Former vice-president Al Gore and wife Tipper Gore announced Tuesday they are separating after 40 years of marriage.

Al Gore & Tipper Gore with Bill & Hillary Clinton (U.S. Gov.)

Al Gore & Tipper Gore with Bill & Hillary Clinton (U.S. Gov.)

Al and Tipper Gore made the announcement of their separation in an e-mail sent out oto friends and family.

“We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate,” the e-mail stated. “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 announcing the separation was obtained and published by Politico.com. A representative for the couple confirmed the split. The seperation is shocking even to those close to the family. “I’m shocked — beyond shocked,” close friend Chris Downey told the Washington Post. “This is the least likely course of events I could imagine.”

Al and Tipper Gore have long been known for being an extremely ‘affectionate’ couple – even in the most public of venues. Check out this infamous video of them kissing at the 2000 Democratic National Convention:

 

Tipper and Al Gore, who met while they were in high school, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary just two weeks ago. They have four children together and three grandchildren.

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