While most high-profile divorces are blamed on ambiguous “irreconcilable differences,” Todd Palin, 55, left an especially fiery note in his court documents to file for divorce from Sarah Palin, 55: “Incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.” Adding to the shock of that statement was their extensive history together — 31 years of marriage — and the date that Todd made the official move to become a bachelor. The former “First Gentleman” of Alaska filed for separation on Sept. 6, which is his birthday…and just eight days after his wedding anniversary. Here’s what else you should know about the man that once formed an iconic couple with Sarah while she ran for vice president in 2008.
1. Todd and Sarah were high school sweethearts. They both attended Wasilla High School in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated in 1982. The lovers went on to elope in 1988, and welcomed five children throughout their marriage: Teen Mom OG’s Bristol Palin, 28, Track Palin, 30, Willow Palin, 25, Piper Palin, 18, and Trig Palin, 11. Todd filed for joint custody of Trig, since he’s their only child who is under 18, according to court documents.
2. He was popularly known as the “First Dude” of Alaska between 2006-2009. While the official term for the husband of a U.S. governor is “first gentleman,” Todd preferred a more familiar nickname: “First Dude.” He held the title for two and a half years, while his now estranged wife served as Alaska’s governor between 2006-2009.
3. Todd works in the oil and fishing industry. For 18 years, he was an employee of one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies, BP plc. This was no office job — Todd worked in the North Slope of Alaska as a production supervisor and then eventually a production operator, before resigning in 2009. He has also spent his summers as a self-employed commercial fisherman.
4. Sarah’s ex is a decorated snowmachine racer. Todd is a four-time champion of the Iron Dog competition, which starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome in Alaska. With 2,000 total miles covered, it’s the world’s longest snowmobile race.
5. Todd starred on a number of reality television shows. Todd’s daily life was showcased on his family’s reality television show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, which aired on TLC between 2010-2011. He also tested out what it’s like to be in the military on Stars Earn Stripes, which earned him the nickname “Rambo.” Outside of reality television, Todd recently made his acting debut in an episode of the TBS show The Detour.