Bernadette Heerwagen: 'You don't cheat on polyamory'

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Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Bernadette Heerwagen:"Bei Polyamorie hintergeht man sich nicht"
In 'Annie and the Loaned Man' and 'Annie and the Shared Happiness', Annie (Bernadette Heerwagen) and Ralf (Thomas Loibl) face the challenges of a polyamorous relationship. © ZDF / Jacqueline Krause-Burberg, SpotOn

Two new 'Annie' movies

After 'Annie - kopfüber ins Leben' (2020, currently in the ZDF media library), the sequels 'Annie and the Loaned Man' (September 15) and 'Annie and the Shared Happiness' (September 22) will follow at 8:15 p.m clock on ZDF. In the first part, the classic father-mother-child family model was turned on its head when Annie Frieding (Bernadette Heerwagen, 45, 'Munich Murder') during a marital crisis with Ralf Frieding (Thomas Loibl, 53) by fitness trainer Raimund Adjey (Eugene Boateng, 37) becomes pregnant and decides for the child, but also for her marriage. They start an unusual patchwork model in which Ralf becomes the little boy's social father and Raimund, as the biological father, nevertheless takes care of him.

In the new films, they now go a step further. Because when Annie and Ralf's best friends, Tine (Kathrin von Steinburg, 45) and Nils (Manuel Rubey, 43), almost despair of their unfulfilled desire to have children, Annie promptly suggests that her own husband Ralf should help out. With this unorthodox, generous plan, Tine should finally get pregnant. But everything turns out differently than expected, because Ralf and Tine are increasingly liking each other... When thinking about 'lending' her own husband, actor Ole Puppe (53), to her best friend, actress Bernadette Heerwagen says in an interview with the News agency spot on news: 'Before the 'Annie' films, I would have said immediately: No, I would never lend my husband.' She also explains the challenges of polyamorous relationships.

How were the reactions to the first film, which also tells of a rather unusual patchwork family model?

Bernadette Heerwagen: There were many reactions to the first film. Apparently, many long-term couples have not had sex for a long time, which is what caused Annie and Ralf's marital crisis. Yet, strangely enough, it's a taboo subject. And I'm so glad that screenwriter Dominique Lorenz took up this topic, because it should be discussed much more openly. That could probably save many a marriage.

Maybe monogamy is outdated for some couples, but not for others, which I can understand. But there are just so many forms of living together and in the three films we tell in a good, funny but also dramatic way what other family models can mean for the individual. In fact, it takes a lot of courage, tolerance and generosity on all sides.

The new films also continue to be unconventional. 'Annie and the Loaned Man' and 'Annie and the Happiness Divided'. So Annie 'lends' her husband to her friend, whose own husband can't father children... Would you consider loaning or sharing your husband?

Heerwagen: Somehow the idea is totally obvious, but when I imagine it specifically for my husband and I, I have to swallow. It takes a lot of chutzpah to pull this off. In any case, before the 'Annie' films, I would have said straight away: No, I would never lend my husband. Today I would at least think about it - whether I would really do it is another matter. But at least allowing a different, more open, more tolerant thought in this direction is one of the great strengths of these three films.

The films are also about a harmonious coexistence of families after separations. The biggest obstacles are often ego, jealousy and social pressure. How to get a handle on the first two in particular?

Heerwagen: The character Nils, for example, has to do that and he tries to let go and find his way in a spiritual way. It's probably just important to be included in the decisions. This is how polyamorous relationships work. In contrast, when it comes to cheating, one of the partners usually does not know. There is no cheating in polyamory, which can keep ego and jealousy in check.

What is the biggest challenge in polyamorous relationships?

Heerwagen: Having a real relationship with both partners, talking, having sex with both of them can be a double burden, I think. A woman in a polyamorous relationship told me that what we tell in 'Annie' is her very story. So it's not far off the mark as you might think at first glance.

At first I also asked myself how I should play it, but the more I thought about it, the more I understood and understood it. After all, it is certainly not pleasant to have a grumpy man at home who loves you on the one hand but longs for another woman on the other. There is only the separation or you just try out whether you can be happy with it.

Annie and Ralf have an older daughter. At some point, the hustle and bustle of the parents becomes too colorful for him and she informs them that their 'parent's license has now expired'. You are mom too. Are you already dreading when your two daughters hit puberty and - justified or not - become strict with you?

Heerwagen: I would say I let myself be surprised and enjoy the time when they are still children. They're six and nine years old now and it's just starting to give me an idea of ​​what puberty might be like. I will definitely try to stay relaxed and accept the task.

A big difference between the two women in the film is the diet. One cooks more down-to-earth, the other tends to be vegan. How do you keep it private?

Heerwagen: I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian, but my older daughter is vegetarian and so I try to avoid meat when cooking. We have chickens, so it's vegan. And when I buy meat, it's only from a neighbor in the country. Then I know that the animal had a nice life and was not raised in factory farming. In general, I am also interested in vegan cuisine. We grow our own vegetables, salad and fruit and can supply ourselves regionally, seasonally from our own garden.

Which harvest was particularly good and which particularly bad in this particularly hot summer?

Heerwagen: We're lucky that we had rain here in the Allgäu, it's green here. And so this year we were able to harvest wheat, beetroot, zucchini, asparagus, chard, pumpkin, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, apples and pears. And our chestnut tree is also bearing really large fruit for the first time. But recently I was in Hamburg and Vienna and saw how brown nature is in many places. That really shocked me.

Working in your own garden would probably be the answer to my last question, how do you best relax after a long shoot?

Heerwagen: Well, it's a lot of work and last year, for example, it was anything but pleasant because the weather was too cold and too wet. Nothing grew there, only the weeds. At some point I was so overwhelmed that I gave up because I was on the verge of burnout. The area to be cultivated was simply too large.

This year we reduced the area and my husband took care of it alone. So I relax watching him and taking on a few smaller tasks here and there. But sometimes it just relaxes me to be in the city and shoot. You will be picked up in the morning, your make-up applied, your clothes laid out for you, you don't have to cook. I'm really enjoying that. Of course, ten to twelve hour long shooting days are also stressful. Somehow for me at home and when filming there is stress and relaxation at the same time.

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