“I love Bobby. But that’s not even his real name. His real name is Walter Miller,” Cheryl Love told the first lady of her church as she sat in the pastor’s office revealing, through tears, that the man she had been married to for 30 years had a whole other identity, and a criminal past.
That scene, which unfolded at Coney Island Cathedral of Deliverance six years ago, is recounted in The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice. In the book, Bobby and Cheryl Love (with help from Lori L. Tharps), tell how the former’s shocking revelation of being a fugitive from the law tested their faith and nearly tore their family apart.
The couple’s life was turned upside down several years ago when the NYPD and FBI showed up at their door asking for Walter Miller. But who was Walter Miller?
As events unfolded over the next few weeks and months, Mrs. Love and her four children learned that the man they had called husband and father for decades had an astonishing past. Walter Miller — or Bobby Love — was a convicted bank robber wanted for escaping a North Carolina prison almost 40 years prior.
The Redemption of Bobby Love debuted October 5 as the no. 1 new release on Amazon’s “Biographies of Hoaxes & Deceptions” chart. But those who are familiar with the Loves’ astonishing real-life tale might be reluctant to use the word “hoax” to describe Love’s actions. Hoaxes usually carry humorous or malicious intent. Love concealed his true identity from his wife and four children out of fear of losing everything he had built since escaping prison in his 20s. Since that time, though he didn’t initially always play it straight, Love had rehabilitated himself by becoming a hardworking and God-fearing family man.
The Loves’ ordeal first made the news in 2015 as Bobby, 65 at the time, took on the life of a monk in a North Carolina prison as he awaited his eventual release, in defiance of a 10-year sentence. Love, so convinced that God would get him home sooner rather than later, dedicated his time to prayer, Bible study, and thrice-weekly church services at the prison.
Although his past had finally caught up with him, Love was determined that his dark past would not determine his future. Sure enough, Love didn’t stay behind bars very long — the result of what he’s sure was answered prayers. He was back home with his family in New York within a year.
(1/11) “It was just a normal morning. Almost exactly five years ago. I was making tea in the kitchen…" pic.twitter.com/oJCGE0oEgh
— Brandon Stanton (@humansofny) February 5, 2020
Perhaps having taken to heart what an arresting police officer told him at the time of his arrest — that he should tell his story in a book, Bobby and Cheryl told Faithfully Magazine they are sharing their story to inspire people to “speak your truth” because “the truth will make you free.”
In the following interview with Faithfully Magazine Managing Editor Nicola A. Menzie, the Loves reveal lessons they’ve learned, why they believe God was looking out for them…and why they’ve been thinking about Samuel L. Jackson and Loretta Divine.