The Agnetha Fältskog Archives
Aftonbladet, October 24, 1982

Agnetha Fältskog talks about her ten years with ABBA

"All the personal attacks have made me strong"

Agnetha Fältskog, 32, after ten years with ABBA.

Now the image changes from an uninteresting blonde with the world's sexiest behind to a divorced mother of two with a brain and experiences to share.

-I hope it's like that. When I have met people for the first time, it's taken at least one hour to correct the view they have of me. I must hold a defense speech each time, she says in this exclusive interview with Aftonbladet.

The new image of Agnetha:

She fights against the tabloids' gossip, she fights against drugs, she has started an acting career, she's preparing a solo career.

-People who have read nothing but tabloids are led to believe I would be some sort of clueless person, she says. Yesterday I read in Min Värld an article about MY WHOLE LIFE! Where they had taken quotes I said when I was 18 and don't stand for who I am today. The headline was "I was only a whimsical girl who happened to end up on Svensktoppen". I have never said that, even as a young girl. Whimsical! It's a word I don't use.

The editor in chief Bengt Gustavsson at Hänt i veckan (a tabloid)  said he would just show their readers that you are just a simple phone operator from Jönköping that has succeded.

-Did he say that?! But what does that hint at? It hints at envy from his side, I think. I draw a sigh of relief each time I don't appear on the news posters. It's tough when you have children. Linda is soon ten years old. They understand what it says...

Did you read Kar de Mumma's attack on you? He wrote that you "stand on top of the pyramid, deeply violated and hurt, and throw rocks at the former friends in media"?

-Yes, I read it. I thought it was unnecessary.

She doesn't want to make any further comments about it. She gives this interview because she wants to talk about her work. When I later ask about shared custody and if she has bodyguards at her house on Lidingö, she asks me to ask something else.

We meet at Polar's offices at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm.

She's wearing some kind of short black boots, half unbuttoned, in which she walks around. She's wearing black pants and a red and black patterned sweater. She's biting her nails.

-I'm seriously trying to quit smoking. But I notice that instead I bite my nails and nervously fidget. But maybe it'll pass.

She wants me to read the article for her before it's being printed. When I ask for her phone number, she hesitates. 

-What sign are you?

Aries. I was born on the 5th of April, I reply and she starts laughing.

-Oh my god, the same date as me, she says and gives me her phone number as long as I promise not to give it to anyone else.

Was Gunnar Hellström a good teacher for you while filming?

-He was very good. I'm not sure I would have managed it with another director. I don't even know yet if I did somewhat of a good job.

-But Gunnar had such faith in me. And it was through him believing that I could manage it that I got some kind of confidence - as soon as I had gotten over the first fear.

Have you seen any of the movie?

-I have seen short parts of it. But for me it's very difficult to see myself and think it's good.

-Not at all, says Björn Ulvaeus who passes through the room. Both laugh.

-But filming was very tough with all the professional actors. At the same time I love challenges like that.

Have you received any other movie offers?

-Yes... a few. Two of them are being discussed. But I can't talk about them yet. But I can say that it's Gunnar and I who are talking about continuing working together. In one of the projects Swedish television is also involved.

If Hollywood contacts you, are you interested?

-No, that doesn't appeal to me. I'd rather do some good things in Sweden.

About a month ago, in Aftonbladet, there was an article about Agnetha getting involved in the debate concerning drugs. She's a member of Riksförbundet för ett narkotikafritt samhälle (The national federation for a drug free society). She joined since a friend's son started doing drugs. 

-But it's something that concerns everyone, she says. You become especially aware and concerned when you have children of your own. I'm terrified of it. I believe in more information from schools. That parents become more aware of what happens to their children. I will do whatever I can to prevent my children from falling into it. I work actively by trying to affect those in my surroundings.

-Drugs don't solve problems. It's by dealing with your problems that make you strong.

What has ten years with ABBA meant to you?

-Most of all I've learned to compromise since there are four of us in the group. It's a good experience.

I asked Björn & Benny the same question and think of how they instead answered that the best with these ten years with ABBA is that they haven't had to compromise like they did while in Hep Stars and Hootenanny singers.

Agnetha tells me that she's stopped taking singing lessons. She's stopped taking dancing classes and she's stopped jogging 3 kilometers twice a week.

-I've been a bit lazy when it comes to those things. I've made the movie and have focused on that.

This spring she will record a solo album as well. Produced by Mike Chapman who has worked with Blondie and Smokie among others. 

-I have listened through a whole box of cassettes but I haven't found a single song that I think is good. But maybe I have too high demands.

-But Mike Chapman has promised to write a couple of hits. He seems to be very confident - in a positive way. He knows exactly the way he wants it to be.

Aren't you going to ask some Swedish artists to write some songs? For example Ulf Lundell who you have worked with before.

-I haven't thought of that. But it might be a good idea! I'm going to buy his album that everyone says is so good. Is it called "Kär och galen" ("In love and crazy")?


-Well, then I can't use that as a name for my album, she says and laughs. 

ABBA-Agnetha in love an crazy, would work on a news poster, I say.

I ask which book she's currently reading and she has just begun reading "The bleeding heart" by Marilyn French after having read Ingrid Berman's memoirs. On ABBA's new single Agnetha is actually singing about Marilyn French.

I ask her if she really is such a strong individual like she says in some interviews. She takes a long pause before she replies:

-It depends. I'm very sensitive and easily cry, sometimes. But I am strong when it comes to unfair personal attacks on myself. Then I'm incredibly strong. I've always been and that's probably why I haven't cared about the rumours before.

What is luxury to you?

-It feels luxurious if I can sleep late some mornings. To sleep until 9-10 is nice.

What do you prefer doing when you have time off?

-I'm together with my children. We read and go for walks. I have also bought a big dog - a Leonberger called Hampus - who needs a lot of exercise. Often I give the nanny time off when I am completely free. Then I want to take care of my children myself. Then we're together and go shopping and cook food.

Sometimes you've talked about that you come from a Real Family. Was that important to you?

-I had a very secure childhood. And then it feels very unfair to my own children who I love the most, not being able to give them the sense of security I had myself. I see all divorces and especially ours as a big failure. It's my conscience hanging over me all the time.

-At the same time I'm grateful that things are as good as they are with me and Björn - as divorced. That we can talk with each other. Many aren't able to do so. When the children become some sort of weapons between the parents.

-But once you've been through something like this, you constantly deal with a bad conscience. At least I am. 

What kind of contact to you have with "common people"?

-I mostly only socialize with common people, she says and laughs because of the expression "common people". 

-I have a great need for that since I'm a common normal person myself - very much so actually.


By Lasse Anrell