By Brita Åhman
Now Torbjörn Brander has returned from his military service on Cyprus. And at home in the house on Lidingö Agnetha, Christian, Linda and Hampus (Agnetha’s dog) wait for him with open arms.
-I have realized, that I love Torbjörn so deeply, that it was right for us to get engaged, says a fresh and happy Agnetha Fältskog, who has completely recovered from the bus accident on her way home from her latest tour.
-I don’t think that anyone can love me more than he does. But we’re not in a hurry to have children, she quickly adds, with the recent false rumors in mind, that she’s supposedly pregnant.
-Torbjörn is returning home from Cyprus this week. He’s really eagerly awaited! First and foremost we want to spend some time together, with the children, with Hampus, our big Leonberger, who needs his master back.
Agnetha is looking forward to a relaxing fall at home with her children, where she most of all wants to be. She has made her big effort for the new LP “Wrap your arms around me”. This means three extensive trips with 98 newspaper interviews, 17 TV-programs and 28 radio interviews. Her LP has also climbed the charts in Australia and Canada. And her tough schedule has paid off: In Sweden alone the album has sold 300 000 copies.
There have been several speculations over how Agnetha and Torbjörn met, among other things that her children received kidnapping threats.
-It wasn’t like that at all, Agnetha says. That was made up like so many other things about me.
-I had been away one evening and I came home quite late. Around 3.30 AM I woke up because someone was banging on my front door. It was so loud that the neighbors called the police. After a few hours they finally made him leave. You see, he came back several times. It was very unpleasant.
-A few days later, he suddenly stood outside the studio, where I worked. I had never before used the alarm device at home, but this time I felt, that it was such a serious situation that I had to do something about it. So after I left the studio, I went right away to Lidingö police station, because I felt quite shook up. When I got there, I asked to speak to someone. It wasn’t Torbjörn I talked to first. I said that I had this problem. I was asked to wait for a moment. And then Torbjörn appeared.
-Then I experienced something incredible, that something happened. It was love at first sight. We fell madly in love with each other, both of us! Speaking for myself, my knees got weak, but of course I tried to control myself, because in a moment like that you can’t show what you feel!
-We stood there talking for at least half an hour and decided how we would deal with this situation. I was then in quite an exposed situation, alone with my children in my house. We didn’t even have Hampus, who is an incredible watchdog and a great help to us.
-Torbjörn’s understanding, stability and safe demeanor made already then quite an impression on me. He stood there, leaning against the counter and went through everything calmly and businesslike. Then one evening he stopped by to pick up a strange letter that I had received, and gradually our love grew. But that he was supposed to have guarded me and my children because of a kidnap threat, I don’t know where they got that from! Torbjörn doesn’t deal with issues like that. He’s a police inspector and doesn’t work in that way at all!
Agnetha says that it’s been good for them both being apart for a year.
-A divorce can have a positive effect, she says – you can see each other with different eyes. Suddenly you miss the good qualities of the other person.
-And it wasn’t Torbjörn, it was I who got in touch again this summer. It was probably important to him and maybe also to myself, since I was the one who wanted us to not live together last time. But Torbjörn has during this time never doubted his love for me.
It was while Torbjörn was at home, from a two-week vacation trip to Cyprus last summer and was about to go back to his military service with a United Nations battalion, that it happened. He has done UN military service several times before. Suddenly one day last summer, out in the countryside, Agnetha saw him out in her neighbor’s garden. Love hit her like a bomb.
-I was in despair, because I knew that Torbjörn was leaving the next day. So I called him – and our love blossomed again. But it wasn’t then that we decided to get engaged. It happened much later, while I was in Berlin. I had been in the US, flown with the Concorde from New York to Paris and then traveled by car to Berlin. By the way, my video program with six songs was broadcast on TV twice there and I’m high up the chart, number 16, which hasn’t happened since the ABBA days.
-Torbjörn and I had kept in touch over the phone the whole time. And since we had such intense feelings for each other, we began talking about getting engaged. Both of us have been abroad, where you sometimes may feel deserted in a way. So the conviction that we should take this step got even stronger.
Agnetha also thought that it felt like a support and safety being engaged when she went on her next promotional tour, which took her to Paris, Milan and London. But no one knew that they were going to get engaged. Not even her children. They just knew that there was a surprise on the evening of September 9. None of their closest friends knew about it. I myself got to hear it in the evening after the engagement dinner.
I will never forget Agnetha’s voice filled with happiness, when she told me what the newspapers would write the next day. When I asked how the children had reacted, she said that they handled it in a natural way. Christian, 6 years old, had been whistling throughout the dinner. I also exchanged a few words with Torbjörn for the first time. When I said that I would pull his hair if he didn’t make Agnetha happy, he just laughed, and he has since then told me that he’ll never forget those words.
It was apparent that the children like Torbjörn and feel safe around him. Linda and Agnetha took turns sitting on his lap and Hampus, who Torbjörn helped to pick out when he was a puppy, was laying as close to his feet as he could.
-This felt really important to me. It was like a sort of indication, when we got engaged, with several meanings, Agnetha says. One of them is that I’m showing outwards that I’m not on the market anymore, and that feels good. Another is that earlier I haven’t actually been ready to put an effort into dating a new man.
-But now it was suddenly clear to me, that it’s this man that I want. I’m lucky that I get to experience this feeling. And it’s also fantastic to see that Torbjörn never gave up, that he had the strength. Maybe that’s what I needed!
But Agnetha emphasizes that Torbjörn has not been in the background the whole time, like many believe, and that he’s not the one responsible for Agnetha’s widely reported change or having supported her during the work with the new LP. On the contrary it’s been very important for her own development to having had that time to herself.
-I have wanted to be free and live independently, and I have to say that I liked it that way. But then I began feeling tired of it. I began to long for some stability. And Torbjörn has really given me stability, not in the least during this time after the bus accident. He’s been very caring.
“Friendship is put to the test during times of need” goes the saying. It’s really been true when it comes to Torbjörn. But Agnetha does not want to have missed out on the time as a single mother. Those years have been invaluable in many ways, she thinks.
-All women who realize that they can live by themselves and make it on their own, perhaps with children of their own, probably become quite strong. I know it has made me strong. It’s good to know that I can do it. Of course I’m very privileged financially. But you can never buy happiness, or you or your children being healthy. Or most of all you can’t buy being at peace with yourself. It’s important to your self-esteem. It’s probably the best base you can have in order to make a relationship work. You stand side by side with a man in an equal way and you don’t have to depend on someone. That I now have a nice shoulder to lean on, well, that’s something else!
Agnetha has recorded the lead song for Hasse Alfredsson’s new movie “Pettersson & Bendel”. Now she’s also going to record the B-side of the single, a melody that Gunnar Svensson has composed, and which she really likes.
-The collaboration with Hasse is a lot of fun. I like him a lot. He actually reminds me of my (maternal) grandfather! But that’s the only work I’ll do this fall, except for the book of course!
It’s Bonniers book publisher that has approached Agnetha and myself regarding this project. Hans Isaksson had read an article about Agnetha in DN Söndag that I had written. So he called Agnetha and asked if she would be interested in me writing a book about her. She was. So then he contacted me and asked if I wanted to write it. Since I’ve gotten to know Agnetha during the past year, it will be a fun and interesting task.
-But other than that there’ll only be time for Torbjörn and my children this fall, Agnetha says with a happy sigh. The dramatic part is over. I have matured very much during this year that Torbjörn and I was separated, and I’ve learned a lot. Most of all, that it’s this man that I love.