Gov. Hickenlooper Announces Marital Separation

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced today that he and his wife, Helen Thorpe, are separating. His full announcement:

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. In fact, we will embark on our annual family vacation together this week, share meals often, and plan to spend holidays together. You can continue to expect to see both of us out in the community – sometimes together, sometimes solo. Please feel free to include both of us in social gatherings as we will not find it awkward.


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. We want to thank our friends, family, and community for all of the support you have shown us as a couple and as individuals, and for the support we know you will provide as we move forward.

Denver's 5280 Magazine has a very in depth report on the Governor's first year in office in its new August issue. Investigative reporter Maximillian Potter spent the last year "embedded" with the Governor, receiving unparalleled access. Potter is a terrific reporter, and I highly recommend the article. Potter explains how the embedding process worked here.

< "Centrist" | Michael Phelps Wins Record 19th Medal >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I wish both your governor and his wife ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 05:24:35 PM EST
    ... all the best as they seek to chart new courses in their respective lives. It's best for everyone involved to forthrightly acknowledge the fact that couples can and will sometimes grow apart from one another, through no conscious fault of their own.

    As individuals, we continue to grow and mature as we move forward through this lifetime, and I've always felt it foolish to simply assume that members of a couple will necessarily grow in the same direction and mature at the same rate.

    It's a sign of their grace and maturity that the Hickenloopers are willing to allow their personal relationship with one another to evolve naturally, as a concurrent reflection of both their growing differences and their enduring common interests. What's the point of being simply content to maintain an unhealthy status quo, in which ultimately no one is going to be happy?

    I hope that as the bitter feelings of the moment pass and the remaining pretentions of a former passion fade away, they will find that a deep and meaningful personal friendship with one another will have arisen in their place.


    Donald, I love you here at TL (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 05:40:34 PM EST
    And I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, but dammit if I don't want to conclude with "And this has been Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy." ;-)

    Donald must have been a teacher (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 09:34:46 PM EST
    in a previous life.



    please stay on topic, it's (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 11:35:27 AM EST
    Hickenlooper and his wife separating.

    I have to wonder if this... (none / 0) (#3)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 06:44:35 PM EST
    portends future political ambition of the part of the Governor as his name is constantly being floated for higher office around here.  Helen has never been a fan of the social aspect of political life and has always been content to be behind the scenes.  That goes double for her desire to keep Teddy out of the limelight.

    That said, I have no sense that there is any bitterness between them and that they will remain good, if not best, friends.  Best of luck to all three of them.  

    It will be interesting to have a Gov. living in the neighborhood again.  

    after reading this, (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:10:04 PM EST
    i have to wonder why they're separating, since they'll continue being all good friends (if not best friends), do vacations together, share meals, etc., etc., etc. you know, the kinds of things married couples do.

    if i'm that unhappy that i want to separate from my spouse, i somehow doubt i'm going to basically continue doing what we've been doing as husband & wife, which is, i thought, the whole idea of separation/divorce to begin with. did i miss something here?

    this is by no means meant as an insult to the gov. and his wife, i'm simply confused.

    Maybe... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:35:42 PM EST
    this will help your understanding.  This guy was imbedded with the Hickenloopers for a good portion of last year.

    Great find, MileHi (none / 0) (#8)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:52:34 PM EST
    It's an article that explains a lot, and does it very well, very respectfully. I've known a few political wives -- and political husbands too -- and it really is difficult to strike that balance in a marriage where one person is not only in the public eye, but in a position of power, and the spouse is expected to always be by his/her side. Add to that mix a political spouse who has had an important, time-consuming, fulfilling career as well, and it's even more stressing.

    I wish the Hickenloopers the very best. They sound like good people and I admire the way they are handling the situation.


    quite saddened to hear this. (none / 0) (#10)
    by willisnewton on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 03:57:12 PM EST
    So sad to hear this.  

    I was at their wedding in Austin, having known Helen for many years when she was on staff at Texas Monthly magazine.  I didn't know John but I did already know  George Hickenlooper through contacts in the film world.  I think the world of all three of those people and mourn the death of  George and the end of John and Helen's union.  It seems nothing good ever lasts, sometimes.

    While I did not stay in close contact with Helen, other friends have and their inside account is not much different that what I can say as a relative outside observer.  

    It's difficult to sustain a marriage in any time, but in our modern era Helen herself was admittedly not ideally suited to a first lady role and often said so.  In the span of one year she met, courted and married John, eft her home in Texas and became pregnant with their first child while he went from being a successful tavern owner to the improbable leading candidate for mayor of Denver, all while her career as a writer was ascending and she was on the verge of getting steady work on major publications - at at time in which the print industry was being shaken to its core, and assignments were hard to come by even for veteran writers.  

    Although her character and intellect is impeccable, Helen was no debutante.  I'd never even seen her wear a dress in the decade previous.  Being the governor's wife was not really what she signed on for.  I'm sure career is not the only factor but it was a contributing factor to the stress she felt from the start.  

    We in Austin wish she'd move back "home," but that may not happen just yet.   Colorado is a proving ground IMO for progressive ideas and forward thinking politicians like John Hickenlooper.  I wish him all the best and if he ever runs for a higher office he'd have my vote.  

    And Helen,  I look forward to buying you a beer we can both cry into.  Divorce sucks, and is emotionally akin to an amputation.  Colorado is great but Austin misses you!  Hang in there!