Story Of How Family Man, Bobby Love, Kept A Forty Year Long Secret From Wife, Cheryl

No one could guess it, not even Cheryl but her husband of forty years and father of their four children was not whom she thought he was. Although he dutifully performed his responsibilities of providing for his family, assisting with household chores and committing himself to church work, basically, lived the image of a quintessential family man, Cheryl’s husband, Bobby Love had a long tale behind him and he perfectly hid it from his wife and mother of his children until one morning, five years ago.

The couple’s story has now gone viral, largely because Cheryl and Bobby’s marriage emerged from a crisis that would shatter into smithereens many other marriages.

Cheryl demonstrated special grace and forgiveness after police walked into her home five years ago confronting Bobby and telling him his cover was blown. Cheryl had been making tea for breakfast that morning when Bobby confessed to the policemen that he wasn’t in fact Bobby Love but Walter Millers, the fugitive who had been on the run since he was a much younger man.

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Cheryl shares on the moment that the scales fell off from her eyes

“It was just a normal morning. Almost exactly five years ago. I was making tea in the kitchen. Bobby was still in bed. And we get this knock on the door. I opened it up slowly, and saw the police standing there.

At first I wasn’t worried. We had this crazy lady that lived next door, and the police were always checking up on her.

So I assumed they had the wrong address. But the moment I opened the door, twelve officers came barging past me. Some of them had ‘FBI’ written on their jackets. They went straight back to the bedroom, and walked up to Bobby.

I heard them ask: ‘What’s your name?’ And he said, ‘Bobby Love.’ Then they said, ‘No. What’s your real name?’ And I heard him say something real low.

And they responded: ‘You’ve had a long run.’ That’s when I tried to get into the room.

But the officer kept saying: ‘Get back, get back. You don’t know who this man is.’ Then they started putting him in handcuffs. It didn’t make any sense. I’d been married to Bobby for forty years. He didn’t even have a criminal record.

At this point I’m crying, and I screamed: ‘Bobby, what’s going on?’ Did you kill somebody?’ And he tells me: ‘This goes way back, Cheryl. Back before I met you. Way back to North Carolina.’”

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Bobby escaped from prison quite alright but he had not learned his lessons. He caught up with the bad kids in his new city and it was not long before the long arm of the law reached him. He was shot in the buttocks during a bank robbery operation with his gang, and was sentenced to twenty five years in jail but he escaped again and chose to chase love. He found that love with Cheryl, his wife of forty years now and counting.

On marrying his wife of forty years and why he never came clean to her, hear him. Bobby said he was looking for someone who was the opposite of himself. He found Cheryl, and she fitted the bill. She was innocent, and didn’t ask too many questions; so he didn’t really have to lie.

“Cheryl was innocent. The opposite of me. And that’s why I was so attracted to her. I never wanted to date someone like myself: who drank, and smoked, and had a past. Cheryl was soft. Almost naïve in a way. I never told her about my history, and she didn’t really press me. I did tell her that I grew up in the South– which was true.

And that I’d come to New York City to try something new. That was true too. But I never told her about Walter Miller. I didn’t see the need. Walter died a long time ago, on that Greyhound bus out of Raleigh. I was a new man.

I was Bobby Love now. And if that was enough for her, why complicate things? We got married in 1985. Time went by. We raised four children together. I just couldn’t risk it.

My family in North Carolina kept telling me: ‘You’ve got to come clean. You’ve got to tell her.’ But they didn’t know my wife. Not like I did. Cheryl is a righteous woman.

Most people, when they see a dollar dropped on the street, will put it in their pocket. But not Cheryl. She will stop everyone on the sidewalk, looking for the owner. She’s that kind of woman. And that’s not the kind of woman who could keep a secret like this.

I’m not trying to say that she’d have called the cops on me. But she’d have made me call the cops on myself. She’d turn up the heat. So I just couldn’t tell her about Walter Miller. And there was no need. Bobby Love didn’t have a criminal record.

Bobby Love was a family man. Bobby Love was a deacon at his church. Every Sunday our pastor would preach about forgetting the past, and forgiving ourselves, and looking ahead.

And that’s exactly what I was doing. That part of my life was buried back in North Carolina. And it wasn’t coming back.“

His Wife, Cheryl gives her own  account of  her suspicions in the forty years of marriage; she says something wasn’t right but she couldn’t tell what it was.

“There was a piece missing. All these years I loved my husband. And he loved me— but something was missing. First, he never liked to be in photographs. And he always thought people were watching him. But I just thought it was vanity.

I kept saying: ‘C’mon, Bobby. You aren’t that exclusive.’ But then there was the deeper stuff. We had some beautiful love making. But other than that, there wasn’t much affection. Not many hugs. Not much cuddling.

Not much communication. I could only get so close and he’d shut down. Sometimes, when we were arguing, I’d be pouring myself out to him. And he’d just sit there with a scowl on his face. I thought it was me.

I kept thinking: ‘Maybe he doesn’t want to be here.’ But Bobby was a provider. He was always working two or three jobs. He’d cook, and do laundry, and spend time with the kids. I thought to myself: ‘Everyone is different. People have different upbringings. This might be how Bobby shows love.’ But it was hard.

It wore me down. I cried so many tears about it. I remember during Christmas of 2014, I was on my knees in church, saying: ‘Lord, please, I can’t do this anymore.’ I begged God to change my husband’s heart.

I’d reached the end of my rope. That was a few weeks before everything went down.“

It ends well. After Bobby was whisked away to prison, Cheryl went back home and started to collect documents, and testimonials from all the people who knew Bobby Love and his reformed character. She wrote to the then president of Barrack Obama seeking his intervention to free her reformed husband.

Her efforts paid off, Bobby was released only after a year in prison. Cheryl had this to say

After a year in prison, they let him come home. The day after he was set free, I sat him down and asked: ‘What is it? Are we the Loves? Or are we the Millers?’

And he said: ‘We Love. We Love.’ So I had him change his name legally. And now we’re moving on.

I still have my resentments.

When we get in a fight, I’ll think: ‘This man better appreciate that I forgave him.’ But the thing is– I did forgive him.

And when I made that decision, I had to accept all the territory that came with it. I can’t make him feel that debt every day of his life.

Because that’s not the marriage I want to be in. The whole world knows now. We’ve got no secrets.

Bobby and Cheryl

Follow their full story here.

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(11/11) “I got to work. I wrote letters to the governor. I wrote letters to Obama. I gathered testimonials from everyone that Bobby ever knew: all the kids he used to coach, all the people at our church, all of our family members. I testified on his behalf. I didn’t know a thing about Walter Miller. But I told them all about Bobby Love. And the parole board took mercy. After a year in prison, they let him come home. The day after he was set free, I sat him down and asked: ‘What is it? Are we the Loves? Or are we the Millers?’ And he said: ‘We Love. We Love.’ So I had him change his name legally. And now we’re moving on. I still have my resentments. When we get in a fight, I’ll think: ‘This man better appreciate that I forgave him.’ But the thing is– I did forgive him. And when I made that decision, I had to accept all the territory that came with it. I can’t make him feel that debt every day of his life. Because that’s not the marriage I want to be in. The whole world knows now. We’ve got no secrets. But I think this whole mess was for the better of things: better for me, better for the kids, and better for Bobby. He doesn’t have to hide anymore. He can look at me when I’m speaking. Not only that, he’s hearing me too. My voice is heard. I used to walk on eggshells. I used to just go along. But I told him one thing. I said: ‘Bobby, I’ll take you back. But I’m not taking a backseat to you no more.’ Because I got my own story to tell. I can write a book too. I might not have escaped from prison, and started a whole new life, and hid it from my family. But I forgave the man who did.”

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