Al Gore and Tipper announce split

Love story ends for former US vice-president and co-founder of Parents Music Resource Centre

Former US vice-president Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are to separate after 40 years of marriage. The Gores, both 61, sent out the news to their friends yesterday via email, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press news agency.

Their joint email said: "We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate. This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration.

"We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further."

Spokeswoman Kalee Kreider confirmed the statement was correct.

The apparent warmth and stability of the Gore marriage when he was vice-president in the 1990s contrasted at the time with the turmoil of the Clintons' union during the fallout from the Monica Lewinsky affair.

The view of the Gores as a happily married couple seemed to be confirmed when he ran for president in 2000 and they exchanged a long kiss at the Democratic convention that year.

Al Gore said then his wife was "someone I've loved with my whole heart since the night of my high school senior prom".

She attended the prom with another classmate but Gore phoned next day to ask her out. They both studied in Boston, where he proposed on the banks of the Charles river. They married in 1970.

Gore won the Nobel peace prize in 2007 for his championing of environmental issues. Tipper (a nickname from a song), who subordinated her own career to his political ambitions, is a photographer and writer who became prominent as a campaigner for putting warnings on music she considered unsuitable for children. She was a co-founder in 1985 of the Parents Music Resource Centre.

The couple, who live in Nashville, Tennessee, have four children: Karenna, Kristin, Sarah and Albert III.

Gore was criticised by the left for not campaigning hard enough during the 2000 election campaign and in the subsequent Florida recounts. But he won praise for his climate change work, especially through his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He was listed among the potential contenders for another presidential run in 2008 but announced early that he would not be standing.


Ewen MacAskill in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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