Early one January morning in 2015, a knock on the door brought Bobby and Cheryl Love’s lives crashing down. “It was like I was in a movie — a Lifetime movie,” Cheryl described, and rightfully so: What happened when she opened the door sounds like something from a bad noir film.

She didn’t notice how many cops there were until they were streaming past her and into the house. A stunned Cheryl watched as they — the letters “FBI” gleaming on their jackets — rushed right over to Bobby. “You’ve had a long run,” they told him.

“You don’t know who this man is,” the cops told Cheryl. But she did know him! Nothing Cheryl was seeing made any sense. He was Bobby Love, father to their four children, her husband of 40 years…now wearing a pair of handcuffs. 

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This had to be a mistake, Cheryl decided. But as Bobby was ushered out the door, he told Cheryl something that made her blood run cold. “This goes way back, Cheryl. Back before I met you. Way back to North Carolina.”

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North Carolina in 1964 was much different than New York City in 2015, and it’s where Bobby’s story began. But before he was Bobby Love, husband to Cheryl Love, he went by a different name entirely: Walter Miller.

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Walter Miller was just one of eight siblings, so he spent a lot of time walking the streets of his North Carolina town and getting into mischief. According to Bobby (AKA Walter,) nothing bad happened until he went to that Sam Cooke concert.

Thinking it was funny, Walter yelled a profanity at the stage…and was arrested for disorderly conduct. “Things went downhill pretty quick after that,” Bobby later explained. He stole purses from cars and checks from mailboxes, but the worst was yet to come.

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After he was caught stealing from his school, Walter was sent to juvie. “I hated everything about that place,” he remembered. “I still have scars.” Every night, he laid in his bed and listened to his favorite sound.

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The sound of the nearby freight train whistling by. “I always wanted to know where that train was going,” he recalled. After weeks of wondering, Walter decided that enough was enough. “I ran out the back door—toward the sound of that whistle.”

“That was the first place I ever escaped from,” Bobby said. He followed the train tracks to Washington D.C., where he lived with his brother. He returned to school, determined for a fresh start. “It seemed like everything would be alright,” Bobby said.

Of course, old habits die hard, and Walter was soon back with the wrong crowd…and committing increasingly dangerous crimes. He was robbing banks and living large, but according to Bobby, “The fun didn’t last for long…one of those banks had a silent alarm.”

Walter found himself surrounded by cops, and all his attempts to dodge them were futile. He woke up in a hospital with a bullet hole in his backside and handcuffs around his wrists. Walter was sentenced to thirty years in a maximum-security prison.

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Walter’s instincts to escape Central Prison eventually faded. “I sorta got used to it,” he said. He became the perfect inmate, and years later he was sent to a minimum security prison. “I was relaxed…I had no plans to escape.”

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That is, until he was falsely accused of talking back to the guards. “They started putting me on the road,” Bobby recalled. Working on “the road” meant doing back-breaking labor on the side of the highway. Still…it gave him plenty of time to think.

“That’s when I started planning and plotting,” he said. His instincts to escape returned. Each insult from a guard only solidified his decision, and one night everything fell into place. He just knew: “That was going to be my last night in prison.” 

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The next day, when the bus stopped en route to “the road,” he sprung to action. “I swung open the back door — and I was gone,” Bobby described. He hopped on a Greyhound, where the person sitting next to him asked him a fateful question.

They asked him his name. “I thought for a moment, and said: ‘Bobby Love.’ And that was the death of Water Miller.” He rode the Greyhound to New York City, where Bobby Love’s new life awaited.

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“All I had was $100 in small bills, a single pair of clothes, and a brand new name,” Bobby described, “[But] I was glad to be free.” He found a social security number, a birth certificate, a driver’s license…and a job at Baptist Medical Center.

Baptist Medical Center wasn’t only the place that got Bobby off the streets, but it’s the place he met a woman who would change his life forever. “Cheryl was innocent. The opposite of me. And that’s why I was attracted to her,” Bobby said.

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Still, Bobby never told Cheryl about Walter Miller. “[He] died a long time ago, on that Greyhound bus out of Raleigh,” Bobby said. Life without Walter was happier. Bobby and Cheryl got married, had four kids, and made a home for themselves. 

New York Daily News/Michael Graae

“Bobby Love didn’t have a criminal record. Bobby Love was a family man. Bobby Love was a deacon at his church,” Bobby explained. Bobby Love was a good man with a good life…and he thought that Cheryl felt the same way.

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“All these years I loved my husband…but something was missing.” Cheryl saw the gaps that Bobby tried to conceal from her: His closed-off nature, the feeling that he was always looking over his shoulder for some invisible threat.

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Bobby assured her that nothing was wrong, so she turned to her most trusted advisor. “I begged God to change my husband’s heart,” Cheryl said. “I’d reached the end of my rope.” Little did she know, Bobby’s marathon was also nearing its end. 

A few weeks later, the cops knocked on the Loves’ door. “My world came crashing down,” Cheryl described. “Bobby had deceived me for all those years. There was no truth in our house.” Any wife would have walked away.

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But that just wasn’t Cheryl. “I was so angry. But I never hated him,” she said. “When I first visited him in prison…he broke down crying,” Cheryl described. This time, Bobby had no plans of escaping…but Cheryl had plans of her own.

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“I married you for better or for worse,” she told him. With that, Cheryl put her plan to action. She wrote letters to the governor and even to Obama, telling them Bobby’s story of redemption. She feared it would fall on deaf ears…

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“I didn’t know a thing about Walter Miller. But I told them all about Bobby Love,” Cheryl said, and it’s her hard work that got Bobby out of prison a year later. The day he was freed, Cheryl asked him a pivotal question.

New York Daily News/Michael Graae

 “I asked, ‘Are we the Loves? Or are we the Millers?’ And he said: ‘We Love. We Love.’” According to Cheryl, Bobby Love no longer looks over his shoulder in fear…and neither does she. Still, the ordeal will never be behind them entirely…

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Neither Love feels the need to escape anymore, but Cheryl will never forget what happened. “I got my own story to tell,” she said. “I might not have escaped from prison, and started a whole new life…but I forgave the man who did.”

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The Loves are now secret-free, but not every couple has that luxury. Audrey and her husband Glyndwr, Glyn for short, had a marriage for the ages. In their 64 years together, the couple shared laughs, comfortable silences, and so much more in between.

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After decades of raising children and building their lives, they slid into their golden years, hand in hand. Through sickness and in health is what they vowed to each other, and even Glyn’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis couldn’t shake their union.

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But their wedded bliss ended with Audrey at her husband’s beside in January of 2015, when Glyn passed away at age 83 from Parkinson’s. With a heavy heart, Audrey started the exhaustive process of grieving her best friend.

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Once the rituals of death had passed, and all the neighbors stopped bringing by spare casseroles to share a hot meal’s worth of sympathies, Audrey was left alone in the house she shared with Glyn, filled with evidence of their marriage.

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One day, Audrey cleared out Glyn’s old paperwork that she had no use for anymore. Before retirement, her husband was a civil engineer. She’d never involved herself in his work, but curiosity mixed with longing made her glance through the documents before they met the trash can.

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At first, skimming the page of words scrawled in Glyn’s familiar handwriting brought Audrey a pang of comfort. As she read through the sentences though, the context of her husband’s writings made absolutely no sense for that of a civil engineer.

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Reading through page after page, Audrey said her stomach churned as she discovered the man she thought she’d known best of anyone in the world had concealed a staggering secret. Glyn wasn’t only a civil engineer.

As he detailed in his writings, when Glen was 13, word somehow reached government officials that he possessed a photographic memory. Representatives from British Intelligence approached the teen for recruitment in 1944, presenting with him with a choice.

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From the word “go,” Glyn was sucked into the sensitive world of classified operations. He wrote about an official he’d known simply as Captain, who ushered him through his first assignment, a project he named Operation X-X, or double-cross.

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Since he was still a minor, Glyn’s father had to grant permission for his son to become an official covert agent. The Captain met with his father, who consented, then kept and died with his son’s secret. He was the only other person aware of his spy identity.

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As part of Operation Double Cross, Glyn and many others engaged in various counter-espionage measures against the Nazis. Whether that meant feeding false facts to captured Nazi soldiers or planting agents in with the enemy, British intelligence flooded the Germans with disinformation.

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Glyn specifically mentioned in his writings times when he crawled through the damp darkness of concrete pipes to infiltrate the walls of prisons. Then, once inside, he’d tell lies to German POWs before crawling out the way he came.

Throughout the next several decades, when the Captain came calling, Glyn would hang up his civil engineering hat and dive back into his work as a spy. Simultaneous to his espionage duties, Glyn met, fell in love, and married Audrey.

Metro UK

Finding out about her husband’s secret life hurt and confused Audrey. She admitted, “I was completely oblivious. I have so many questions now that will never get answered. Why did I not know?”

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It led to reflection on Audrey’s part to see if she could pinpoint moments where her husband’s veneer had cracked. Glyn mostly worked from home while she went to her job as a home economics teacher. If he was sneaking off on covert missions, Audrey never noticed.

Metro UK

In their happy marriage, Glyn and Audrey welcomed two children. Yet no hints of his governmental duties leaked to any of his loved ones. He’d be off assisting in the capture of enemy spies and still make it home for a quiet dinner with the family.

GQ

The toll that concealment had on their relationship wasn’t lost on Glyn. He addressed it in his writings, saying specifically how his spy career impacted Audrey, “I look back now and think about what sort of life she must have had and how she put up with me.”

Metro UK

Despite the whiplash the realization gave Audrey, she held onto the notion that Glyn wrote out his story so that one day his words would be read. Even if he hadn’t specifically confided in her before passing, she’d found out the truth through his voice on the page.

Metro UK

In 2019, Audrey published Glyn’s writings as a book titled Operation XX And Me: Did I Have A Choice? She hoped others would enjoy stepping into the shoes of a real-life spy, and to create a lasting legacy for the husband who had to stay silent.

Metro UK

Glyn was one of many men and women who risked their lives in an entirely thankless position. Their triumphs only came to light years after they helped change the course of history, but that isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for those serving undercover.

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For instance, though most were never taught her name in AP History class, Krystyna Skarbek’s impact on the world can’t be understated. Without her courageous — and anonymous — efforts, the planet would be a very different place.

Prior to the Nazi invasion and occupation of Poland in 1939, she was the daughter of a count. After that defining historical moment, though, everything changed: she became a spy.

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On 21 April 1930, Krystyna married a young businessman, Gustaw Gettlich at the Spiritual Seminary Church in Warsaw but they proved incompatible.

By 1944, she was known as Winston Churchill’s “favorite spy.” Not only that, but she was widely believed to be the inspiration behind Vesper Lynd, James Bond’s love interest from Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale!

So what was it about Kyrstyna Skarbek that was so amazing? Though her entire life is fascinating, it’s what happened after she traveled to London in 1938 with her second husband that things got the most interesting…

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While in London, Poland was invaded, and Krystyna became determined to help the British in their war effort. Ultimately, she was persistent (and brave!) enough to be sent on her very first mission.

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Krystyna was to pose as a journalist based in Budapest. Then “she would cross Slovakia and ski over the Polish border to Zakopane.” From there on out, she would regularly make trips back and forth from Hungary to Poland, gathering intelligence along the way.

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British Intelligence, which had placed Krystyna in a covert group called Section D, used her to gain valuable information about train schedules, guard movements, and to spread propaganda.

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Eventually going by the name “Christina Granville” while undercover, Krystyna was known for many daring escapes.

Once she was able to escape interrogation by German soldiers by biting her tongue so hard it bled and telling the soldiers that she had tuberculosis.

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Another time, she escaped a German patrol, despite being stopped by guards, by revealing to them that she had two grenades under her arms. Still, her most daring accomplishment was something even better.

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Krystyna was able to rescue her chief, resistance leader Francis Cammaerts, after he was imprisoned by the Gestapo.

To pull this off, she started by singing the song “Frankie and Johnny,” a song they both knew, while walking around the prison, until she heard him singing back.

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Once she had made contact with him, she was able to convince the guards that she was Francis’ wife. Then, after they allowed her to meet with him, she managed to bend the truth enough that the guards actually let her leave… with Francis. Just like that, she sprung a resistance leader from German prison! In the end, she was Britain’s first and longest-serving female special agent.

Tragically, Krystyna was stabbed to death by Dennis Muldowney on the stairs of the Hotel Shelbourne in London on 15 June 1952 in reaction to her plans of leaving England for good.

Christine’s life could serve as an image of World War II’s complexity and injustice. Even though she risked her life for Poland, Great Britain, and France she found no shelter and reward for her outstanding service.

Christine was a highly-decorated agent. She was given many awards, including the the OBE (centre), Croix de Guerre (centre right), George Medal (centre left) and Polish Patriot Shielf (top).

In 2013, the book The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville was released, and it will be made into a film.

Recently, a bronze bust of her was also unveiled at the Polish Hearth Club in London.

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Bonus fact! Christine Granville is widely believed to be the inspiration for Vesper Lynd, played here by Ursula Andress opposite Peter Sellers’s James Bond.