Al and Tipper Gore Al and Tipper Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage.

The pair made the announcement to friends Tuesday in an e-mail obtained by Politico.

"We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate," the couple wrote. "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."

See photos of Al Gore through the years

Gore's rep, Kalee Kreider, confirmed the e-mail and separation. She declined to comment further.The news comes two weeks after the couple marked their 40th wedding anniversary. The Gores first met in 1965 at his senior prom and appeared to be one of Washington's most affectionate and happily married couples. They famously exchanged a lengthy kiss at the 2000 Democratic National Convention that helped transform his image, deserved or not, as dull and technocratic.

Check out photos of Tipper Gore

Since Al Gore, 62, lost his 2000 presidential bid, Tipper Gore has supported her husband as he campaigned for climate change.A photographer and author, Tipper Gore, 61, in 1985 co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center, which pushed for parental warning labels on CDs with profane language. Many musicians, including Frank Zappa, opposed the group, saying it supported a form of censorship.The Gores have four children together: Karenna, 36, Kristin, 32, Sarah, 31, and Albert III, 27.