Born to Christina Schollin and Hans Wahlgren, her brothers are Niclas, Linus and Peter. She was married to Emilio Ingrosso from 1993-2002. They have 3 children; Oliver (born 1989), Bianca (born 1994) and Benjamin (born 1997). Pernilla also has a minor child by another relationship.
Her first big break was at the age of four, when she acted alongside her mother in the TV-play Den längsta dagen (The Longest Day). She attended the Adolf Fredrik's Music School and was also part of the Saltsjöbaden theatre.
In the face of stiff competition she got the title role in the musical Annie at Folkan in Stockholm. After a small role in Lilla prinsen (The Little Prince) at Saltsjöbaden's theatre and an equally small part in Ingmar Bergman's film Fanny and Alexander.
In 1982 she joined the cast of the Swedish production of The Sound of Music, in which she played the daughter Louise. At Folkan she also had parts in Karlsson på taket, Mio, min Mio, Snövit (Snow White) and Ringens hemlighet.
After having played Annika in the musical version of Pippi Longstocking at Folket in Stockholm, in 1983 she received good reviews when she replaced Siw Malmkvist in the role of Pippi for the two final performances, and appeared in an episode of Nygammalt in 1983, and an episode of Razzel in October 1984, where she performed her debut single, Nu har det tänt. She has also acted in film and TV productions such as Bo Widerberg's 1986 production of Ormens väg på hälleberget in 1986, and Snoken in 1995.
Pernilla has also performed in a number of comedies at various private theatres in Stockholm, such as Parneviks cirkusparty, Spanska flugan and Bubbel trubbel. She has twice been nominated for the theatre-award Guldmasken—first for her role in Charleys tant at the Intiman theatre, and secondly for her part in "Kärlek & lavemang" at Fredriksdalsteatern in Helsingborg. She has had even more musical roles in Annie Get Your Gun, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Cats and Nils Karlsson Pyssling. She has portrayed Pippi Longstocking several times, also as an adult. On 29 September 2007, The Sound of Music premièred at the Göta Lejon theatre in Stockholm, where Pernilla played alongside a cast including Tommy Nilsson. It ran for nine months, including a month-long tour across Sweden. The last performance ran in Örebro on 16 May 2008.
Her musical breakthrough came when she partook in the 1985 edition of Melodifestivalen. Her song, Piccadilly Circus, became a public favourite, even though she only achieved fourth place in the competition. In the performance, she wore a piece of jewellery which was likened to the Prussian bravery medal, the Iron Cross, which led to accusations of Nazism in the tabloid press, and the TV-programme Svar direkt—an accusation which was false. In the middle of the 1980s she performed at several successful summer tours. The shows, which she did together with the brothers Emilio and Vito Ingrosso, were showered with praise from the press.
In the second half of the 1980s came a pop career with several summer tours and studio albums. Her hits included "Svindlande affärer", "I Need Your Love", "Every Time When We're Together" and "Running for Cover". She again took part in Melodifestivalen in 2003, this time with Jan Johansen. They achieved a respectable second places with the song "Let Your Spirit Fly". In August 2006, she released the album Beautiful Day, the first single from which, Talking to an Angel achieved gold sales status, and the track "Come Inside My World" became the theme tune to TV4's entertainment programme Förkväll.
In 2009, she announced that she recorded a demo that was submitted for the following year's Melodifestivalen. The song "Jag vill om du vågar" ended up being shortlisted as part of the competition and Pernilla was confirmed to be performing the entry. On 27 February 2010, Pernilla performed the song in the fourth semi-final of the competition, taking place at the Malmö Arena in Malmö. She advanced to the "Second Chance" round in Örebro and on 6 March 2010 advanced to the final at Globen.
Pernilla also took part in Melodifestivalen 2013 alongside Jenny Silver and Hanna Hedlund as part of the band "Swedish House Wives" with the song "On Top of the World".The band competed in the second Semi-final on 9 February 2013 receiving the 6th place and did not make it to the final.Pernilla was the presenter of a Christmas TV-programme called Morgonstjärnan (The Morning Star) in 1985, and worked on the popular children's programme Solstollarna in 1987. She has also presented Scenen är din, Söndagsöppet, Småstjärnorna and Babyboom. She achieved much success with the series Nicke & Nille, together with her brother Niclas. This collaboration resulted in several seasons of the programme on TV4, two gold-selling albums, concerts and theatre dates.
Pernilla Wahlgren has done adverts for, among others, the hair-colourant Garnier Nutrisse, Placker's Dental Floss and the clothing store Sisters
To date, she has appeared twice in the Magazine Café. The second time, in 2002, it was to commemorate that she had been voted Sweden's Sexiest Woman.
In June 2007, Pernilla took part for the first time in the popular TV-programme Allsång på skansen, where she performed a much-applauded showtune with her son Benjamin.
On 11 August, Pernilla débuted as a presenter on Sveriges Radio.
Pernilla's voice can be heard in the Swedish versions of several animated films and TV-series.
Pernilla Wahlgren (1985)
Pure Dynamite (1987)
I Myself and Me (1992)
Flashback Number Four (1995) (Best of)
Pernilla Wahlgren (1995) (Re-issue)
Beautiful Day (2006)
Holiday with You (2012)
Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music in Stockholm (2007)