NASHVILLE — So their real-life Love Story didn’t last forever after all. And that’s an Inconvenient Truth.
After 40 years of a seemingly model marriage, United States ex-Vice President and environmental crusader Al Gore and his wife, Tipper Gore (née Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson), announced yesterday that they have separated.
The former Second Couple broke the news in a mass e-mail they sent to friends; the message was leaked to The Associated Press. “We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion,” wrote the Gores, “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,” the e-mail continued.
The only reason given for the split was that the couple “grew apart”. No affairs contributed to the separation.
“Their lives had gotten more and more separated,” a friend of the family told AP.
For four decades, the Gores crafted a public image of a solid married couple. Gore told a reporter in 1997 that he and Aitcheson were the inspiration for the young couple in Erich Segal’s best-selling novel Love Story (Segal himself responded that the claim was only half-true — Aitcheson had nothing to do with the book). Speaking at the 2000 Democratic Convention, Gore praised his wife in front of his supporters before giving her a very long kiss.
Gore, 62, met Aitcheson in 1965, when she was another man’s date at Gore’s high-school senior prom. Both went to university in Boston, where they began dating. They married in Washington, DC in May 1970 and have four adult children.
Al Gore, the son and namesake of a Representative and Senator, was U.S. Vice President under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. He narrowly missed winning the presidency in 2000, conceding to George W. Bush. Since then, Gore has focused on environmental activism; the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which showed Gore’s touring slide show about climate change, won an Academy Award.
Tipper Gore, 61, was a part-time news photographer during the early years of her marriage. She co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985, and she won the Mary Eleanor McGarvah Humanitarian Award in 1999.