Imagine finding out that the person you've shared your life with for decades isn't who you think they are. That's what happened when police showed up at this couple's house one morning, looking for the husband. Read on to see why he hid his identity for so long, and the incredible thing that his wife did when she found out.
A Surprise Knock At The Door
It was an average morning when Cheryl heard a knock at the door. Her husband, Bobby, was still in bed, so Cheryl went to see who had arrived this early. When she saw police officers outside, she didn't think much of it.
Cheryl figured they were probably there for one of the neighbors. However, as soon as she opened the door, twelve FBI officers pushed their way in. That's when she knew something was wrong.
Bobby Wasn't His Real Name
The officers went straight to the bedroom at the back of the house, where Bobby was sleeping. Cheryl had no idea what was going on, so she listened closely as the officers approached her husband.
They asked Bobby what his name was, and he replied, "Bobby Love." An officer demanded Bobby's real name. Bobby said something quietly, to which the officer replied, "You've had a long run." That's when they handcuffed Bobby and led him outside.
Wondering What Was Happening
Cheryl was completely beside herself over the scene that was playing out before her very eyes. At first, she tried to defend her husband by demanding to know what the officers were doing.
Then, Bobby explained that what was happening stemmed from an event that took place long ago, before the couple had even met. Cheryl had no idea what he was talking about. All she could do was stand there puzzled as the FBI took her husband.
Meet Walter Miller
It turns out that Bobby Love's real name was Walter Miller. He grew up in North Carolina in the '60s, in a low-income household. The family was especially financially stretched because there were a total of eight children.
Since Walter's mother was struggling just to support her family, it was easy for him to go unnoticed. His run-ins with the law started in 1964, and they quickly grew as he engaged in more criminal behavior.
It All Began At A Sam Cooke Concert
Walter started having trouble with the law in 1964 when he attended a Sam Cooke concert. He recalled in an interview, "The crowd was really moving because it was dance music. And Sam Cooke didn't like that. He kept telling people to sit down."
Cooke ended up cutting his performance short after just two songs. Walter shouted at the stage and ended up being charged with disorderly conduct. This was the start of his criminal behavior.
Becoming Bolder In His Crimes
After Walter was charged at the Sam Cooke concert, he started doing more things that were against the law. He admitted, "I lifted purses from unlocked cars, I was stealing government checks out of mailboxes, I got bolder and bolder."
These crimes were all a way to get cash quickly, but they gradually grew to include bigger and more serious offenses. Walter found himself in a juvenile detention center after stealing from his school's band room.
Juvenile Detention Wasn't A Kind Place
As would be expected, juvenile detention wasn't a place that Walter enjoyed. It wasn't just the difficulty of having to abide by strict rules that made it difficult. It was also the stress of being around other delinquents.
Inmates were violent toward Walter, who later admitted that he still has scars from his time in juvenile detention. All of these experiences made him desperate to get out of there. His patience was rapidly wearing thin.
Trains Inspired Him To Get Out
While in juvenile detention, Walter could hear the trains outside passing by. He would listen to them at night and wonder where they were going. It reminded him of the freedom he no longer had.
Instead of waiting for his sentence to be over, Walter decided to cut his time in juvenile detention short by sneaking out. The minute a guard turned his back, Walter ran out the back door, following the sound of the train's whistle.
Managing To Escape
Walter was somehow quick enough to escape his detention center. He followed the train tracks and figured out where they went. He went from North Carolina to Washington D.C. where he lived with his brother.
While staying in his brother's city apartment, Walter managed to enroll in a local high school. His experience in juvenile detention gave him a new appreciation for classes and friends. However, things went south when he started hanging out with troublemakers.
Hanging Out With Bank Robbers
Walter connected with friends who were also troublemakers, but they didn't perform the kinds of crimes that he had. They took it up a few notches by robbing banks!
Walter came to discover that the reason they were able to get away with it was mainly because they would travel to North Carolina to perform the robberies. There, security wasn't as stringent, so pulling off the robberies was simpler. It wasn't long before Walter joined them.
Feeling Like A Rich Gangster
It can be easy to crave power, especially when you're a desperate youth. That's what made robbing banks so appealing to Walter. After each successful robbery, they felt like rich and powerful gangsters.
Walter later confessed, "I have nobody to blame but myself. I just enjoyed the feeling of having money." Growing up with so little made Walter new to the feeling of financial abundance. Unfortunately, he took the worst possible route to get there.
A Robbery Gone Wrong
After pulling off several robberies, Walter and his friends' luck finally ran out. They went into a bank to do their usual procedure not realizing that this bank had a silent alarm.
It was 1971 and banks were started to get a little savvier with their security measures. By the time Walter exited the building, the cops were already there waiting. He tried to escape by weaving through traffic, but then he got shot.
Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison
Walter's crimes were so serious that he wasn't going to go to juvenile detention again. This time, he would be sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison! Walter became even more devastated when he discovered that his mother had passed away.
The grief woke Walter up from his criminal ways, and he decided to make a huge change. From that point on, he would behave and best as he possibly could. At the very least, he could try to get into a facility with less security.
Moving To A Minimum-Security Facility
Walter tried to appeal his case multiple times, but it was denied each time. Instead, he focused on being the best inmate he could be, and managed not to get any marks on his record.
As a result, he was able to move from a maximum-security prison to a minimum-security facility. Though there were still many precautions in place to prevent anyone from escaping, Walter found that the center was like camp compared to his former prison.
He Got His Own Radio Show
The minimum security prison had tons of perks that helped Walter feel more at ease. Inmates were able to go outside and contact their families. They could even participate in a radio show.
That's what Walter did, and being a radio show host helped him feel more liberated. It seemed that things were finally looking up for Walter after so many difficult years. But eventually, things started going downhill again when trouble started with a prison captain.
Negative Reports Started Adding Up
Everything changed for the worse when Walter was accused of yelling at the prison captain. It reportedly wasn't Walter who yelled, but he was still blamed for it. As a result, the prison captain started going hard on Walter.
He regularly wrote Walter up for infractions to the point that Walter was just one negative report away from being sent back to maximum security. He also had to wake up before other prisoners did to go and collect trash from the roads.
Planning Another Escape
Working on the roads wasn't easy, especially in the cold of winter. Walter recalled, "It was awful. People would be throwing hamburgers and milkshakes at you." The one advantage to his duties was that it gave him a look at the surrounding areas.
This enabled Walter to start planning another escape. He was once again at his limit with being imprisoned, so the criminal started plotting a way to get out. He kept a close eye on everything.
Creating A Plan
Walter noticed that the Tuesday morning guard let convicts load onto the bus without patting them down, even though doing so was procedure. He also realized that the bus stopped at an intersection near the woods.
One Monday night, Walter decided it would be his last day in prison. The following morning, he put his civilian clothes on under his prison clothes and emptied his locker. When the inmates loaded into the bus, Walter picked a seat by the emergency exit.
As soon as the bus slowed down to come to that intersection, Walter swung open the emergency exit and fled the vehicle! He ran into the woods, trying his best to ignore the sound of sirens behind him.
Walter ripped off his prison closed and kept running until the coast was clear. He then started approaching people to ask them how to get to Greyhound station. Walter managed to get to the station, where he caught a bus to New York.
The Birth Of Bobby Love
While on the bus, a woman asked Walter what his name was. He replied, "Bobby Love," and that was the start of his new life. Bobby got to New York in 1977 and ended up on the streets after running out of motel money.
He managed to obtain a false birth certificate, social security number, and even a driver's license. These documents made it possible for Bobby to work odd jobs and do manual labor.
By the time the '80s rolled around, Bobby had created a new life for himself. He landed a job at Brooklyn's Baptist Medical Center, which is where he met Cheryl.
The couple went to see Purple Rain in theaters and went to a Gladys Knight and the Pips concert. Cheryl's innocence was quite attractive to Bobby. He later explained in an interview, "Cheryl was soft. Almost in a naïve way."
Cheryl was just 21 years old when she married Bobby, who was 34 at the time. They soon welcomed daughter Jasmine followed by another girl named Jessica. A decade later, Cheryl bore twins named Jordan and Justin.
Bobby became a total family man, working two jobs to support his family and volunteering at church. Still, he could not forget about his past and the huge secret he was keeping from everyone, including his wife Cheryl.
Conflicted About His Past
Bobby wanted to tell his wife, but he also knew he couldn't risk it. Being the righteous woman that Cheryl was, he knew that she would want him to come clean to the police.
Instead, Bobby told his sister to tell Cheryl the truth after he passed. This way, she would at least know someday, but they wouldn't have to be conflicted about what to do. Bobby's plan failed the minute police showed up at their house.
Cheryl Noticed Subtle Signs
Looking back, Cheryl realized there were subtle signs that gave away Bobby's secret to an extent. She said he "seemed spooked" anytime a stranger approached him, even if it was just to ask for directions.
There was a degree of worry that seemed to always follow Bobby around, too. He would also shield himself from others, even Cheryl. It got to the point that she was nearly fed up with the relationship, and that's when the police came.
Bobby ended up returning to North Carolina for a sibling's funeral. He thought that enough time had passed that no one would notice who he was. Someone did notice, though, and they reported him to the police.
When the authorities showed up at the front door, Cheryl's world changed. She felt like she was in a Lifetime movie as she learned that her husband had deceived her for all these years. Still, she was willing to see him in person.
Cheryl Decided To Stick By Her Husband
Bobby was facing the remainder of his prison sentence, plus extra time for escaping. Though Cheryl had to process the situation, she decided to see him in prison. It was then that Bobby broke down crying.
He believed that Cheryl would leave him. To Bobby's amazement, Cheryl replied, "No, Bobby Love, I married you for better or for worse. And now this is the worst." Cheryl's commitment to her husband led her to fight for his freedom.
Painting A Picture Of Bobby Love
Cheryl reached out to everyone in their lives to ask them to write testimonials about Bobby, and she did the same. She later said, "I didn't know a thing about Walter Miller, but I told them all about Bobby Love."
Cheryl believed that Bobby had truly become the man she'd been married to all these years. Instead of focusing on who he was, she honed in on who he is and did her best to paint that picture for others.
Getting Bobby Out Of Prison
Cheryl did everything she could to defend her husband's character, and miraculously, it was enough! After a year in prison, Bobby was set free! He was liberated in more ways than one.
The closed-off Bobby could finally be open with others now that his secret was out and he was living a lawful life. The changes in his character resolved the problems that Cheryl was feeling in their marriage. They ended up having a better relationship than ever before!
Mr. And Mrs. Love
Having been through such a difficult time together, Bobby and Cheryl became closer than ever. Cheryl was finally able to connect with Bobby on a deeper level now that he didn't have to pretend to be someone he wasn't.
On the other hand, Bobby was able to trust that his wife truly loved him for him, past mistakes and all. When he was released from prison, she asked if they were the Millers or the Loves. Bobby said the Loves, because they love.