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Gores Just "Grew Apart," Family Friend Says

In a Washington culture where scandal is often the norm, Al and Tipper Gore's marriage seemed to be remarkably well adjusted. So when the couple suddenly announced that they were separating after 40 years, friends were shocked.

Photos: Al Gore: "Green" Media Star
Photos: Splits
Photos: Al and Tipper Gore

"The interesting thing is, that usually when something like this happens, you get a sense of glee, people that are saying, 'I told you so are,' or 'I knew it' or whatever. I have only encountered sadness," Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn, a longtime friend of the Gores, said on CBS "The Early Show" Wednesday.

"As you can imagine I've been on the phone with friends ever since I heard it yesterday. And everyone feels as though somehow their own marriages have split up," Quinn continued. "Watching the Gores is sort of looking at the possibilities of what a good marriage could be, and when it doesn't work for them, you sort of think, 'Oh my God, maybe it's not possible.'"

The couple announced their decision in an email to friends, saying that the separation was "a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration."

Quinn, who knew Al Gore since childhood and was close to the couple, said she had never heard any rumors of infidelity through the years and thinks the pair just "grew apart."

"They were sort of nomads in a way. They went back to Tennessee but they didn't really live there. Al traveled a lot. They sort of migrated to the west coast, where Tipper has an apartment, and Al has a lot of business. But he was traveling all the time. And I think their interests just diverged."

Quinn also said Tipper may be looking for an opportunity to pursue more individual interests.

"It may be that she's just tired of being the wife, and wants to be someone who can accomplish something on her own."