Al and Tipper Gore separating after 40 years of marriage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former Vice President Al Gore and his
wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage that
included a White House run when their sunny relationship offered a
counterpoint to President Bill Clinton's philandering.
According to an e-mail circulated among the couple's associates
on Tuesday, the Gores said it was "a mutual and mutually
supportive decision that we have made together following a process
of long and careful consideration."
Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider confirmed the statement came from
the Gores, but declined to comment further.
The Gores were telling friends they "grew apart" after 40
years of marriage and there was no affair involved, according to
two longtime close associates and family friends, who spoke on the
condition of anonymity.
The associates said the Gores, over time, had carved out
separate lives, with the former vice president on the road
frequently. One of the associates said: "Their lives had gotten
more and more separated."
Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to Republican George
W. Bush. He has since campaigned worldwide to draw attention to
climate change, which in 2007 led to a Nobel Peace Prize and an
Oscar for the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
The Gores, who were married on May 19, 1970, at the National
Cathedral in Washington, crafted an image as a happily married
couple during his eight-year stint as vice president in the 1990s
and a presidential candidate in 2000. The couple famously exchanged
a long kiss during the 2000 Democratic presidential convention.
The image of 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.
Al Gore at the time said his wife was "someone I've loved with
my whole heart since the night of my high school senior prom."
On Halloween, Al and Tipper Gore would dress up in costume and
greet trick-or-treaters who made their way to the vice president's
mansion. One year, she was dressed as a puppy and he was dressed as
Tipper Gore was a co-founder in 1985 of the Parents Music
Resource Center, which pushed for parental warning labels on music
with violent or sexually explicit lyrics. The group drew the ire of
musicians ranging from Dee Snider of Twisted Sister to Frank Zappa,
who said warning labels were unnecessary and a danger to freedom.
Tipper Gore later became friends with the late Zappa's wife,
Gail, and played drums and sang backup on daughter Diva Zappa's
album in 1999.
The Gores have four adult children, Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and
Albert III.
In a letter written to then-girlfriend Tipper as a 17-year-old
college freshman, Al Gore wrote: "Mother's having a fit about me
riding the motorcycle back to Harvard. Dad's mad at my long hair."
Gore later held his father's former seats in the U.S. House and
Senate for 16 years. He first ran for president in 1988 at age 39,
but drew little support outside the South.
A subsequent bid in 1992 was derailed after the Gores'
6-year-old son almost died after being hit by a car in 1989.
"It was a very spiritual time for both of us," Tipper Gore
later wrote. "In Al's case, he decided to write a book and not to
run for president in 1992."
The book was "Earth in the Balance," and Al Gore ended up in
the thick of the 1992 campaign anyway - as Bill Clinton's running
Tipper Gore, who has acknowledged treatment for depression after
Albert III's accident, is a vocal advocate on mental health issues.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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