Monday, 1 February 2010

Privé, March 1981: Will private problems mean the end of ABBA? - Swedish supergroup burdened by tensions

The Swedish supergroup ABBA is distressed by tensions and problems. After Björn and Agnetha’s divorce, Benny and Anni-Frid decided to separate as well. Kidnappings are threatening the little happiness they still have left. Is the end of ABBA in sight?

Is the fairytale of ABBA over? After Agnetha and Björn, Anni-Frid and Benny are now divorced as well. Their twelve-year-long love affair, that was sealed with a marriage in 1978, is over. Just like the other ABBA-couple, that divorced in 1979 after an eight-year-long marriage.
Benny and Anni-Frid stated: “The decision to get divorced was made after serious consideration and with mutual understanding. This decision will not stand in the way of ABBA’s future plans in any way.” A spokesperson of their Swedish record company added: “Spouses may separate, but the most important thing is that the two composers Björn and Benny will keep working together.”
The rumours about a second divorce in the Swedish supergroup started circulating last year when Benny and Anni-Frid ordered a division of their properties in court. The ABBA-members themselves explained that this was done for tax reasons. After the divorce was announced, it didn’t take long before Benny’s new love was introduced: the 37-year-old television presenter Mona Nörklit, who has her own television show at the Swedish broadcasting company. Still, friends of Benny and Anni-Frid denied that Mona was the reason for their divorce: “Just like it was the case with Agnetha and Björn at the time, their problems can be attributed to the tensions that were brought on by living and working together during all these years.”
Perhaps, Björn and Agnetha’s divorce has quickened Benny and Anni-Frid’s separation. Undoubtedly, Agnetha and Anni-Frid have regularly talked to each other about their private life. After all, it was Agnetha who ended her marriage to Björn. She said: “I didn’t choose to be free for nothing. I’m happy about it.” And probably this has helped Anni-Frid to make up her mind.
Recently, Björn married his Lena, a Swedish blonde that looks a lot like Agnetha. It must have been a difficult decision for Anni-Frid and Benny. Both of them had been married before and they each had two children from their previous marriage. Anni-Frid is mother of Hans (18) and Lise-Lotte (14), while Benny has a 17-year-old son Peter and a 15-year-old daughter Helena. But the tensions in the group had to be solved. Only a few months ago, Björn said: “When Agnetha and I were having problems, I thought that the group would fall apart due to the tensions. But ever since we decided to separate, the group has become tighter than ever before. Now, we have a strictly professional relationship and all those difficult undertones have disappeared.”
Anni-Frid and Benny’s divorce has to be considered the same way. Because it was in the group’s interest that they decided to go separate ways. Benny once said, at the occasion of the divorce between his fellow group members: “Of course there’s friction when two people separate. But there’s an awful lot of money involved in ABBA. We know that we won’t make any money if we stop making records. Therefore, we continue.”

This has also played an important part in making the decision to divorce Anni-Frid. But divorces won’t solve every problem. ABBA is rich, immensely rich. Each member is a multiple millionaire. But with that, they are also potential victims of terrorists and other criminals, who want to get a huge ransom out of a kidnapping. And ABBA has already been threatened by kidnapping!
This happened when the group was preparing for a German television show. Eventually, the show was recorded in the slightly safer Stockholm. ABBA has turned into a music factory, that has to keep on producing. But the four members are having a hard time. They are distressed by tensions and problems. Therefore, the international show business is starting to wonder how much longer Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid will be able to keep their fairytale, turned into a monster industry that’s depending on creativity, alive.


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