Former Labour leader David Cunliffe and his wife, Karen Price, have separated after more than 30 years of marriage.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed the split last night but said he wouldn't discuss it further "for the sake of our children and our wider family".

The couple have two young sons.

Karen Price is a prominent environment lawyer and at last year's election Mr Cunliffe reluctantly agreed to allow media into their Auckland home.


Campbell Live showed a glimpse of their home life in Herne Bay with her tending to her beehive, five chickens, a dog, a cat, budgies and canaries.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Who is Karen Price? Lawyer who didn't want to be a politician's wife

The pair met at Otago University and were married when she was 19 and he was 21.

Last year she told the Herald: "I thought he was pretty dishy. He was tall, country boyish, with a long blond afro and a washboard stomach."

But she also said she was a mother and lawyer before she was a political spouse.

She played a key role in his successful campaign in 2013 to become Labour leader in a run-off with Shane Jones and Grant Robertson.

Karen Price says she thought David Cunliffe was
Karen Price says she thought David Cunliffe was "pretty dishy" when she first me him. Photo / Richard Robinson

After last year's election loss Karen Price set up a Twitter account under her nickname "@TarnBabe67" which anonymously attacked Mr Cunliffe's critics in caucus, such as Clayton Cosgrove.

READ MORE: Price set up Twitter account to attack Cunliffe's rivals


Ms Price apologised for setting up the account, saying she had "made a number of comments that I deeply regret".

"Our family has been under intense media pressure since the election. My actions were ill-judged and were the result of extreme frustration and trying to look after my husband and family," she said.

Mr Cunliffe told Stuff at the time: "She's pretty awesome. [She] was defending her man, but nonetheless, she recognises it was ill-judged and at a time of huge stress."

Mr Cunliffe, an active Twitter user, has been silent on social media since last week. His last tweet was a picture of himself and Labour leader Andrew Little at Polyfest.