Sunday, 24 August 2008

Weekend, 1983: Agnetha: "Björn neglected me and the children..."

This gossip article was published in Dutch magazine Weekend, shortly after Agnetha had paid a visit to Holland for promotion of her Wrap Your Arms Around Me album in May 1983. During the visit, she performed The Heat Is On and Shame on the ANWB Gala.
Agnetha Fältskog, the blonde ABBA-singer, was in our country recently. In an exclusive interview with one of our reporters she talked openly about her lovelife, her children, her career, her fears and her future.
How time flies. It seems like yesterday that ABBA convincingly won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton. It was the world’s first acquaintance with the Scandinavian phenomenon. The fresh and uncomplicated ‘Waterloo’ easily collected the highest score. For the Swedish foursome it was the start of a golden career. Since then, millions of records found their way to the fans and Agnetha, Anni-frid, Björn and Benny became a household name in pop-music. Their success even comes close to the legendary ‘Fab Four’ from Liverpool, The Beatles, and will probably surpass it. The ABBA-albums achieved gold, platinum and double-platinum awards. Everywhere in the world, their big hits like ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Chiquitita’ could be heard. From a smokey club in Hong Kong to an American supermarket. And the Swedish crowns kept coming in. Together with their business manager Stig Anderson, ABBA built an empire, that today has interests in various fields, from oil to modern art. Each member is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions. Despite their wealth and fame the ABBA-members remained down to earth. That alone can be called an accomplishment, since there are so many stars that can’t cope with their success. The ABBA-members must have a very strong character to be able to handle the crazy circus around them.
The blonde Agnetha knows what we’re talking about. Once it was written that she possessed ‘the sexiest bottom in the world’. A not very substantial tag.
“Oh, that nonsense,” she says in a hotelroom in Amsterdam. “At the time I had a laugh about it. You must be out of your mind to come up with something like that. Now I’m getting older, I’m able to retain some immunity to gossip. It doesn’t bother me any longer.”
Agnetha comes across as a shy person. Seated on a comfortable couch, her eyes are looking across the room incessantly. A while ago she was being threatened by kidnapping. That’s why she is surrounded by security. It’s necessary, she claims.
“When you are in the limelight you have to be prepared for everything. For some people you are almost a goddess. The other day I received a letter from an admirer. The man wrote he couldn’t stop thinking about me all day. How do you deal with that? I mean, I appreciate my fans, but it mustn’t turn into sick adoration. A disturbed person like that could be able to do who knows what, if he ran into me on the street.”
Money doesn’t buy you happiness, is the old saying. Without a doubt, that goes for the ABBA-members as well. Before the foursome became famous, Björn and Agnetha were happily married. Anni-frid and Benny were inseparable as well. Those times are ancient history. Today, all four members go their separate ways.
“Things like that happen. Björn and I separated because he couldn’t think of anything else but music. I couldn’t handle it any longer. I am a domestic type of person. I love to watch television or just sit around, forget about everything. Björn was busy composing all the time. He neglected me and what’s even worse: the children didn’t get enough attention. I couldn’t let it go any further. If I had to choose between my career and my children Linda and Christian, I wouldn’t hesitate a second. The children come first. In the past I had to leave them in the care of a nanny regularly. Not anymore. They need their mother. That’s one of the reasons I hate touring. I know it’s necessary, but I’m always glad to get home. You never know what can happen in the time you’re away. A few years ago we did a world-tour. A fantastic experience, but I would never do it again. In the beginning I called home four times a day, but after a few weeks it can’t be retained. Because of the time difference you have to call in the middle of the night, when you’re exhausted from the concert. Sometimes it’s physically impossible. And I know it’s not true, but I feel like a worthless mother.”

In the gossip press there have often been stories about a new man in Agnetha’s life. Still, she hasn’t remarried.
“I do have a couple of good friends, and sometimes I thought, this is the one. But in the end I was disappointed again. After Björn I never really loved someone. I just couldn’t cope with it. The divorce had an enormous impact on me. I’m a sensitive person. When I give myself to someone, it’s one hundred percent. All or nothing. I never understood how Björn was able to cope with our divorce so easily. A couple of months later he already had a new girlfriend. That hurt. Mentally I was a wreck. I got over it in therapy. Today, I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t become famous. I am very sensitive and don’t allow myself to fall in love easily. I try to keep men at a distance. At the moment I’m much too vulnerable. But who knows, maybe one day my prince will come. It’s still possible. If I would get into a new relationship, he would have to love my children. That’s my biggest wish: a real father for my children. But where to find someone like that? You can have so much success and make so much money, in love it doesn’t help you. That’s what I have learned over the years.”

The rumours about ABBA's future are mostly based on speculation. Already in 1975 there was talk about the end of the group. Still, in 1983 the group is well alive, despite the solo careers of the group-members.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if the group would come to an end. But don’t jump to conclusions based on that statement. I would love to build a solo career. Artistically it definitely gives more satisfaction. You are able to make your own schedule and there are less disagreements. The business side? Well, in the meantime I've become a real business woman. Otherwise it’s not possible to last in this business.”
What does the future hold for Agnetha. Does she have any goals?
“I would love to get into movies. I already played a part in a Swedish movie. That was very exciting. But there are no other definite plans at the moment. I’ve thought about taking a part on Dallas. A few months ago, I got the offer to play the Swedish girlfriend of J.R., but I declined the offer. I’d have to leave my children again. My advisers also said I shouldn’t do it. In Hollywood, I wouldn’t have any freedom at all. Still, when I watch the series, I think: Agnetha Fältskog could be on that screen. But you can’t fulfil all your dreams. One of my biggest wishes is to get my own television special. I’d love to work on that. The ABBA promotional films contributed a lot to the success and I always enjoyed it. Television is the perfect medium for me.”

As if she suddenly needs to get something off her chest, she says: “I don’t use any drugs, I don’t have any plans to retreat in a convent or to move abroad. A long time ago, I did use drugs. But to be honest, I didn’t like it. It’s not for me. I am a health freak, I do watch my vitamins. I easily gain weight. Like many women of my age, I watch the calories. Because my biggest fear is to gain too much weight. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, all sweaty. That’s when I’ve dreamt of having gained two hundred pounds and being on stage together with Anni-frid, while ten thousands of people are laughing at me. And what’s even worse: all those people, men and women, look like Björn.”


Ronaldo said...

Totally fabricated interview but funny to read how far the imagionation of some writers went in those days.

Michel said...

Indeed, some of those fake interviews and stories are just plain absurd, but good for a laugh sometimes.
In reality, Agnetha would never talk so openly about private matters. She didn't even discuss it in her own book.

Anonymous said...

Was it really so unrealistic? Agnetha was by now a talented independent woman, making a name for herself post Abba. The article seems to do this very well. And, wow! What an attractive woman she was at the time!