AnimationCelebritiesFilm IndustryMoviesTV

The 20 Most Successful & Highest Paid Korean Drama Actors and Actresses

Updated on December 13, 2016

When it comes to entertainment, Korean Dramas are totally in. With the rising popularity of K-Dramas around the world, fans are eager to know who among their favorite drama actors and actresses are the most successful?

This list will reveal the 20 most successful Korean drama actors and actresses according to their earnings. This ranking is a combination of first top 10 actors and first top 10 actresses with the highest reported earnings. Enjoy reading!

20. Moon Chae Won


Korean drama actress Moon Chae Won is popular for her roles as Seo Eun-Gi in The Innocent Man, Lee Se-Ryung in The Princess' Man, and Cha Yoon-Seo in her popular medical drama, Good Doctor. She gained attention in 2008 in her supporting role as a gisaeng in Painter of the Wind. Later, she was cast in Brilliant Legacy, one of the top-rated Korean dramas of 2009.

According to reports, she receives 25 million won ($21,000 USD) per episode.

19. Park Shin Hye


Park Shin Hye, one of the most brilliant Korean actress of our generation, is also a model and singer. She started her acting career in the Korean drama Stairway to Heaven as young Han Jung-suh. Later, she received acclaim for her leading roles in the television dramas You're Beautiful (2009), Heartstrings (2011), Flower Boys Next Door (2013), The Heirs (2013), Pinocchio (2014–2015) and Doctors (2016).

She is reported to receive 25 million won ($21,000 USD) per episode.

18. Park Bo Young


Park Bo Young hiked up her price tag due to her recent return to television being her first in seven years. She used to be the highest paid tvN actress before Choi Ji Woo. She is best known for her roles in the hit films Scandal Makers (2008) and A Werewolf Boy (2012), and the television series Oh My Ghostess (2015).

She is said to make 30 million won ($25,000) per drama episode.

17. Shin Min Ah


Our beloved Gumiho actress, Shin Min Ah, is in the list. She is best known for starring in television dramas A Love to Kill, My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox, Arang and the Magistrate and Oh My Venus. She began her career as a model for teen magazine KiKi in 1998, then appeared in several music videos for K-pop boyband g.o.d, until her acting debut in 2001 with a supporting role in popular melodrama, Beautiful Days.

Like Park Bo Young, she also makes 30 million won ($25,000) per drama episode.

16. Gong Hyo Jin


Being the comedy queen of Korean Dramas, Gong Hyo Jin is famous for her lead roles in romantic comedy dramas such as The Greatest Love (2011), Master's Sun (2013), It's Okay, That's Love (2014). She made her acting debut in a supporting role in Memento Mori. At first, she wasn't serious about acting and couldn't wait for filming to be over, but Memento Mori's critical success encouraged her to continue acting.

Gong Hyo Jin makes an average of 40 million won ($33,400) per episode.

15. Kim Tae Hee


Beautiful Korean actress Kim Tae Hee is best known for her roles in K-dramas such as Stairway to Heaven, Love Story in Harvard, Iris, My Princess, Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love and Yong-pal. When she's 20, an advertising executive saw her riding the subway, and offered her a modeling job. She appeared in television commercials and print ads, before making her acting debut with a small role in the 2001 melodrama Last Present.

According to reports, she receives around 40 million won ($33,400) per episode for the drama Yong Pal.

14. Ji Chang Wook


Ji Chang Wook rose to fame in the leading role of Dong-hae in daily drama series Smile Again (2010-2011), followed by notable roles in Warrior Baek Dong-soo (2011), Empress Ki (2013-2014), and Healer (2014-2015). He studied at the Dankook University, but he knew that his first focus would always be acting, so he pursue his dream career and is now one of the most successful Korean actors.

He is estimated to make 50 million won ($42,000 USD) per episode.

13. Song Hye Kyo


Song Hye Kyo, who is currently popular in China and other Asian countries, gained popularity through television dramas such as Autumn in My Heart (2000), All In (2003), Full House (2004), The World That They Live In (2008), and That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013). She also took on the lead role in the massive pan-Asia hit 2016 drama, Descendants of the Sun.

She is also estimated to have 50 million won (approx. 42,000 USD) per episode.

12. Choi Ji Woo


Choi Ji Woo is most famous for starring in the television melodramas Winter Sonata, Beautiful Days, Stairway to Heaven and Temptation. Recently, she signed on to the highly anticipated drama Twenty Again for 50 million won ($41,800 USD) per episode, a record in tvN history. It was reported that one of the reasons she was able to command such a high per-episode price because it is her first cable drama appearance in 21 years.

11. Ha Ji Won


The prime time Korean drama queen and one of the most versatile actors who can pull off action, comedy, and drama, Ha Ji Won is best known among international viewers for historical drama Hwang Jini, romantic comedy Secret Garden, and historical drama Empress Ki. She starred in several films and television series, winning various awards and accolades along the way in both films and TV series.

She is also reported to make 50 million won ($42,000 USD) per drama episode.

10. Song Joong Ki


Song Joong Ki is one of the most popular and hottest Korean actor today after playing the lead role in the 2016 hit drama, Descendants of the Sun. He rose to fame in the historical drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010) and the variety show Running Man as one of the original cast members when it premiered in 2010. He had his first TV leading role in the melodrama The Innocent Man (2012).

He is reported to make 60 million won ($50,300 USD) per episode.

9. Lee Jong Suk


At a young age of 27, Lee Joong Suk has become successful in his acting career. He is best known for his leading roles in School 2013 (2012), I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Doctor Stranger (2014) and Pinocchio (2014), which garnered him a nomination for Most Popular Actor at the 51th Baeksang Arts Awards. He is also the youngest actor in history to be awarded the Grimae Award for "Best Male Actor" for his performance in Pinocchio.

According to reports, he makes 60 million won ($50,300 USD) for a single episode.

8. Yoo Ah In


Yoo Ah In became popular in the TV series Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), and became best known for his leading roles in coming-of-age film Punch (2011), melodrama Secret Love Affair (2014), action blockbuster Veteran (2015), period drama film The Throne (2015), and historical drama series Six Flying Dragons (2015-2016). He currently has three films, Punch, Veteran and The Throne, in the List of highest-grossing films in South Korea.

He has a reported paycheck of 70 million won ($58,700 USD) per episode.

7. Lee Min Ho


Our all-time favorite Korean actor, Lee Min Ho, who hasn't starred in a drama since 2013's The Heirs, is now in high demand with everyone anticipating to see what he will choose for his future dramas! He is popular for his role as as Gu Jun-pyo in 2009 drama Boys Over Flowers.

Right now, he is reported to have 70 million won ($58,700 USD) per episode, regardless of the drama!

6. So Ji Sub


After making his career debut as a jeans model, So Ji Sub became best known for his leading roles in the television series I'm Sorry, I Love You, Cain and Abel, Phantom, Master's Sun and Oh My Venus, as well as the film Rough Cut. So has also released several hip-hop EPs.

He is reported to gain 80 million won ($67,100 USD) in every single episode.

5. Jo In Sung


Jo In Sung was praised by audiences for his amazing performance in his recent dramas. He is best known for his leading roles in the TV series What Happened in Bali (2004), That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013), and It's Okay, That's Love (2014), as well as the films A Dirty Carnival (2006) and A Frozen Flower (2008).

He is also reported to earn 80 million won ($67,100 USD) per episode.

4. Lee Young Ae


Lee Young Ae, who is best known for her popular hit drama Jewel in the Palace, is set to make 100 million won ($83,500 USD) per episode for her highly anticipated dramas. Her fans have been waiting for her comeback on TV, since her marriage to Jeong Ho-young, a Korean-American businessman 20 years her senior, in the United States. In 2011, she also gave birth to twins, one boy and one girl, at the Jeil Hospital in Jung-gu, Seoul.

3. Hyun Bin


One of the hottest actors today in Korea is Hyun Bin. He is best known for his leading roles in the television dramas My Name Is Kim Sam-soon (2005), The World That They Live In (also known as Worlds Within) (2008) and Secret Garden (2010-2011).

The success of his comeback drama Hyde, Jekyll, and I provided him 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.

2. Jun Ji Hyun


After her hit drama My Love From the Star in 2014, Jun Ji Hyun has become one of the highest paid actors in Korea. She is best known for her role as "The Girl" in the romantic comedy My Sassy Girl (2001), one of the highest-grossing Korean comedies of all time. Other notable films include Il Mare (2000), Windstruck (2004), The Thieves (2012), The Berlin File (2013), and Assassination (2015).

She is reported to earn 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.

1. Kim Soo Hyun


On top of the list is Kim Soo Hyun, who had a series of amazingly successful dramas including the 2014 hit My Love From Another Star, The Moon That Embraces the Sun, and Producer. His popularity today wouldn't make you think that he was a timid and introverted child during his middle school days and no one expected him to enter the entertainment industry. It's all thanks to his mother's encouragement to take acting classes before high school to change his introverted personality.

He is being payed 100 million won ($83,900 USD) per episode.

That's it!

Did you enjoy the list? If yes, comment your insights below and support your favorite actor by participating at the poll.

Who is our favorite K-Drama actor/actress?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ann 2 days ago

      what about Song Ji Hyo, she is such a stunningly beautiful and talented actress and her popularity is big internationally i really wodner how much she earns

    • profile image

      Goblin's bride 4 days ago

      What about Gong Yoo ?

    • profile image

      Hiam 10 days ago

      Lee Minho so handsome

    • profile image

      Mabel Mensah. Ghana 10 days ago

      My favorite is Lee Min Ho. I love everything about that guy. He is soo on point and handsome too.

    • profile image

      Star1 12 days ago

      Song Hye Kyo awesome

    • Sulatri profile image

      Sulatri 2 weeks ago

      Kim Soo Hyun always number 1

    • profile image

      BLESSIE_LESSIE 3 weeks ago


    • profile image

      Su Thiri San 4 weeks ago

      I love lee jong suk

    • profile image

      Zzainab Saludo 2 months ago

      I loved very much watching korean drama series and my favorite actres is Park shin hye

    • profile image

      lenpwalls 3 months ago

      Ji Chang Wook will always be number 1 in my book! Love So Ji Sub and Park Hae Jin, too.

    • profile image

      flor 3 months ago

      how about eun tae hee?

    • profile image

      Koolkat 3 months ago

      Ji chang wook rocks!! Brilliant actor, stunning looks and amazing commitment..

    • profile image

      Unknow 3 months ago

      Where is Jo Jung Suk???

    • profile image

      kinye 3 months ago

      Where is chumong?!!

      The list is not complete without him...

    • profile image

      chunu 3 months ago

      how much does lee jun ki makes ????????....and gong yoo???? its so sad that they are not here

    • profile image

      Sim Chung 3 months ago

      All time favorite you say? then, LMH should be on top 3..The popularity of KDrama skyrocketed on his Era, he is the FACE of Kdrama tbh. He is known not just in Asia but also in Americas and Europe as well as some part of Africa. KSH is on top yet when SJK rose to fame with that same level as him after DOTS, why is it that LMH is still that one man to beat? No hate cus I love the 3 of them I just think LMH should be on top 3 or at least on top 5.

    • profile image

      Shin 4 months ago

      Park shin hye fighting!

    • profile image

      J.D. 4 months ago

      Gong Yoo isn't even here...

    • profile image

      Gissy 4 months ago

      You need to update, this list is from 2015, a lot has changed in 2016. ji Chang wook recently stared in the k2 and he made a crazy good amount of money

    • profile image

      Jen 4 months ago

      What the..shk only no.13 she is the one who introduce korean drama to asia...

    • profile image

      My oppa 5 months ago

      where's kim woo bin?

    Click to Rate This Article