WITH his curly quiff, puppy-dog eyes and ripped abs – all showcased in a long line of leather waistcoats — A-ha frontman Morten Harket was the ultimate Eighties pop star.
But fast-forward 35 years and the once boyish pin-up proved he hadn’t lost his swoonability when he became the latest celebrity to be revealed on The Masked Singer.
Morten Harket has opened up about the ’embarrassing’ fuss over his good looksCredit: Rex Features
The 61-year-old Norwegian popped out of his “Viking” disguise on the ITV show to reveal he still had the good looks that made him an international heartthrob.
On Saturday, panelist Rita Ora, 30, spontaneously said what most viewers and the studio audience were thinking when she blurted out: “Can I just say, you look fantastic!”
That was echoed by the legions of women whose pulses raced back in 1985 when A-ha first burst onto the music scene and he became a sex symbol overnight.
One fan wrote: “How sexy does Morten Harket look? Still got a crush on him, he looks amazing and sounds beautiful.”
The singer was the ultimate heartthrob in the EightiesCredit: Rex Features
While another penned: “He’s always been so sexy. Still incredibly handsome.”
But speaking exclusively to The Sun, father-of-five Morten says he still finds the fuss over his good looks a tad cringeworthy.
He said: “It’s just me, I mean, how can you respond to things like that? It’s just embarrassing.”
But he spilled his magic formula for keeping youthful… and we’ll all be glad to learn it is the cheapest, easiest hack of all.
He fronted A-ha, who first burst onto the music scene in 1985Credit: Getty
He revealed: “I’ve always constantly been told you need to be careful with your skin and you need to do this and that, and that the body is best if you keep putting a lot of stuff on to soften and moisten your skin.
“But your system will be confused because it reads the skin and what the skin needs, so I just leave it to itself and it provides you with what you need usually.
“So I think you need to back off with products. Perhaps my only advice is just to never remove makeup when you’ve been on a TV show.”
While snubbing beauty products requires little dedication, Morten’s second hunk hack may take a little more doing for some, as the singer also swears by ditching booze.
Morten and fellow Norwegians Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (right) and Magne Furuholmen stayed together for 25 yearsCredit: Alliance/Avalon.red
He added: “If there’s anything that’s impacted my health I think it’s that I don’t really drink alcohol.
“Not because I don’t like it or because I don’t want to, it’s just there’s not a good opportunity to drink it because I need to be alert and awake and ready to go.
“I need to have my head together, I need to have my focus available and I enjoy feeling that way.
“I’m fine being slightly pissed but it’s not something I do.”
Morten proved he hasn’t lost his popstar good looks when he appeared on The Masked SingerCredit: ITV
When Morten and his A-ha bandmates, fellow Norwegians Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen, burst onto the music scene in 1985 he was an instant hit with young female fans.
Their debut single, Take on Me, shot straight to number 2 and showcased his incredible vocal range, including a falsetto once described as “the greatest in pop history”.
The follow up track, The Sun Always Shines on TV, went to No1 and cemented their status as the kings of synth-based Euro-pop.
The ultimate test of their popularity with teenage girls was the awards dished out by pop magazine Smash Hits. In 1985 and 1986 they got the best video gong, most promising new act award, best group and best male singer.
He was revealed to be Viking on Saturday’s showCredit: ITV
And this was when the competition included Eighties giants including Wham! Michael Jackson and Duran Duran.
The trio stayed together for 25 years and sold more than 55 million records including ten studio albums and even the Bond theme for 007 movie, The Living Daylights, in 1987
But while most Eighties bands and stars revelled in rock ‘n’ roll recklessness, that never appealed to Morten – which also explains why he doesn’t look as haggard as some of his contemporaries.
He said: “When we started out, we were staying in a different hotel each night around the world and there were always two or three bottles of excellent wine waiting in the room for us.
Morten has three kids with ex wife Camilla MalmquistCredit: Rex Features
“I realised very quickly that it’d be such a waste to just leave them, but it would be more of a waste to have them.
“I couldn’t start doing that. I just didn’t drink and it’s stayed that way with me.
“What do you get from going off the rails? What do you get out of it? It’s not that interesting of a place to be. I want to stay tuned and keep my innocence.”
Morten got married in 1989 to Camilla, and stayed together for almost a decade, during which time they had two sons and a daughter, now aged 27 to 31.
He also has two daughters with subsequent girlfriends Anne Mette Undlien and Inez Andersson (pictured)Credit: Goff Photos
He also has two daughters, aged 17 and 12, with two subsequent girlfriends, Anne Mette Undlien and Inez Andersson.
Morten became the latest celebrity to be unmasked from the sing-song guessing game show, following a performance of Coldplay’s The Scientist.
It comes after co-stars Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Mel B, Martine McCutcheon, Glenn Hoddle and John Thomson were unveiled in previous weeks.
Masked Singer panelists Mo Gilligan, Davina McCall, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross, alongside guest panelist Alan Carr, were all shocked to discover that Viking was Morten, given that he covered his band’s own 1985 classic hit, Take On Me, earlier in the competition.
Morten reveals his magic formula for keeping youthful…snubbing beauty productsCredit: Rex Features
And show host Joel Dommett confirmed what most viewers had already suspected when he said: “He’s the only person on the show to have ever sang their own song.”
Morten said: “That was my call. I suggested it on the first interview I had with the production team because it would be a thing you just don’t do.
“You would always do the opposite and people would say, ‘Well it can’t be him’, because of that.
“And the response from production was ‘Well that’s not possible, you can’t do that.’
He also says not really drinking alcohol has improved his healthCredit: Getty Images
“But then they suggested that later on and wondered if I’d be willing to do that and I said: ‘Yes, I think it’s a good idea.’”
While Morten had input with that song choice, he let the producers dictate pretty much all other aspects of his performances.
He said: “The whole point of it was just to accept what I got, including some technical things, whatever it was. I just wanted to enter into this without intervening, I always do.
“I’m very particular about a lot of things and I needed to not do any of that. But I thought the costume was great. I thought it was brilliant.”
A-ha’s comeback tour was postponed due to the pandemicCredit: Rex Features
While Morten liked the costume he was given, the practicalities of wearing it proved difficult. In fact, the singer restricted vision inside the cumbersome mask meant he felt like he was tipsy.
He said: “You can’t lean back on anything while wearing it because you’ll shoot yourself forward.
“The thing at times felt like it touched my elbows, it was a very cumbersome thing to be walking around in.
“Viking was stumbling like a drunk. At times I felt like a drunk trying to cross the M4!”
Morten hopes the band will get back on the road again once restrictions are liftedCredit: Rex Features
A-ha were set to do a comeback world tour, Hunting High and Low, that would have run from October 2019 until the end of last year – but it was postponed due to the pandemic.
Morten insists that the band will get back on the road again to continue their tour once Covid restrictions are lifted.
He said: “We will be touring, we have a tour booked. Whether it stays as planned today nobody knows. But there is quite a big tour waiting for us so that will happen at some point.”
Morten said the pandemic has given the band time to write more music but added: “Whether we’ll do it as a band we don’t know. You never know with A-ha.”
He’s certainly full of surprises.
- The Masked Singer continues Saturday at 7pm on ITV.
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