ABBA

ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus announces split from wife Lena after 41 years

ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus, 76, has announced that he's separating from his wife Lena after 41 years of marriage.

ABBA star Björn Ulvaeus and his wife Lena have split up after 41 years of marriage.

The couple, who married in 1981 and have two children together, announced that they are set to divorce but “remain good friends”.

“After many fine and eventful years, we have decided to divorce,” the couple said in a joint statement

“We remain close and good friends and will continue to celebrate our grandchildren’s birthdays and other family celebrations together.”

The pair started dating soon after Björn split with Agnetha Fältskog, who he married in 1971 before the band became famous.

When the marriage ended, Agnetha was said to have needed counselling. She struggled with life in ABBA, not least spending so much time away from her two young children, Linda and Peter, while the band flew around the world on their gruelling tour schedule.

Björn and Lena pictured in 2014

Björn and Lena pictured in 2014 ( Image: Getty Images for UNICEF)

They've been married for over 40 years

They’ve been married for over 40 years ( Image: Getty Images)

Their divorce and break-up inspired some of their most soul-searching lyrics, as they continued to record music.

Happy New Year, from 1980’s Super Trouper album, was set at the end of a party where the “dreams we had before are all dead/ like confetti on the floor”. On The Winner Takes It All, Björn wrote the lines, “But tell me does she kiss/Like I used to kiss you?/Does it feel the same/When she calls your name?”

Bjorn and Lena had met at a New Year’s party at the home of ABBA bandmates Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

“We really fell in love with lightning,” Björn previously said about Lena. “So strange that you are a bachelor for a week and then just fall there right away.”

They released a statement today

They released a statement today ( Image: NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Benny and Anni-Frid divocred in 1981. The band disbanded the following year.

Benny later remarried and had two children, while also releasing two albums of instrumental folk music.

Anni-Frid married German Prince Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen in 1992, who died aged just 49, in 1999. They had lived in his castle in Switzerland.

ABBA formed in Stockholm in 1972 before winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with their song Waterloo.

Last year they thrilled music fans around the world after announcing a sensational comeback with their first new music in 39 years.

The group – who vowed never to reform despite selling more than 400million albums – also revealed a “digital” series of dates.

Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn

Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn ( Image: TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Ima)

A purpose built arena on London’s Olympic Park will be the venue for a four-year-long residency.

The band will perform as “ABBA-tars” in the most advanced technology ever to be used in the live music sector.

They teamed up with Star Wars George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic, a motion-effects company, to capture their movements and stage presence.

The also released a new album with two new tracks I Still Have Faith in You and Don’t Shut Me Down as singles.

It is the first new music from the band for decades, who split in 1982 and whose songs include Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All and Take a Chance on Me.

Their final recording sessions, also in 1982, produced the hits Under Attack and The Day Before You Came, which featured on the compilation album The Singles.

ABBA recently reformed for their first album in 40 years

ABBA recently reformed for their first album in 40 years ( Image: Baillie Walsh)

Their last public performance came three years later, on the Swedish version of TV show This Is Your Life, which honoured their manager Stig Anderson.

The reunion had been on the cards for a number of years with them inundated with offers to reform in the past. The most lucrative was £600 million to play a 100-date world tour in 2000, which they turned down.

Talking about reunion offers in the past – including the £600million offer – Björn, said: “That amount was the budget of a small country so we had to give it some thought.

“In the end we decided that, whatever offer was on the table, it would be stupid to get back together and utterly ludicrous to change the images people all over the world have of us.”

Benny has previously said: “We would need a good reason to reform and I just don’t see one. We could never recreate the old days. I’d rather be remembered for the way we were 30 years ago.”

The group performed together for the first time in decades in 2016 at a private event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between songwriters Bjorn and Benny.

ABBA together

ABBA together ( Image: Redferns)

And it appeared that event was the catalyst for talk of a fully-fledged reunion including new music.

The Swedish quartet announced in 2018 they were planning to record new tracks and it was confirmed last year that they have more songs than originally planned.

However the plans were delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Bjorn has previously said the idea for the holograms had been suggested to the band by Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller.

He said: “He came to Stockholm and he presented this idea to us that we could make identical digital copies of ourselves of a certain age and that those copies could then go on tour and they could sing our songs, you know, and lip sync. I’ve seen this project half-way through and it’s already mind-boggling.”

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