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10 Korean Celebrities With Painful Family Histories

It’s easy for people to feel envious of Korean celebrities, after all – they’re beautiful, famous, and make a lot of money. People think that they have won the lottery on life, and some even think it’s unfair. While it’s true that there are many celebrities who seem to have the luck of the draw in life, there are those who suffered and had to go through painful experiences before they got to where they are now. Here are 10 Korean Celebrities with painful family histories:

#1 Junjin

  • When Junjin was young, his parents divorced because the family of his birth mom disapproved of his father and the fact that they were living in poor household. When his birth mom left, Junjin was left behind in the care of his grandmother.
  • Junjin’s father (singer Charlie Park) remarried and Junjin got a sister, but that marriage ended up in another divorce. It is in the third marriage when Charlie Park found a woman who would love and care for Junjin and his little sister like they were her true offsprings.
  • Junjin’s third mother took steps to find his birth mother, and was successful. Junjin finally met his biological mother after many years and found out that she now has a new family and a son that is similar to him. Junjin vowed never to meet his mother again after that day, as he didn’t want his half brother to go through the same hardships that he did.

#2 Leeteuk

  • Leeteuk is the younger of two children, and he had to go through his parents filing for a divorce at such an early age.
  • His father, Park Yong In, and his mother parted ways on not-so-good terms in 1988. Leeteuk was only 5 years old at the time and had trouble understanding why his parents were separated.
  • Leeteuk was beaten up by his father, it has gotten so bad that he ended up not feeling anything for his father but fear.
  • His parents fought a lot, and he was frequently at the receiving end of corporal punishment, even at a young age. It led to Leeteuk feeling nothing but bitterness and fear towards his father during his childhood.
  • The experience was traumatizing for Leeteuk, leading to tears (despite trying to hold back and laugh it off at first) when he talked about it in public.
  • When Leeteuk was in the military, his father murdered his grandparents and then killed himself.

#3 U-Know Yunho

  • Yunho’s father went bankrupt when he was a teenager. His father clarified that he had savings but Yunho was brought to understand finances leading him to try to support himself and his sister
  • When he decided to stay in Seoul and train under SM, his father disapproved and held back all the financial support (in the hopes of discouraging Yunho and lead him back home) but Yunho wanted to pursue his dreams. He didn't have enough money to rent an apartment and he had to sleep on the floors of various train stations, even revealing a couple of train stations that are good to sleep in. He only had a regular place to stay in after meeting Junsu, who let him stay in his house.
  • Due to their bankruptcy, Yunho had to work multiple jobs as early as age 12, and the money was used to pay for his sister’s schooling.
  • In one case, Yunho suspected that his dad was having an affair because he would regularly leave the house at 4 am in the morning. But when he followed him in secret, he found out that his father was delivering newspapers as a part time job in order to supplement his income from his regular job.
  • Even during his early days as a celebrity, he found out that his mother was working in a factory and just hiding it from him by pretending that she was going out to exercise.

#4 Dara

  • Dara started out with a decent career in the Philippines, but the money she earned was used by her father to gamble and defraud people through bounced cheques.
  • In order to keep up with expenses, Dara had to be more daring and agreed to sexy pictorials at a time when she was still trying to maintain a career as a wholesome actress. It was made worse when her career started fading.
  • When her father was arrested, she and her family were forced to move back to Korea. Thankfully, this allowed Dara to restart her career.

#5 Gil of LeeSsang

  • During an event in Infinity Challenge where the cast had to give advice to students, Gil admitted that he had trouble giving advice related to parental issues, as the kids still had parents to talk to, something that he didn’t have when he was their age.
  • Gil revealed that his father collapsed and ended up bedridden when he was still in primary school. His father regressed to the mental age of a child afterwards. It seems that it’s the result of a stroke, because Gil mentioned that his father first became unwell after signing a guarantee that went wrong and caused his family’s financial ruin.
  • Before the fateful event, Gil’s family was well-off, owning several large businesses that include a department store, but his father getting sick completely reversed their fortune, and they ended up being evicted and forced to live in a basement room.
  • Gil’s mother refused to give up on their father and vowed to get him to walk and talk again, and the whole family worked different kinds of jobs to support this. Gil remembered that he used to sort microchips, which entailed receiving large bags full of items that he had to weed through. Sometimes the bags would include garbage such as left over/spoiled food and dead rats.
  • Gil’s father eventually died from heart attack, after he completed his college entrance exam.

#6 Hyuna

  • Hyuna originally debuted as the main rapper of Wonder Girls, but her parents pulled her out due to concerns over her health.
  • There were a lot of rumors swirling around her departure, and Hyuna was criticized by some fans for not being committed enough, especially since the group became famous internationally when she left the group.
  • Many of the rumors were brutal and ruined her reputation, including ones that say she left because she was pregnant with the child of a JYP Executive. This is especially harmful in the South Korean entertainment industry where Kpop stars are expected to adhere to a certain amount of moral decorum and sex scandals can be career-ending.
  • The truth is that she really did have health problems, as she was suffering from chronic gastroenteritis and had frequent fainting spells. This would have made it difficult for her to keep up with Wonder Girls’ demanding schedule at the time, and would have put her at an even greater risk.

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#7 Yoona

  • Yoona’s parents had a divorce when she was young, and she was left in the care of her father. She has no memory of her mother.
  • Yoona is a private person and didn’t want to talk about her past in public, making it difficult for her when things were revealed.
  • It is this same problem why she doesn’t look too happy when singing Dear Mom. It is also widely known that "mother" is a sensitive topic in SNSD. However, she hinted of her family situation when she thanked only her father when she got an award.

#8 Jaejoong

  • Jaejoong was given up for adoption by his birth mother due to not being able to support him.
  • At age 15, Jaejoong moved to Seoul all by himself just to fulfill his dreams, by taking part in the auditions held by SM Entertainment. During this time, he had no money or place to go to so he took on various part time jobs just to afford rent, food, and training fees, even resorting to selling blood at the blood bank and appearing as an extra in movies.
  • JJ was tone deaf in primary school, so his dreams of becoming a singer was ridiculed and discouraged by his peers.

#9 Eunhyuk

  • Eunhyuk was born in Goyang, South Korea, and raised by a family that had severe financial problems. He had no money for going to training schools so he learned how to perform just by self-training and performing in the streets.
  • It is said that his family is so poor that they can’t even afford proper housing, and that they have to go to the nearest subway station if they need to go to the restroom.

#10 Lee Hyori

  • During a statement made on SBS’s Magic Eye, Lee Hyori admitted that she grew up in a poor family, and their financial state resulted in a lot of resentment in her young mind, particularly as it prevented her from getting access to things that most other children only take for granted.
  • Hyori said that she wasn’t even able to go to kindergarten, because her family can’t afford it. It was a huge disappointment for her because at such a young age, she already felt the desire to go to kindergarten and mingle with other kids, and learn how to play various musical instruments. At the time, she couldn’t understand why she had the poor fortune of being born poor and in squalor.


Hannah on May 05, 2017:

Yoona Leeteuk

Tas on March 08, 2017:

most of these aren't really related to family history like it's stated in the title...

Chipemmi on September 05, 2016:

Lee Teuk story is too heartbreaking.

Fairlane Raymundo (author) from Los Angeles, CA on July 20, 2015:

@Tori Chang if i gather enough story, i'll make 10 more and i'll include her

Tori Chang on July 20, 2015:

I'm surprised you didn't mention Tiffany Hwang's family history considering how her mother died when she was a teenager in the U.S. I would think that a child's mother dying is very painful, no?

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