News of Al and Tipper Gore’s 40-year marriage ending hasn’t just taken the public by surprise. It’s also shocked the couple’s friends who say they never detected any martial problems between the former Vice President and his wife.
“They were always such a loving and supportive couple and are incredibly close, especially for a couple in politics,” one source tells PEOPLE about the Gores, who announced on Tuesday that they are separating.
“They were always affectionate and loving and a tight family unit,” adds the source. “I am shocked.”
While the couple and Gore’s spokeswoman did not elaborate on details of the split, another friend says it’s unlikely a third party was involved. “I believe completely this is not one of those [cheating] situations in any remote way,” the pal tells PEOPLE.
And if the Gores were having problems, they kept it private, adds the first source.
“[Just last month] he was his usual self – polite, friendly, engaged,” the source says. “There was not even a trace of anything being wrong. I can’t tell you how shocking the news is.”
• Reporting by ELIZABETH LEONARD and SANDRA SOBIERJA WESTFALL