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

Updated on December 13, 2016
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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Mare-sensei

    Comments

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      • profile image

        shenya 

        5 weeks ago

        I ❤ Jang keun suk

      • profile image

        Jennypie16 

        6 weeks ago

        Hey, how about joo won? For me he is the most talented among the rest of the boys mentioned above, coz aside from acting,he can sing very well. He can act bad boy, good boy, naive innocent, and every thing. He is a brilliant actor! No one can portray a bridal mask other than him and a GOOD DOCTOR TOO! right?

      • profile image

        tracy alex 

        6 weeks ago

        i like lee hyun woo wheres he

      • profile image

        Abdullah CH 

        7 weeks ago

        Jun ji hyun and Kim ao hyun .

        Love from Pakistan

      • profile image

        Faiha 

        7 weeks ago

        Lee min ho oppa... u are the best... i can feel it the sad, happy n funny... saranghae oppa

      • profile image

        Maricel Suan 

        8 weeks ago

        Yoon Eun Hye is my most favorite actress in south korea

      • profile image

        tina 

        2 months ago

        My favorite actor kim soo hyun and actress jun jie hyun

      • profile image

        Oh ha ni 

        2 months ago

        Hyun Bin Hot

      • profile image

        Francis 

        2 months ago

        What about Park Hae Jin?

      • profile image

        K-drama lover 

        3 months ago

        All of actor & actress are beutiful

      • profile image

        ri ra 

        4 months ago

        ji chang wook is one of my favorite actoros and I am surprised to see that only 7% have voted him!I thought at least 20% have voted the lovely healer❤

        and why kim woo bin is not in list???!!!!

        nowaday he is as popular as the other actors!maybe more!

      • profile image

        Fan 

        4 months ago

        Kim woo bin is not in the list cuz of disease but he is extremely talented and loving person even lee min ho , park hyung sik and obvio song joong ki .. aah my favouritessssss love them all..

      • profile image

        Song fan❤ 

        4 months ago

        Song jung ki.. the most fascinating and handsome actor i have ever seen u are love ❤

      • profile image

        Rachel 

        4 months ago

        And they all look they same...

      • profile image

        babethdiaz 

        4 months ago

        i think lee joongi not included here because he doesn't want his net worth to be known. coz i look everywhere there's no answer. maybe he ask this to be private. coz i see one feature of his networth and it stated there that he doesn't want his networth to be feature. for sure that the amount is too high coz he already been to hollywood. it may be short appearance but its hollywood that's big.

      • profile image

        hyerin 

        4 months ago

        yoo ah in , the best of the best

      • profile image

        Teodora 

        4 months ago

        I love Park Boyoung!After seeing her last drama,Strong women Do Boong Soo,I fell in love with her!She is really natural and fits her character perfectly,love her acting :D

      • profile image

        Rinky Gogoi 

        5 months ago

        I really appreciate and admire Lee Jong Suk. . .. He is cute and charismatic. ......with his Charming eyes and sexy lips ....it is a joy to watch him....And he is promising..... love for you

      • profile image

        Monuh 

        5 months ago

        I really love the k drama and I love south Korea becose of Moon Chae Won , she is the best.

      • profile image

        sarah 

        5 months ago

        oppa and unni i alway called you all my star you are alway there for me when i am happy or sad and i alway pray for you to continue shining like a star i alway wish to be like you i called you my rolemodel i am thankful for alway there for me oppa and unni i will love you forever you are in my heart alway oppa and unni like leeminho,parkshinhye,kimsoohyun and the rest i am just 15 year old and a high school student i am lucky to have you as my rolemodel you are the oppa and unni.

      • profile image

        sarah 

        5 months ago

        you are the best

      • profile image

        sarah 

        5 months ago

        oppa and unni you are my rolemodel you are the best

      • profile image

        Dorji 

        6 months ago

        Ohh Yes my best actor is the Top listed

      • profile image

        lems 

        6 months ago

        HA JI WON!!!

      • profile image

        Nazzy 

        6 months ago

        I love lee min ho

      • profile image

        iampen selle 

        6 months ago

        Forever love Lee Jong suk❤️

      • profile image

        jane kl 

        6 months ago

        all..

      • profile image

        MO MO 

        7 months ago

        Kim Tae Hee is really Beauty OK

      • profile image

        nani 

        8 months ago

        I love ji Chang wook

      • profile image

        8 months ago

        Kim Soo Hyun is the best

      • profile image

        Jeon Jungkook 

        8 months ago

        I Love park shin hye n Lee min ho

      • profile image

        Meenakshi 

        8 months ago

        My favorite are Lee min ho ,song joong ki ,song hey kyo

      • profile image

        SHER 

        8 months ago

        JANG GEUN SUK

      • profile image

        anisha 

        8 months ago

        Ur the best Lee Min Ho

      • profile image

        Maythu 

        8 months ago

        Jo In Sung is absolutely a irreplaceable actor. So called an artist. ❤️

      • profile image

        Ashleegwapo 

        9 months ago

        Lee Min Ho, Jang Geun Seuk, Kim Hyun Joong, Song Jong Ki, Jo In Sung, Yoo Seung Ho, Lee Dong Wook, and Gong Yoo.

        Park Shin Hye, Shi Min Ah, Song Hye Kyo, Ha Ji Won, Kim Tae Hi, Bae SuZy

      • profile image

        lidya 

        9 months ago

        I really like Lee min hoo

        He's the best.

      • profile image

        Tanty 

        9 months ago

        I love you Shin hye

      • profile image

        JADE 

        9 months ago

        Jun Ji Hyun!!!

      • profile image

        SUBBA 

        9 months ago

        LOVE YOU LEE MIN HO .......

      • profile image

        SEL 

        9 months ago

        PARK BO YOUNG UNNIE!!!! LOVE HER

      • profile image

        riya 

        9 months ago

        lee min ho is the best.................

      • profile image

        Juliet 

        10 months ago

        I love u parkshinhye

      • profile image

        Rameeza 

        10 months ago

        Lee min hi is the best best among all actors .Korean Japanese or Chinese .he is the number.1

      • profile image

        Matilda 

        11 months ago

        I love Lee Min Ho

      • profile image

        ennah 

        11 months ago

        i love jun ji hyun

      • profile image

        Eliza Wamainge 

        11 months ago

        song Joong Ki actually you always do well

      • profile image

        Cuty 

        12 months ago

        I like it so beautiful

      • profile image

        Hannah 

        12 months ago

        Tbh I think that's Jun ji hyun acted better than Kim so hyun in My love from the stars._. Why all these women r such good actresses yet they receive way less than the guys.

      • profile image

        thingking velles 

        12 months ago

        love from another star

      • profile image

        Eve 

        13 months ago

        Where is LEE JOON GI ????

      • profile image

        DANIEL 

        13 months ago

        lee min ho (OMG)

      • profile image

        Kim Nan 

        13 months ago

        I like kim soo hyun.

      • profile image

        I love song joong ki and song hye kyo 

        13 months ago

        Isha India

      • profile image

        Ifat 

        13 months ago

        I luv kim soo hyun and jun ji hyun

        AND also song jong ki and song hye ko

      • profile image

        Betty Cheung 

        13 months ago

        I love Jun Ji Hyun & Kim Soo Hyun.

      • profile image

        armela chavez@yahoo.com 

        13 months ago

        kim soo hyun is the one and only., great actor .,his really amazing..no one can compare to him when in comes to acting..,in drama.,action.,comedy.singing,dancing.,all in one,his very excellent.,.his chrarcter.,really the best.,very humble.,charming.,very kind.,a respectful person.,and had a good heart...

      • profile image

        JOSEE 

        13 months ago

        Joong KI,I Iove you

      • profile image

        Yoo Si Jin 

        14 months ago

        I Love You Joong Ki

      • profile image

        Becky k 

        14 months ago

        Where's park min young she's Uganda's number one

      • profile image

        Sang 

        14 months ago

        i think gong yoo should be in the number 1.

      • profile image

        Alem sangtam 

        14 months ago

        Park shin hye Queen of romantic comedian. My love

      • profile image

        Ann 

        14 months 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 

        14 months ago

        What about Gong Yoo ?

      • profile image

        Hiam 

        15 months ago

        Lee Minho so handsome

      • profile image

        Mabel Mensah. Ghana 

        15 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Star1 

        15 months ago

        Song Hye Kyo awesome

      • Sulatri profile image

        Sulatri 

        15 months ago

        Kim Soo Hyun always number 1

      • profile image

        BLESSIE_LESSIE 

        15 months ago

        I LOVE YOU KIM SO HYUN

      • profile image

        Su Thiri San 

        15 months ago

        I love lee jong suk

      • profile image

        Zzainab Saludo 

        17 months ago

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

      • profile image

        lenpwalls 

        17 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 

        18 months ago

        how about eun tae hee?

      • profile image

        Koolkat 

        18 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Unknow 

        18 months ago

        Where is Jo Jung Suk???

      • profile image

        kinye 

        18 months ago

        Where is chumong?!!

        The list is not complete without him...

      • profile image

        chunu 

        18 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Sim Chung 

        18 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 

        18 months ago

        Park shin hye fighting!

      • profile image

        J.D. 

        18 months ago

        Gong Yoo isn't even here...

      • profile image

        Gissy 

        19 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 

        19 months ago

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

      • profile image

        My oppa 

        19 months ago

        where's kim woo bin?

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