In a jailhouse telephone conversation, he now reveals the pain he has inflicted on his family, saying his wife Ruth was devastated.
"She's angry at me," Madoff said. "I mean, you know, I destroyed our family."
He describes how his family was in disbelief when he first told them of his massive fraud.
"I owe all of this money out, and I'm not going to be able to recover it," he told his family. Everyone was crying, he said.
His sons and his brother then sought advice. Two years later to the day, his son Mark hanged himself. Madoff told the magazine he was devastated.
"Let me tell you, I cried for well over two weeks. I cried and cried. I didn't come out of my room. I didn't speak to anybody, and so on. I have tears in my eyes when I'm talking to you, even. Not a day goes by that I don't suffer. I may sound okay on the phone. Trust me, I'm not okay. And never will be," he said.
Madoff also said that new regulatory reform enacted after the recent national financial crisis is laughable and that the federal government is a Ponzi scheme.
"The whole new regulatory reform is a joke," Madoff said during a telephone interview with New York magazine in which he discussed his disdain for the financial industry and for its regulators.
Madoff did an earlier New York Times interview in which he accused banks and hedge funds of being "complicit" in his Ponzi scheme to fleece people out of billions of dollars. He said they failed to scrutinize the discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information.
He said in the New York magazine interview the Securities and Exchange Commission "looks terrible in this thing," and he said the "whole government is a Ponzi scheme."
A Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme is a scam in which people are persuaded to invest through promises of unusually high returns, with early investors paid their returns out of money put in by later investors.
A court-appointed trustee seeking to recover money on behalf of the victims of Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme has filed a lawsuit against his primary banker, JPMorgan Chase, alleging the bank had suspected something wrong in his operation for years. The bank has denied any wrongdoing.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence in Butner, N.C., after pleading guilty in 2009 to fraud charges.
The interview was published on the magazine's website Sunday night.