When Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008 and charged in connection with one of the largest, most damaging Ponzi schemes in U.S. history, his wife of 50 years denied any knowledge of her husband’s fraudulent actions. “Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused,” Ruth Madoff said in a statement released shortly after Bernie’s arrest. “The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years.”
However, some were skeptical of Ruth’s alleged ignorance, for two reasons: first, because she had worked at Madoff’s investment firm for several years, and second, because she remained married to, and supportive of, her husband throughout the court proceedings. Now, however, that might be changing: it is reported that Ruth Madoff is contemplating a divorce from her husband, who will spend the remainder of his life behind bars.
After Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008, the couple’s sons cut off all contact with their father, and reportedly asked their mother to choose between them and Bernie. According to Madoff biographer Diana Henriques, Ruth wavered between the two, initially choosing her sons but recommitting herself to her husband after he was beaten in jail in 2009.
Now, however, Ruth will reportedly sever ties with her husband in an effort to reconnect with her son, Andrew. The couple’s other son, Mark, committed suicide last year on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest.
As with any divorce, the process of removing her husband from her life will likely be difficult for Ruth, who is 71 years old. The couple met as high school students and married when Ruth was just 18, and have spent the majority of their lives as husband and wife.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Ruth Madoff chooses son over husband Bernie,” Deborah Netburn, August 15, 2011