 at 9:44 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

No surprises here, except that it has taken this long for the announcement.

It is indeed sad but not at all unexpected for folks who have lived the majority of their coupled lives in the unforgiving venue of the public eye. Nothing natural, true or honest can ever come of that lifestyle and they are now manifesting the inevitable consequenses of a life lived without a sustained period of personal intimacy. The biggest surprise for most is not why it happened but why it took so long to happen.....

June 01 2010 at 9:23 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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