It appears mom and son are back on speaking terms. Ruth Madoff, wife of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, granted 60 Minutes an interview to help promote the release of her son Andrew’s new book, Truth and Consequences, which hit stores today.
In a teaser published yesterday in the New York Times, Madoff revealed that the couple attempted suicide in the aftermath of the scandal for which her husband Bernie was sentenced to 150 years in prison for stealing billions while running history’s largest Ponzi scheme. She describes a Christmas evening in 2008 with her husband spent wrapping up various jewels and valuables and mailing them to friends and relatives before taking a handful of Ambien and lying down together.
They didn’t take enough.
Earlier this year, daughter-in-law Stephanie Madoff Mack published her own account of life inside the family. Her book, The End of Normal: A Wife’s Anguish, A Widow’s New Life, details bizarre letters Bernie wrote her from prison, comparing his new environment to a college campus where inmates and staff refer to him as “Uncle Bernie,” or “Mr. Madoff.”
“I am treated like a mafia don,” he wrote in one letter proudly adding that he had been asked to teach a business course in the prison and that fellow inmates constantly tell him to “keep his chin up” and offer words of encouragement.
In her book, Stephanie tells further bizarre stories from life with the Madoff’s, including Bernie’s obsessive cleanliness (like the time he followed a member of the house staff into the restroom and described loudly and in graphic detail what he found) as well as Bernie’s comments about his daughter-in-law’s rump while she was 7 months pregnant with his grandchild.
But she exhibits a special distaste for wife Ruth Madoff, calling the matriarch a vicious-tongued diet freak who’s obsessed with 80s fashion.
“I remember when she gave me a lovely platinum chain for Hanukkah. As I opened the necklace Ruth blithely explained she had really wanted to get me a gorgeous evil-eye bracelet made of diamonds, blue topaz and sapphires, ‘but I just couldn’t bring myself to spent that kind of money on you’,” reads one passage from Stephanie’s book.
She also claims Ruth was a racist who made fun of her maid’s Spanish accent (to the maid’s face), used racial slurs and was completely obsessed with staying thin, going to such lengths as rinsing the mayo off cole slaw before she ate it and–her personal secret trick–pouring copious amounts of salt on her food to prevent her from eating any more than she felt she needed.
“When we occasionally made the mistake of tossing out the chicken carcass after Mark had carved it and put the meat on a serving platter, Ruth would dig through the trash to retrieve it. The carcass was her favorite part. She would put the skeletal remains on a plate in front of her and happily nibble away and suck at the bones,” Stephanie writes.
Stephanie’s late husband Mark Madoff, the youngest son, committed suicide last December on the two year anniversary of his father’s arrest, leaving behind his two small children. Stephanie continues to blame father Bernie for her husband’s death.
After her husband’s Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008, Ruth was warned by both her sons to leave him or lose contact with him. After Madoff was attacked in prison in 2009, Ruth returned to his side and the family, included son Andrew, thus shunned her. After flying from Florida to Connecticut last December for her son Mark’s funeral Ruth was denied access.
Ruth Madoff says her decision to speak to the press came after being contacted by her son Andrew who needed help promoting his book.
Image: The New York Times