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    5 Great Romances of Awful People Throughout History

    In honor of Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at some truly awful people with great, big love stories.

    Napoléon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais

    Jacques-Louis David / Via

    What began as an affair turned into marriage in 1796 when Napoleon proposed to Josephine with a whopping-for-the-times 2 carat diamond and sapphire engagement ring. Josephine was six years older than Napoleon and a widow with two children by the time they married. His family did not approve.

    While Napoleon is well regarded as a military leader and championed many lasting institutions that are still relevant today -- the metric system, for instance -- he was also responsible for many deaths and crazy power-hungry beyond reason. He once wrote, “Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me.”

    The Emperor of France also wrote his fair share of love letters to Josephine, with such sentiments as, “Believe me it is not in my power to have a single thought which is not of thee.” Yet, despite Napoleon and Josephine’s intense love, both had affairs.

    When Josephine couldn’t produce an heir, Napoleon requested a divorce, which she granted him, so he could have the heir he so desperately desired. Upon their divorce, he insisted she keep the title of Empress.

    On his deathbed, Napoleon said, “France, the Army, the Head of the Army, Joséphine."

    Lester “Baby Face Nelson” Gillis and Helen Gillis


    Better known as Baby Face Nelson, Lester Gillis was a member of the notorious John Dillinger gang. A bank robber and murderer, he has killed more working FBI agents -- three -- than anyone.

    His devoted wife, Helen Gillis, was captured during the 1934 Little Bohemia shootout but didn’t give up her husband. She spent a year in jail for harboring a criminal, but that didn't make her second-guess her loyalties. Upon release, she left their children with family and rejoined Nelson. During this time, the two were hunted by the FBI. Nelson eventually died in a shootout dubbed the Battle of Barrington. Gillis escaped before turning herself in later.

    Toward the end of Nelson’s life, he was listed as Public Enemy No. 1. After his death, his wife was Public Enemy No. 1 -- the first woman to hold the position.

    When Helen died 50 years after her husband, she was buried next to him.

    Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun

    Bundesarchiv / Via

    Chancellor of Germany Adolf Hitler, responsible for the Holocaust and igniting World War II, has gone down in history as one of the worst human beings that has ever lived. Lesser known is his devotion to long-time companion Eva Braun.

    Braun became Hitler’s lover in 1932 when she was 20, and he was 43. She was a photographer for the Nazi Party.

    But their relationship wasn't public because Hitler believed depicting himself as celibate made him appear dedicated to the nation. So Braun remained a secret companion throughout almost his entire political career. Yet, they were devoted to each other. When a friend suggested Braun go into hiding after the war, Braun replied, "Do you think I would let him die alone? I will stay with him up until the last moment.” And Hitler made generous provisions for Braun in his will, leaving her a yearly stipend in the event of his death.

    When it became clear that the Red Army and the Allies would overtake Hitler, he and a small group, including Braun, hid in a bunker. A quick marriage ceremony was performed so that Braun and Hitler could officially be husband and wife.

    They were married for less than two days before they committed suicide and were found dead together.

    Bonnie and Clyde

    Taken by one of the Barrow Gang / Via

    The stylish and very in love Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are responsible for the deaths of nine police officers, several civilians and a whole bunch of robberies.

    They met in 1930, when Clyde visited a mutual friend’s place, and Bonnie was in the kitchen making hot chocolate. Despite Bonnie being married (though separated), they were, by all accounts, smitten with each other at first sight.

    Both spent time in jail for early robberies, where they wrote each other love letters. In one, Bonnie writes, “I never did want to love you and I didn’t even try. You just made me. Now, I don’t know what to do.”

    The two believed they would come to a violent end, and indeed, they died together in a shoot-out in 1934. Their families ignored their desire to be buried side by side.

    Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson

    Wallis Simpson may be most well known as a style icon -- in fact her wedding dress is thought to be the most copied wedding dress of all time -- and her husband for abdicating the throne to marry her, but they were also Nazi sympathizers who even met Adolf Hitler.

    Their relationship began when Edward was Prince of Wales and Wallis was still married to shipping executive Ernest Simpson. Upon his father’s death in 1936, Edward became King of the United Kingdom but appeared more interested in courting Simpson than ruling a nation. This to the point that government officials were reluctant to send him confidential documents because they didn’t trust him to keep them secret. It also appeared he wasn’t paying any attention to the documents they did send.

    When the prime minister insisted Edward could not remain king and marry the now-divorced Simpson as he wished, Edward abdicated, announcing, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.” The two married and stayed that way the rest of their lives, mostly while in exile in France.

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