WASHINGTON June 1, 2010 -- Former vice president Al Gore and his wife, Tipper Gore, are separating after 40 years of marriage.
In an email to friends today entitled "Email from Al and Tipper Gore," the couple 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."
The e-mail, which was first reported by Politico, was confirmed for ABC News by Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider.
Kreider would not go beyond the text of the e-mail in explaining the reason for the separation.
This spring the Gores reportedly purchased an $8.9 million home in tony Montecito, Calif., home to notable residents like Oprah Winfrey, actors Michael Douglas and Christopher Lloyd, and golfer Fred Couples.
The Gores just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary two weeks ago. They were married at the National Cathedral in Washington on May 19, 1970. They have four children.
The couple first met as high school students in Washington, D.C., at a party after the senior prom. Tipper told the Washington Post in 2000 that her first impression was "Oh, boy! He's good looking."
"We had a good conversation. We connected," she said of their initial meeting.
The couple shared an infamous kiss on stage at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles just before Gore began his speech accepting his party's presidential nomination.
Walking toward the podium after being introduced by his wife, then-Vice President Gore first planted a tepid one on Tipper's lips and then went in for a more passionate kiss as if they were the only two people in the arena. The high-profile kiss was viewed by pundits at the time as an effort to communicate that the marital problems that afflicted the Clintons did not afflict them.
Since losing his campaign for the White House in 2000, Gore turned his attention toward the environment and has been a leading crusader to bring attention to the issue of climate change.
Gore Won Nobel Peace Prize for Global Warming Book
He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on climate change and his documentary on the subject, "An Inconvenient Truth," was awarded an Oscar for documentary that same year.