In the only interview Madoff has given regarding her husband's crimes, Ruth told Morley Safer she and Bernard were so distraught over the burden of his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, that they attempted suicide together.
"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," Madoff told Safer. "We had terrible phone calls. Hate mail, just beyond anything and I said '...I just can't go on anymore.'"
In an excerpt from the interview that aired Wednesday night on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley," Ruth said she and Bernard took a bunch of pills, some of them Ambien and possibly some Klonopin. She did not drink alcohol with them for fear of vomiting.
"I took what we had, he took more," said Ruth. "It was Christmas Eve, that added to the whole depression."
But the pills didn't work.
"We took pills and woke up the next day....It was very impulsive and I am glad we woke up," she said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS' John Montone reports
Andrew Kirtzman, a former political reporter for CBS 2 and the author of the bestseller "The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff," told CBS 2's Lou Young on Wednesday night he thinks he knows why Ruth Madoff is suddenly breaking her silence.
"Ruth is asking people just to take her word for it because there's no evidence they tried to kill themselves and this is the first time that anyone has even suggested it," Kirtzman said.
Bernie Madoff, himself, reportedly told New York Magazine earlier this year that he never considered suicide. But Ruth said that's why they mailed envelopes full of expensive jewelry to members of their family.
"The feds felt that was just a bald attempt to get rid of the last vestiges of what they had made illicitly and was just going to their cronies and to their family members," Kirtzman said.
A recipient of one of the Madoff goodie bags recalled the conversation he had with his mother about the strange delivery three years after the fact.
"She told me that she and my father planned to kill themselves and sent me that package before hand," Andrew Madoff said.
"It seems like she's stabilized her life and now she's going on a PR offensive to convince the public that she's not a devil," Kirtzman said.
See the full story on"60 Minutes," Sunday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Sunday's story will also contain previously undisclosed revelations about the family in the aftermath of the scandal.
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