Al and Tipper Gore were Washington's fairy-tale couple—especially when they stood next to, say, the Clintons.
The high-school sweethearts stuck together through the rearing of four children, Al's eight tumultuous years as Vice President, and through his devastating loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
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It seemed that life had eased up on them in recent years—heck, Al won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007! And who can forget the famous kiss at the 2000 Democratic Convention? Yes, we admit it was a bit painful to witness, but before the Age of Obama, a glimpse into a happy, loving political couple was such a breath of fresh air. "Wow," we all thought to ourselves, "if they're still happily married, there must be some hope for us!"
But then, after 40 years of marriage, the Gore's pulled the rug out from under us all by announcing their separation. They didn't divulge much, saying only that the separation was "a mutual and mutually supportive decision." Al And Tipper Gore Are Separating
Well, like the rest of the country, the lack of information has driven us to speculation. The following are the best theories we've read or formulated as to what may have caused the split.
Close friends say that infidelity did NOT play a role in the decision to divorce. As much as we hope this is true, it wouldn't surprise many of us if it turns out that either of the two had strayed. Instances of celebrity infidelity are as rampant as ever. Is it possible that we hope one of them cheated because it would make this whole thing that much easier to stomach?
According to sociologist Andrew Cherlin, quoted in the Washington Post, "It's more threatening to us if we see a couple who we thought were happy just drift apart. If even well-behaved people get divorced after 40 years, then some of us will worry about what our own marriages will be like later in life."
2. They Grew Apart
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It's entirely possible that after 40 years of kids, marriage, careers and, well, life, the Gores simply grew apart. In a piece for TIME, Belinda Luscombe suggests that "it may be that they had been so busy that they grew apart and the chasm was too wide to bridge."
People grow and change every day. Perhaps one day they looked at each other and realized they didn't recognize the person that either of them had become. Or even worse, that they didn't like the new person they saw. 101 Ways To Improve Your Relationship Right Now