Al and Tipper Gore Split

Al and Tipper Gore Split

Al and Tipper Gore are separating after 40 years of marriage. The shocking news came in an e-mailed statement to their friends: "We are announcing today that after a great deal of thought and discussion, we have decided to separate."

Their last public appearance was in November at New York's Museum of Natural History, where they were promoting Al's latest book.

It was just two weeks ago that the Gores marked their 40th anniversary. They met at a high school graduation dance, and at least in public seemed to have a perfect marriage. They're said to be telling friends there was no infidelity, and say they simply grew apart.

Politico.com broke the story after obtaining a copy of the Gores' e-mail.

"We're shocked for two reasons, number one the length of their marriage, also they did seem to really get along, they were always laughing, [and] the picture that we all had of them was one of a pretty happy and enduring marriage," Politico's Beth Frerking told INSIDE EDITION.

They recently bought a $9 million oceanfront villa in Montecito, California. They also own an estate in Nashville. In their statement, they wrote, "This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration."