Michael Payton was married to a woman named Claire Holloway. They met in Mexico where she was on the run from her abusive lover, Frederick Lang. Payton gave her his grandmother's ring, inscribed with his grandmother's name, Olivia Payton. However, he left her in Mexico without explanation and returned to America.
(About the disappearing kids)
Wilkes: Pulled off the street, robbed of your own life, forced into another.
Joe: I can relate.
Frankie: (reading the classified newspaper adverts) 'Single female, non-smoker, non-drinker, non-gambler,' oh she sounds like a real riot! 'Seeks same,' Yeah, good luck. I must be grazing in the nun column!
Claire: You keep talking about Michael like he's another person, like he's dead or something.
Joe: He is, in a way. I keep trying to piece him together, but I still have to figure out where I'm going before I can see where I've been.
Claire: (to Joe) There was this old jukebox in the hotel bar and you heard this song; and you just kept playing it over and over and over. You said it was about fate, how if two people were really meant to be together, that they would be, no matter what. Do you still feel that way?
Joe: I don't know. I'd like to, but I don't know.
Lang: Each of us here has a function, Bollo, an orbit. A proper dependable course, precisely regulated by me. Now, do we know how the asteroids were formed? One planet strayed into the path of another and it was destroyed. You see my point?
Joe: (about Claire) She seemed to know something about me.
Wilkes: About you or about Michael Payton?
Joe: Just because I can't remember my past doesn't mean I'm not responsible for it.
Claire: You don't remember me.
Joe: I know. But I'm here now. No matter what happens, I promise I'll never forget you again.
Frankie: If Joe finds out I tailed him, I fear for my carefully-pressed wardrobe!
Claire: (to Joe, about how Lang turned her into Claire) A hundred times a day, we'd go over the story, every detail. Lang taught me to speak like Claire, to move like her. I cut my hair the way she did, wore her clothes. And then I started to think the way she thought and feel what she felt. Whoever Claire really was, I got swallowed up inside her. Right now, I can't even remember my own name. I became someone else, just like you did.