In her book "Madoff's Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie and Me," Sheryl Weinstein reveals the details of her alleged affair with convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, who she says was in love with her and was "a good kisser."
"He really got into it more emotionally than he expected to," Weinstein said, talking about the affair for the first time on television on "Good Morning America" today. "I think he loved me and was very afraid of that type of connection."
Weinstein writes that she met Madoff more than two decades ago while working as the chief financial officer for a Jewish charity, Hadassah, which was one of the hundreds of organizations Madoff eventually ripped off. At their first meeting, she wrote, he gave her a "welcoming smile, a smile [she'd] never forget."
"I knew instantly that he was attracted to me," she wrote.
During the course of their 21-year relationship, Weinstein says she and Madoff had a sexual affair for a year and a half.
Weinstein had previously denied a romantic relationship with Madoff to ABC News earlier this summer. At Madoff's sentencing on June 29, she maintained she had only a professional relationship with Madoff, calling him a "beast."
Weinstein said today that she decided to write the book out of guilt over losing her family's money by investing with Madoff. "He took everything," she said.
"Investing money, investing my family's money was my responsibility," she said. "When this happened, the feelings of guilt, responsibility, failure became overwhelming."
"I don't have any art, I don't have any jewelry," she added. "What I have to sell is my story."
In addition to Weinstein's own money, according to Hadassah, the charity had invested more than $40 million with Madoff as of 1997, when it stopped adding principal. It believed its account was valued at $90 million when Madoff was arrested.
In June, Weinstein sat next to her husband of 37 years as she told the judge that Madoff "should not be given the opportunity to walk into our society again."
In response to the book, Madoff's lawyer Ira Sorkin blasted Weinstein for claiming the affair.
"I certainly hope that Mrs. Weinstein was more discrete about her investment decisions on behalf of Hadassah than she was about her sex life -- and that is not to confirm the allegation [of an affair] is true," Sorkin said in a statement to "Good Morning America."
Weinstein's television appearance today follows reports that Madoff is dying of cancer -- reports that have since been dispelled by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Weinstein says her long relationship with Madoff has given her insight into how he could have defrauded thousands of people, including many who were close to him.
"I think it was more important to Bernie to keep up the façade, the image at all costs … no matter what the moral implications," she said. "It was about Bernie and who Bernie had to be to the world."
That desire "could have stemmed back to his childhood," she said, adding that isn't an excuse for his actions.
In the book, Weinstein also divulges personal details about the man she referred to as "Mr. Winky Dink" because of a funny face he would make.
"It was just a code name between me and a friend or two that was aware of the situation," she said.
She added that "he was a good kisser. Very nice."
As for her view of the relationship, Weinstein said, "I didn't like being second. I didn't like playing the back room type of person."
She says Madoff was afraid of what would happen if his wife, Ruth Madoff, learned of their affair.
"He was petrified of Ruth … of his wife finding out," she said. "Divorces or something like that leads to books being opened … something might come out."
When asked if she had a message for Madoff, she said she wanted him to know that the victims of "this immense human tragedy ... will survive."
And, she added, "he shouldn't have stolen money from somebody you have a relationship with."