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Knowing Me, Knowing EU: ABBA’s Benny Andersson reveals his Brexit sorrow

ABBA legend Benny Andersson says that Brexit is like ‘losing a friend’ – and he discusses what it was like becoming a father at the age of 16

Mamma Mia, here we go again! Just when we thought we’d heard every important opinion about Brexit, up pops ABBA legend Benny Andersson.

For it seems, as well as causing a Prime Ministerial resignation, economic and political confusion, and insecurity for thousands of people across the continent, the Brexit vote has also made our favourite bearded pop star sad.

In this week’s Big Issue, Andersson says that the UK leaving the EU ‘is like losing a friend’.

“I was never political as a teenager, but I am now,” he says. “That comes with age. You realise everything is important.

“I am engaged, I have opinions and support people who share my opinions. I think The Big Issue is a great initiative, for example. We have street papers in Sweden as well.

“It is pretty messy today with Brexit, Catalonia and Donald Trump at the wheel in America. The UK leaving the EU is like losing a friend. It is like your friend turning around and saying: ‘I don’t like you any more.’

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“It feels bad for us. But let’s wait and see if it actually happens.”

In this week’s Letter To My Younger Self, the 70-year-old hitmaker also discusses becoming a father at the tender age of 16.

“Even if I thought I was a mature 16-year-old and was ahead of my friends at school, it wasn’t an ideal situation,” he says. “It wasn’t great when I was out touring. I regret that. But it works now and has done for many years.

“Now my son is 53 and my daughter is 51. They say, ‘We are happy you did what you did. Because it means being able to live a decent life.’ They don’t complain, but I don’t know. My younger son [Ludvig] is 35 and I was with him the whole time he was growing up. I loved being hands on.

“We do everything together. Now we are working on the next Mamma Mia! movie. My wife gets envious because she doesn’t see him as much as I do.”

  • Read more Benny Andersson – on ABBA’s early days, the band’s relationships, and giving up drinking – in this week’s Big Issue, on sale now

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