Whatever Happened To Tipper Gore?

Having been the second lady of the U.S. for eight years, Tipper Gore (born Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson in 1948) was close to becoming the first lady as well. In the 2000 presidential election, her husband, Vice President Al Gore, was running against George W. Bush. It was a highly contested race that prompted a controversial recount in Florida. In the end, Bush won the election by a small margin, per Britannica, dashing the Gores' White House dreams.

Since his loss, Al Gore has gone on to become a leading face in environmental activism, an issue he's been vocal about since becoming a politician. He's advocated and educated about climate change, and continues to be part of that conversation (via Reuters). But what about his wife, Tipper?

In 2010, the couple announced that they were separating after 40 years of marriage, per ABC News. Though she doesn't grab as many headlines as her now-ex-husband, Tipper was also in the public eye in years past.

Tipper Gore was born an only child in Washington D.C. to Margaret Odom and John Aitcheson. Her parents divorced when she was a very young child, and she spent most of her life growing up in nearby Arlington, Virginia. Her childhood nickname was Tipper — a name that her mother affectionately called her, which originated from a nursery song Gore once liked, per CNN. The name stuck and would eventually take the place of her given name, and no one really called her Mary after that.

Tipper Gore's rise as a politician's wife

By her teen years, she would meet the man that would make her a politician's wife, and a second lady of the U.S. She attended a parochial private school and played a variety of sports. Shortly after she met a guy named Albert Gore Jr. at a high school dance and the two became inseparable (via Clinton White House archives). The two of them decided to attend college in Massachusetts; Tipper went to Boston University, and Al went to Harvard. They got married on May 19, 1970, the same year Tipper completed her studies there. They would have four children together: Karenna, Kristen, Albert III, and Sarah Gore. In raising those children, Tipper found herself with a growing interest in the content of music in the '80s era. Her concerns would send her to a movement that she became famous for leading.

But before she was the wife of a vice president, Tipper Gore was the wife of a Tennessee senator. Al Gore was a senator for the southern state from 1985 to 1993, per the House archive site. The same year Gore started office as senator, his wife was a member of a group that she co-founded called Parents Music Resource Center (or PMRC). The group was composed of wives of men who were in Washington D.C. politics or business. The goal of the PMRC was to bring to light the explicit lyrics in music to concerned parents. The end result were the parental advisory warnings eventually applied to music content (via Newsweek).

Tipper Gore since entering and leaving DC

Tipper was one the group's most famous members. She advocated for parents to know the content of the lyrics their children were listening to. But her membership was highly criticized because of her own past with a band called the Wildcats. (It was in high school. She was the drummer.) Her crusade against rock music raised calls about her hypocrisy (via The Washington Post).

She took her passion a step further and wrote a book on the subject, titled "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society," published in 1987.

Her husband became Vice President when Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993. As a result, she left the PMRC and became second lady, a role she held for the eight years her husband served in the Clinton administration. The PMRC would call it quits some time after. A few years after the Gores separated, Tipper moved to Santa Barbara, California, and they began dating other people (via New York Daily News).

Today, Tipper Gore is a big advocate for mental health. She recently wrote an opinion piece about mental health issues in the age of COVID-19 for USA Today, and she's published several books. And apparently she's returned to her rock band days. The drumsticks she put down when she became a politician's wife are back in her hands, per a 2019 article in Tom Tom Magazine.