Why Did ABBA Break Up?

Swedish pop sensations ABBA burst onto the global scene when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. Over the next eight years, they dominated the pop charts.

Then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, the band disappeared, not to reappear together in the public eye for nearly four decades. [1]

ABBA broke up when the marriages of the two couples who made up the band imploded.

Years of touring and the pressures of global fame had put a strain on their relationships, and both couples divorced within a few years of each other.

Millions of ABBA fans hoped the band would reform for a long time after their breakup, but the bitter terms of their split thwarted these hopes for 40 years.

This article explains what went on behind the scenes in the intervening years.

Also, see What Is Sweden Known For? to learn more.

ABBA concert
Do ABBA members still talk to each other? See below

Do ABBA Members Still Talk to Each Other?

Composed of two couples, ABBA was an unusual band in the pop music world.

But the same familial intimacy that made the band a close, tightly-knit unit posed the greatest threat to its survival once the two couples fell apart. Remarkably, their relationships survived this turmoil.

The members of ABBA do talk to each other. Not only have they released a comeback album 40 years after their acrimonious split, but various members have been in contact with each other for years.

They have also collaborated on other musical projects during this time, although not as ABBA.

Agnetha Faltskog, the most reclusive member of the band, retreated from public life within a few years of the split.

The most traumatized by the events leading to the breakup, she continues to have friendly relations with the band’s other female member, Anni-Frid Lyngstad. [2]

Agnetha also has children and grandchildren from her marriage with Bjorn Ulvaeus. It is highly unlikely they are not on cordial terms if they are anything like other Swedes.

The band’s other couple, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad do not have children in common. However, they, too, have maintained amicable relations.

Long-term musical collaborators Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson continued to work with each other through the 80s and 90s.

These efforts peaked with the success of the West End musical Mamma Mia! Loved by millions, it led to the release of a Mamma Mia! feature film starring Merryl Streep. 

Mamma Mia! was one of the top-grossing films of 2008. Its staggering success led to the making of a sequel in 2018 and increased the clamor for ABBA to return.

Finally, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, there was an announcement that the band had reformed for a final album. [3]

Also, see What Is There To Do In Sweden? to learn more.

Swedish bands
Did ABBA ever date each other? See below

Did ABBA Ever Date Each Other?

The members of ABBA did date each other throughout most of the band’s existence.

Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus were married and had children, and Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were a couple through much of this time. 

From its very beginning, ABBA was a band of two couples.

Benny and Bjorn were already famous pop musicians in Sweden when they met Agnetha and Anni-Frid – who went by the name Frida – in the spring of 1969. 

By 1971, Bjorn and Agnetha were married, and Frida and Benny were a couple. Within a year, the four formed ABBA, an acronym derived from their first names: Agnetha, Benny, Björn, and Anni-Frid. [4] 

Bjorn and Agnetha would go on to have two children together: a daughter Linda in 1973, and a son Peter, in 1977.

Although Frida and Benny were living together at the time, they did not get married until 1978.

Over the years, the strains of constant touring and public exposure got to both couples. They finally fell apart when both men fell in love with other women.

Bjorn and Agnetha’s marriage was dissolved in 1979, and Benny and Frida divorced in 1981. Within a year, the band made its last public appearance.

Heartbreak for Bjorn and Agnetha, and Benny and Frida also produced one of the most poignant breakup songs in the pop canon: The Winner Takes It All, the group’s last top ten hit in America, from their 1980 album Super Trouper. 

The song was written by Bjorn Ulvaeus and sung by his former lover Agnetha Faltskog, just as they were in the middle of an acrimonious divorce.

It perfectly captured what every member was going through at the time and continues to resonate with fans even today.  

Also, see What Do Swedes Think of IKEA? to learn more.

music concert
Did ABBA members remarry? See below

Did ABBA Members Remarry?

ABBA members did remarry. Agnetha Faltskog married Tomas Sonnenfeld, Anni-Frid Lyngstad wed Heinrich Ruzzo, Bjorn Ulvaeus’ wife is Lena Kallersjo, and Benny Andersson is married to Mona Nörklit.

Over ten years after Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus broke up, Agnetha married the Swedish surgeon Tomas Sonnenfeld.

However, the marriage did not last, and they two separated in 1993. Bjorn Ulvaeus’ married Lena Kallersjo, a music journalist. The two are still married. [5]

Faltskog reported that she had a hard time dealing with the fallout of her marriage with Andersson. Eventually, she sought counseling to deal with her troubles.

After a few solo albums that were well received in Sweden, she retreated from the public eye. 

Even 40 years later, when ABBA finally made their much-awaited comeback, Agnetha’s conditions for agreeing to go ahead with the recording and tour included a provision that she would not be available for promotional activities. 

Anni-Frid Lyngstad also recused herself from promoting ABBA’s comeback album Voyage. In the end, it was left to close collaborators Ulvaeus and Andersson to pick up these duties.

In any case, the men had maintained a much better relationship over the intervening years. 

After separating from Benny Andersson in 1981, Anni-Frid Lyngstad married Prince Heinrich Ruzzo, a Count of Plauen, of the German Royal House of Reuss.

Although the two later divorced, she continues to hold the titles of Princess of Reuss and Countess of Plauen, and her marriage made her the richest of the four.

Lyngstad’s former husband, Benny Andersson, married Mona Nörklit within months of their divorce. They remain a couple today.


ABBA broke up when the two musician-couples who made up the band got divorced in quick succession, leading to hostility between the band members. 

Also, see Why Don’t Swedes Get Married? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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