In 1976, German magazine Bravo started a series that focused on each member separately. This is part one: Frida. Too bad the writer of this article didn’t get his facts straight. According to this article, Benny and Frida had two children, Frida had hosted the TV-show Hylands Hörna and ABBA already had ten number one hits by 1976...
In six weeks time, ABBA will come on tour in Germany. Bravo singled out the four Swedes for a cross-examination for a collectible portrait-series. Really surprising, the things that Anni-Frid revealed...
Bravo: Anni-Frid, you are 31 years old and the most ‘secretive’ ABBA-member. Your first marriage, your four children, your career before ABBA, not much is known about all these things...
Anni-Frid: “Firstly, I must admit that, according to my passport, my name is Fredriksson and not Lyngstad, my maiden name. Fredriksson is the name of my ex-husband. We got divorced more than seven years ago. After the divorce, I didn’t get to changing all the paperwork. In the meantime, I’ve come to terms with this ‘wrong’ name.”
Bravo: Why did you get married at the age of 16?
Anni-Frid: “It’s not that extraordinary in my country. He was my ‘first man’ and we were both deeply in love, therefore we wanted to get married. Our parents didn’t oppose to that either. When I was only 17, I got my first son Hans and two years later, my daughter Liselotte.”
Bravo: Why did your marriage end?
Anni-Frid: “Because we were both too young when we got married. After our second child, I suddenly got a wake-up call. I thought to myself, ‘now you are twenty years old and already a mother of two’. My husband was very occupied with his job, while I was chained to the housekeeping. Therefore, we involuntarily started to grow apart. I had imagined a marriage to be more romantic. When our marital crisis got even worse, we decided, after long conversations, to get a divorce. That was the best solution for the both of us. Nowadays, my husband, who has remarried, and I have a very amicable and open relationship. Hans and Liselotte are also living with him. I visit them once a month.”
Bravo: And after the divorce, your career started?
Anni-Frid: “I was forced to do something. That’s where my dance training came in handy, something that I’d been doing since I was six years old and that I continued to do after the two childbirths to keep in shape. I got a job as a chorus girl with the Swedish television ballet; and that’s how I was discovered. Some time after that, I got the opportunity to host the popular TV-show Hylands Hörna and that’s how I became known in the entire country.”
Bravo: How did singing get into your life?
Anni-Frid: “Privately, I have played some guitar and sung folksongs my entire life. But it wasn’t until my TV-show that I sang in front of a big audience. My first song was a Christmas song. That’s how the record producers started to take notice of me. Some time after that, I recorded a duet with the Swedish singer Lars Berghagen. However, the single didn’t become a big success, but I had laid the foundation.”
Bravo: How did you meet Benny?
Anni-Frid: “In the recording studio. At the time, Benny was already a big star with his band Hep Stars, that was Sweden’s most popular group. In front of a broken coffee machine, we got into a conversation and made an appointment for our first date. At the time, we both could not have imagined that we would end up singing in the same group...”
Bravo: What aspect of Benny did you like most?
Anni-Frid: “His boyish charm and his dry sense of humour, those were the first things that I noticed. Later on, I found out that Benny can be very serious and sensitive as well. And this combination was exactly what I’d been looking for. We really are an ideal couple.”
Bravo: Nowadays, you and Benny have two children, but you never got married. Why is that?
Anni-Frid: “Because those are two different things, that’s what I’ve learned from my first marriage. Even Helen (8) and Peter (7) know by now that their parents are not married and they think it’s quite common. Compared with other families, I believe that things are far more relaxed in our household. Of course, our profession plays an important part as well, this irregular life. But also the fact that Benny and I are together because we want to and not because we have to, due to a marriage certificate.”
Bravo: You are right in the middle of the seven year itch – are there disagreements as well?
Anni-Frid: “Regularly even, and that’s always shortly before the recording of a new ABBA-single. After a string of ten consecutive number one hits, Benny and Björn are under an enormous pressure to succeed. Then it happens once in a while that things get to a boiling-point in both families. At these times, the fact that I smoke too much or that I’ve forgotten to take out the trash, can be enough to ignite Benny’s anger. But as soon as the record is in its cover, the touchy tiger turns into a tame cat again...”
Bravo: How do you and Benny get along with Anna and Björn?
Anni-Frid: “Long before ABBA, we already worked together as a family company. Therefore, we know each other inside out. We have a sort of brother-sister relationship. To avoid frictions, we lead our private lives separately as much as we can. We only spend our sailing holiday, once every summer, together with Anna and Björn.”
Bravo: Is there something that you’re afraid of?
Anni-Frid: “To be honest, I’m afraid of our world tour in the spring, which will take us to Germany as well. I’m quivering at the thought whether we will be able to fulfil the high expectations of our fans. Even when we have been rehearsing our show almost every day since November. But when you’ve had as much hits as we have had, there will always be plenty of people who are just waiting to see you fall flat.”