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Bernard Madoff, shown in 2009, took a bunch of pills with his wife, Ruth Madoff, in an attempt to kill themselves after his arrest, she says in an upcoming interview with CBS. ((Louis Lanzano/Associated Press))

The wife of disgraced U.S. financier Bernard Madoff says they tried to kill themselves after he admitted stealing billions of dollars in the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Ruth Madoff will appear on Sunday's episode of 60 Minutes on CBS.

It's her first interview since her husband's December 2008 arrest.

Madoff is serving 150 years in prison for what was the largest investment fraud in history.

Ruth Madoff says the time after Bernie Madoff's arrest was "horrendous."

She remembers receiving angry phone calls and hate mail.

Ruth Madoff says they took "a bunch of pills" including Ambien on Christmas Eve, but both woke up the next day.

She says the decision was "very impulsive" and she's glad they didn't die.

The couple's son Andrew will also talk about his experience.

Another son, Mark, killed himself last year.

In Ponzi schemes, people are persuaded to invest in a fraudulent operation. The early investors are paid their returns out of money put in by later investors.

Madoff encouraged thousands of people to invest huge sums of money over many years.

Investigators said he created fictitious account statements that claimed big profits were being made.

But Madoff didn’t actually trade securities or make other bona fide investments. Instead, he simply kept, spent or passed on to others large amounts of the money.