Everyone adored my mother, Anne-Lise, in our neighbourhood. They’d come by and visit and she would make others feel welcome and part of the family. She worked as an English and literature schoolteacher when I was growing up. She’s in her 80s now and very active and healthy.
My father, Kare, died suddenly in a plane accident in 1969 when I was six years old. He was a jazz musician. As a result I was raised by a matriarch. I have a younger sister Line who is much quieter than me. She was the introvert and I was definitely the extrovert.
Our mother remarried soon after our father’s death. I only got the full background story of my parents’ relationship much later in life – that they had separated prior to his tragic accident. Mum was mentally prepared for their split and to be a single mum even before Dad died. But it was still very hard on her.
Mum became our father figure and is still the tour de force of the family. I was very protective of Line, too – I guess that’s what older brothers are for. We spent a lot of time with our grandparents on both sides.
When I had my first kiss, I was about 10 or 11. I thought I was in a serious relationship at 12 but I was barely in puberty and a bit ahead of myself. My mental space was way ahead of my physical acumen.
I loved actress Anne Bancroft in The Graduate and adored her in The Elephant Man. She had this very caring motherly love that was super attractive.
I met my wife, Heidi Rydjord, at high school in Oslo. I sat behind her and noticed her on the first day. We kissed a few times before we started dating. The first was on New Year’s Eve in 1979. We were 16 and too shy to speak to each other for six months after that and avoided each other in the school corridors. A year later, and while I had another girlfriend, we kissed again. Heidi told me she had been crying so much because she felt something for me. She was 17 and I was 18. We have been together ever since. We married in August 1992.
We lived in separate countries for a few years when I was in A-ha. I was in London and she was studying in France. I was trying to become a pop star and would write her love letters four times a day and post them.
Heidi is the smartest and most unselfish person I know. I am constantly learning of my own shortcomings being in a relationship with her. We have two sons, Thomas Vincent, 28, and Philip Clements, 26.
Heidi doesn’t like to come with me on tour and didn’t like hanging around backstage, especially in those early A-ha days. She didn’t care much for fame and wasn’t excited to meet new people. She preferred to stay home.
Sure, there’s a life on the road and you meet a lot of other women, but I was set on being with her. I saw my stage life as a spectacle – I always knew where my heart was, and still is.
All the songs I’ve written have referenced Heidi in one way or another. She’s the most important female figure in my life. I have to give her the credit for raising our two beautiful sons. The way they have turned out is all due to her, while their famous father was busy travelling.
A-ha perform at A Day on the Green: Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley, Vic, February 22; Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley, NSW, February 29.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale December 8.
Jane lives in Melbourne, spends her time collecting vinyl records, shops at Victoria Market and spends too much on shoes. She’s big on leopard print accessories, has been writing about fashion, music and lifestyle over two decades.