The West

Stepping out of Abba shadow
Agnetha Faltskog. Picture: Channel Seven

ABBA star and music icon Agnetha Faltskog has lived in relative obscurity for the past 30 years since the break-up of the band that made her one of the most famous musicians in the world.

However, Faltskog, now a 63-year-old grandmother, is poised to release her first album of new material in 25 years and is ready to step back into the spotlight.

In a world exclusive television interview airing on Channel 7 tonight, the notoriously shy Faltskog opens up to Sunday Night reporter Rahni Sadler about life, love and stardom.

During the frank filming session at the home of Swedish songwriter Jorgen Elofsson, who wrote the bulk of the songs for her new album A, Faltskog admitted she hated interviews and had shied away from the pressure of public appearances over the past 30 years, fearing she would say or do the wrong thing.

In a nothing-off-limits interview, Faltskog talked openly about her failed marriage to fellow band member Bjorn Ulvaeus, achieving pop stardom at 17, her retreat from the public eye and her life now.

After the ABBA split, she retired to an island west of Stockholm to raise her family. In the years that followed, her lack of public appearances and interviews had her branded a recluse.

"We needed time just to rest because we had too much of everything," she told Sunday Night.

"There were some years that I wanted to just be myself and have a rest, and then these rumours start when you don't give so many interviews, suddenly she's like Greta Garbo and she doesn't want to meet anyone and she's kind of a mysterious lady . . . and it's strange to read things about yourself."

Speaking about the infamous split from husband Ulvaeus, Faltskog admits the pressures of touring were hard on the relationship, even though there were fun times.

"There were periods when we were very irritated as well because we were tired of travelling so much and living in hotels," she said.

She still has fond memories of the band's 1977 tour to Australia, where they performed 11 concerts to 160,000 people and ABBA-mania began in earnest.

"It's an amazing feeling really to feel so loved. We will never forget it because it's such a good memory and I think it's a pity that you are so far away," she said.

The West Australian

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