An article from Belgian magazine Joepie, published shortly after Benny and Frida had announced their divorce.
ABBA, undoubtedly the most popular pop group in the world, has to deal with a new private problem. The bearded Benny Andersson and the dark-haired Anni-Frid Lyngstad officially announced that their marriage didn't work out and that a divorce is imminent. The other half of ABBA – Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog – already separated two years ago. Luckily, these difficulties remain a private matter. On a musical and professional level everything seems to be serene and it looks as if the ABBA-empire isn't showing any cracks just yet, despite everything. Unless...
We got to talk to Benny and Frida on the phone together at the same time. “It wasn’t a sudden decision at all,” they told us. “We thought long and hard about all aspects, talked about everything as adults with the required serenity and we have reached a mutual solution. Our decision will not interfere in ABBA’s future plans in any way. It’s a personal matter. We won’t get into the reasons, we think they are strictly private. But you can tell your readers and our fans that we’re much closer to each other now than before when there would be occasional tensions and frictions. History repeats itself, because with Anna and Björn it turned out the same way. We are putting the finishing touches to a special show, designed for American television and before long we will go into the recording studio for a new single.”
The 34-year-old Benny and the 35-year-old Frida got married in 1978, after they – like it happens in Sweden commonly - had been living together for nine years in the shape of a test marriage. They met each other when Frida was still a solo artist. In 1970, it was decided they should join forces with Agnetha and Björn and a couple of years later the foursome was one of the most popular pop groups in the world.
Rumours about Benny and Frida’s failed marriage started circulating last year when they ordered the court to investigate the terms of a judicial decision concerning the splitting of assets. Frowning journalists were fobbed off with fair promises. “It has something to do with avoiding a too heavy tax burden,” Benny laughed at the time. In the meantime, the rumours have been confirmed and it turned out that another woman has come into play, namely the 37-year-old television reporter Mona Norklit. The split-up didn’t come as a surprise to their friends, since the romance between Benny and Mona had been ongoing for a couple of months. “But directly speaking, Mona doesn’t have anything to do with Benny and Frida’s split-up,” someone from the ABBA-circle said. “Frida and Benny were already going their separate ways even before Benny met his new love. Frida has always known about the affair, from the beginning. The love between her and Benny had already been extinguished, when this all happened.”
Mona has been married before as well, to a jockey. She had been living alone for the past five years though. Mona, a former sports reporter, refused to give any comment concerning her romance with the ABBA-star. Mona is a presenter of the programme ‘Kafe 18’ on Swedish television on a daily basis. Furthermore, she is also a production assistant and she’s the voice-over in documentaries. Benny and Frida’s marriage remained childless. Although both of them respectively had two children from a previous marriage. A juicy detail: Benny and Frida got married shortly after their colleagues Agnetha and Björn had gone their separate ways as husband and wife. In the meantime, last January Björn remarried during a highly secretive ceremony, of which the other three group members weren’t even aware. Björn’s new bride Lena is a deadringer for Agnetha.
The fairytale is over. Because ABBA’s success story had something magical in the love area as well. But beautiful fairytales never last for long. Once again, it has gone to show that pursuing a fabulous career can hardly be combined with peace of mind on a personal level. Fame and a quiet, normal private life are each other’s opposites like fire and water. The tensions, the stress, the hectic life to remain on top have once again laid their claim on ABBA as well. A divorce is obviously never easy to deal with. Still, all of this has led to a patch of light after all. “Anna and I have always gotten along with each other pretty well,” Frida says. “But now we both have to deal with a divorce, we are getting closer more and more every day. We’re now just like little girls again, who don’t have any secrets from each other...”