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Al Gore, Tipper Gore

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Here's one inconvenient truth we don't think anyone in or out of the Beltway saw coming.

After an astounding 40 years of seemingly perfect marriage (save the odd awkward PDA), Al and Tipper Gore have announced plans to separate.

The Grammy- and Emmy-winning (and, oh yeah, vice presidential office-holding) Gore informed pals of their marriage-ending decision via email this morning. As they no doubt predicted, the email made its way to the media almost instantly.

"This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration," the email read. "We ask for respect for our privacy and that of our family, and we do not intend to comment further."

Indeed. Gore's website remains rife with information on his Nobel Peace Prize-winning and Oscar-endorsed cause, climate change, though makes no mention of his sad (and regardless of your political affiliation, it is) personal development.

And to answer the inevitable question: unlike certain other politicians of late, theirs was a clean break, as associates have stepped forward to confirm that there was no third party involved in the amicable parting.

Al and Tipper, a cofounder of the "parental advisory" sticker-pushing Parents Music Resource Center, met at Al's senior high school prom back in (apologies in advance for dating you, Tipper) 1965. They have four adult children.

(Originally published June 1, 2010, at 10:37 a.m. PT)

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Are you as shocked as we are? Check out who else has called it quits in our Big Celebrity Splits gallery!