Bill Allen, left, and Tipper Gore. (Robert Estes; Nancy Rhoda)

We never worried for a second about Tipper Gore after her separation from Al, and it seems our confidence was well founded: She’s got someone in her life, too.

He’s Bill Allen, 71, the former editor-in-chief of National Geographic. After being acquaintances for decades, they’ve recently started stepping out as a couple — mostly at quiet get-togethers with close friends, though they were spotted together last winter at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Sooooo, are they dating? Boyfriend-girlfriend? A close friend discreetly drew the line for us by calling it a “deep friendship.”

It’s been two years since Tipper and Al Gore announced, to the surprise of many, that they had separated after 40 years of marriage. No one’s filed for divorce, but it seems everyone has moved on. In May, we reported that the globe-trotting former vice president was seriously involved with Elizabeth Keadle , a well-to-do Democratic donor and environmental advocate.

Tipper, 63, has kept a somewhat quieter profile in the past couple of years, still focused on her longtime cause of mental health advocacy. With Allen, she’s found someone who shares her passion for photography and music.

During Allen’s decade as Geographic’s editor, he drew buzz for the legendary publication with a number of newsworthy covers — including, in 2003, the magazine’s first-ever swimsuit issue. (“It’s just a way that people have had of interacting with the oceans and the water throughout the last hundred years or so,” he wryly told NPR.) He retired in late 2004 after a 35-year run at the magazine.

Read earlier: Al Gore has a girlfriend: California donor and activist Elizabeth Keadle, 5/17/12

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