ABBA stood out for a variety of reasons. Not just for their distinctive, irresistible pop tunes, but also for the way they operated as a duo-coupled band.
The foursome included Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus, who were already married, as well as Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who were already dating at the time the group was founded in the early 1970s.
But in 1983, a few years after both marriages had broken up, ABBA called it quits after just under ten years of globally successful hits.
ABBA tried to make it work despite the divorces inside the band, but with such high stakes, especially since Bjorn and Agnetha also had children, it was destined to fail.
However, when did couples get married and when did they divorce?
Bjorn and Agnes
In 1968, Agnetha met Björn, who was then a singer with the Hootenanny Singers.
Benny performed the organ for the couple’s wedding on July 6, 1971, in the village of Verum. ABBA was created a year later.
Bjorn and Agnetha had two kids together. Peter, their son, was born in 1977; Linda, their first child, was born in 1973.
The pair parted in 1979 after about seven years of success due to the strains of touring, and she later claimed that she need counseling as a result.
Agnetha was reportedly “emotionally torn” after her breakup with Bjorn, according to a 2008 article. In addition, it was said that Bjorn found a new girlfriend in less than a week, leaving Agnetha in need of counseling.
Agnetha sang the heartfelt lyrics, “Tell me does she kiss as I used to kiss you,” in the ABBA song “The Winner Takes It All,” which was published around this period.
Regarding the song, Agnetha remarked in 2013: “Björn wrote it about us when our marriage ended. It’s extremely touching that he wrote it on the exact day that we divorced.
“I was unbothered. I could put so much emotion into that song, which made it amazing to perform. It didn’t bother me that I made it public. Nothing about it felt off. That song contains a lot of content.
It was a combination of how I felt, how Björn felt, as well as how Benny and Frida felt.
We constantly told the public that it was a “pleasant” divorce, which of course was a façade, the author stated in her 1997 book As I Am. We all understand that there are no joyful divorces, especially when children are involved.
Benny and Frida
The couple first met in 1969 and began living together in 1971. On October 6, 1978, at the height of ABBA’s stardom, they finally got married.
But after only two years of marriage, they divorced in 1981 after separating in 1980.
In accordance with a 1981 Expressen article, Benny reportedly said: “I have no idea how other people handle situations like these.
“I still maintain my friendship with Frida and continue to be an ABBA member. Although we are no longer married, we are still close friends.”
According to rumors, their divorce happened quickly after Benny revealed to Frida that he had met someone else. He later married Mona Norklit, a television producer, in 1981.
He went on: “We spoke about what would endure in the group despite everything we had been through. For the sake of the music, we made the decision to stick together.”
Frida continued: “We get along much better now that Benny and I are no longer together. Although it is not as close as it once was, we are still in touch.
“We have made the decision to be really honest with one another. We have always been very open and honest about our relationships, and after many difficult conversations, we decided to part ways.
“We merely outgrew each other. It boiled down to our disparate life objectives. We have always been open and honest with one another. After much discussion, we ultimately decided that getting a divorce would be the wisest course of action.
“There were numerous disagreements and tears. But there was no turning around. The need to separate arose.”
The ensemble wouldn’t be publicly spotted together until the Mamma Mia musical and the film’s premiere in the 2000s.
But in 2018, all four members started seriously discussing a comeback, and for the first time in more than 35 years, they co-recorded a few new songs.
They later expanded these two tracks into an entire album, and in 2021 they released Voyage. A type of reunion event will also be held, with specially created virtual “ABBAtars” performing for London fans.
The band allegedly tried going back into the studio in 1982, but after both divorces, they realized it was no longer the same.
Bjorn said on Zane Lowe that the band’s reunion had seemed natural once they entered a recording studio once more.
“I looked around, and I looked into Agnetha’s and Frida’s eyes, and there was the same kind of feeling, the warmth, and the bonds between us,” he said. “You suddenly realize that no one else on earth has experienced this kind of relationship that we have because, thinking about it, it’s true, no one else has.”
“Unfortunately, individuals pass away and don’t always remain on good terms, but we have. And for that, I’m so unbelievably happy.