Gores' Eldest Daughter Karenna Separates from Husband of 12 Years

The news comes a week after Gores announced the end of their own marriage.

June 9, 2010— -- Al and Tipper Gore aren't the only ones in their family facing marital problems.

The couple's eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, 36, has separated from her husband of 12 years, Andrew Schiff, 44. The news, first reported by People Magazine, emerged a week after the former vice president announced he was separating from his wife of 40 years.

Karenna, the eldest of Gores' four children, married Schiff on July 12, 1997 and they have three young children.

A friend of the couple told People that the two "have been separated for a couple of months" and are seeking "marriage counseling." Another friend told the magazine the split was amicable and that the two are not divorced yet.

Al Gore's spokeswoman Kalee Kreider told ABC News that neither the Gores nor the Schiffs had any comment.

Karenna, a Harvard graduate, a lawyer and documentary filmmaker, has been active in the political scene and was front and center in supporting her father's 2000 presidential bid, charged with energizing young people to show up to the polls.

Tony Coelho, Gore's former campaign manager, told ABC News Karenna was very close to her father and took on a lot of responsibility.

"She was Al's closest adviser," said Coelho, who was surprised by the news of Karenna's separation. "He sought her advice directly."

Over the years, Karenna has helped raise money for the Democratic party, and in 2004 she became the first child of a presidential candidate to speak at a national convention.

There were even rumblings last summer that she was eyeing a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, though that proved to be untrue.

In 2006, Karenna authored a biography of nine American women of the 20th century, called "Lighting The Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America."

She and Schiff, a physician, live in New York.

The End of a High School Romance

Al Gore has been traveling internationally since announcing his own separation from Tipper last week, but the Schiffs' friends told People magazine both parents have visited their eldest daughter in New York to help her through the separation.

The Gores' divorce announcement last week -- via e-mail -- shocked their friends. After all, the two did not shy away from expressing their affection for each other, most notably in a long kiss onstage at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and had seemingly lived happily in the public eye.

But last week the high school sweethearts announced they had decided to separate.

"We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate," the Gores said in an e-mailed statement. "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."

Since narrowly losing his bid for presidency in 2000 to George W. Bush, Gore has made a name for himself as an environmental activist and climate change proponent.

He and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," won two Academy Awards the same year.

Tipper Gore has stayed mostly out of public life, and in 2002 she turned down the offer to run for the Senate seat from Tennessee that her husband once occupied.

Friends of the Gores said they were shocked to hear the news of their separation.

"I was really shocked. They had this special relationship," Coelho said. "I think what must've happened -- which is normal -- is they had this real political purpose, but then after he lost the presidency, he went his way, the Nobel, the movie, everything else and she wasn't part of it. And they just grew apart. That happens and my sense is that's what happened here."