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'Horrific' Situation Led Bernard And Ruth Madoff To Try Suicide, She Says

"I thought, 'I just can't, I can't take this. I don't know how I'll ever get through this, nor do I want to.' So we decided to do it."

So says Ruth Madoff — wife of the mastermind behind what's thought to be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever — to The New York Times about the Christmas Eve 2008 suicide attempt by the couple.

She and Bernard Madoff, Ruth said in interviews with the Times and with CBS News' 60 Minutes, each took handfuls of what they thought was Ambien and then climbed into the "chintz-draped canopy bed" in their Manhattan penthouse. But instead of dying, they both woke up.

Ruth tells the Times she's glad she didn't die. "I'm not sure how I felt about him waking up," she adds.

Ruth calls the situation her husband put them in "just horrific."

Bernard Madoff, who stole billions from investors who trusted him with their money and cost those investors nearly $90 billion in cash and paper losses, is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.

The couple's son Mark, 46, committed suicide last December. He and his brother Andrew were never charged with any crimes and in fact had alerted authorities to what their father was doing.

Bernard Madoff tells ABC News' Barbara Walters that he hasn't spoken with Ruth since just after their son's death. ABC's Good Morning America reports that:

"Not seeing my family and knowing they hate me" is the worst thing about being in prison, he said. "I betrayed them."

Much more from Ruth's conversation with 60 Minutes' Morley Safer is due on Sunday night's broadcast (7 p.m. ET). The Times says she is giving interviews "to help promote a new authorized biography, Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family, to be published Monday by Little, Brown."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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