By Sean Hamilton
Reclusive Abba star Agnetha Faltskog has broken a 17-year silence – to reveal she spends every day fighting back tears over her unsuccessful search for true love.
The Swedish singer, 54, says in a world exclusive interview: "My tears are never far away. I'm a very sensitive person.
"People who find true love and keep it are very lucky.
"But it's fine to yearn for true love. I still yearn."
The sentiments, which come in a whisper, seem odd from the still-beautiful blonde who had millions of male admirers at the height of Abba's fame in the Seventies.
Agnetha was married to bandmate Bjorn Ulvaeus for ten years until 1981.
In 1990 she wed surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld - a relationship which lasted just three years.
Then she began an affair with forklift driver Gert van der Graaf, an obsessed Dutch fan 16 years her junior.
He turned into a stalker when their affair broke up.
In 2000 he was arrested and banned from going near her.
But recently Gert was spotted near her property.
Swedish newspapers said Agnetha responded by locking herself in her home and calling on police to guard her round-the-clock.
She cancelled all promotion for her new solo album.
Yet Agnetha has lived on her private island of Ekero, near Stockholm, and shunned the world since the Eighties when Abba broke up and she fell out of the public eye.
She only agreed to talk to The Sun - her first interview for 20 years - following weeks of delicate negotiations.
But Agnetha, who lives alone, insists she is NOT a hermit.
She was criticised in April when she did not turn up to a party to celebrate five years of Abba musical Mamma Mia in London.
Former bandmates Bjorn, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were all at the bash.
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of their Eurovision success with Waterloo that launched their career.
Agnetha says: "There was a period after Abba that was too much to take.
"There were too many things running around in my head. So maybe the rumours about my hiding started there.
"But I'm not a total recluse as everybody says. They write that I'm hiding on an island and I don't show up at things.
"But that's not the way it is. It's my normal way of living.
"I'm trying to get some peace and to do other things.
"I need a lot of peace. I can't have too much noise. I have to take things carefully.
"I want to travel. But I just don't like it - especially flying. I have too much respect for what could happen.
"It's unbelievable that airplanes stay in the sky. How does that happen? They are so heavy. There are so many screws.
"I worry whenever a member of my family gets on a plane. I worry whether it will be all right. I don't travel.
"And I was in the middle of recording my new album when the Mamma Mia party happened so I had no choice.
"I really wanted to go. If it's closer next time I will appear. It's unfair what people say.
"It's much easier for the other three to travel. I just don't like flying."
Abba dominated the charts throughout the Seventies and into the Eighties.
They sold more than 350million records, getting nine No1s with songs including Dancing Queen, Take A Chance On Me and The Winner Takes It All.
It turned Agnetha into the ultimate Swedish sex symbol and a multi-millionairess.
When the band split in 1982 Agnetha made two solo albums but turned her back on music five years later.
And despite reports of a rift with her old colleagues, Agnetha insists she is still close to Bjorn for the sake of their daughter Linda and son Christian.
And she is keen to meet up with the others later this year.
She says: "We do speak - it happens. Just not very often. Whenever I don't turn up at an Abba event people assume we don't speak.
"They draw all kinds of conclusions. But I talk to Bjorn all the time. We have two children together."
Agnetha has emerged to promote her new solo album, My Colouring Book.
It is a collection of sad Sixties ballads which she's been quietly working on for five years.
The first single, a version of Cilla Black's If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind, got to No11 last month.
The second single, When You Walk In The Room, is out a week on Monday.
Despite her reluctance to step out in public or get too close to admirers, it was fan mail which inspired Agnetha to record again.
She says: "I got lots of letters from people saying they really missed my voice.
"And reading all that kindness really affected me."
So Agnetha turned to the music of her teenage years in the Sixties for inspiration.
Listening to tracks by Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield and Doris Day rekindled her love of music and gradually got her in the mood to sing again.
She says: "It was a nostalgia trip. I started to feel again what I went through in that period of my life. I love the sad songs. When I was a teenager I would really cry along with them.
"These songs and artists affected me so deeply.
"When I started listening again I felt it in my whole body."
Gradually the idea for her new album emerged.
She says: "I went into a shop that had a lot of these old records and I picked dozens of albums. I had a wonderful time. That was four years ago."
Agnetha had barely sung a note for nearly 20 years.
She explains: "Like everyone I might sing a bit in the shower. But that was it. It took a while to loosen the voice up again.
"Then suddenly something happened and it came back."
Although Agnetha does write her own songs there was never any question of recording them - she is too much of a perfectionist to ever let anyone hear them.
She says: "I do have the ability to write music and words if I really concentrate.
"And I do have songs I've written but I always end up throwing them out because I think they're not good enough."
Later this year Agnetha is hoping to meet up with the rest of Abba at a Swedish premiere for Mamma Mia.
And she did not completely rule out a full-blown reunion.
She says: "We don't have any plans to work together again.
"But you never know what comes up."