DENVER – Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that he and his wife, Helen Thorpe, are separating.
The couple issued a joint statement to announce the surprise news.
“After years of marriage that have added tremendous love and depth to both of our lives, we have decided to separate. This decision is mutual and amicable. We continue to have the utmost respect for each other, and we remain close friends. We intend to continue functioning as a family that spends a great deal of time together,” the statement said.
They will take their annual family vacation together this week, and they plan to spend holidays together, the statement said.
Hickenlooper will move into the governor’s mansion. He declined to move into the residence when he became governor in 2011. Instead, several members of his cabinet who come from outside Denver live at the mansion.
Thorpe is a journalist and has kept a very low profile as Colorado’s first lady. She has worked at The New Yorker and Texas Monthly. In 2009, Simon and Schuster published her book, Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America.
The couple has one son, Teddy, 10.
“Our chief concern right now is the well-being of our son, so we ask everyone to respect our privacy as we make this transition. While public office made this announcement necessary, it will be the only statement we make on this private matter,” their joint statement said.
They got married in 2002, a year before Hickenlooper won a long-shot campaign for mayor of Denver.
The couple sought “extended counseling” and infidelity was not the cause of their breakup, according to their statement.
In the last six weeks, Hickenlooper has led the state through its worst-ever wildfires and the mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater. But those events had nothing to do with his separation from his wife, the statement by the governor’s office said.
Hickenlooper’s popularity as governor has led to speculation that he could have a future in national politics. He has consistently denied that he’s interested in running for president in 2016, but on Monday he will give a speech in New Hampshire, site of the country’s first presidential primary.