With the South Korean entertainment industry being very conservative, many idols and celebrities have taken their own lives due to never-ending mounting pressure regarding false accusations, maintaining a perfect image, and keeping up with hectic schedules. In South Korea, idols and celebrities are bound to maintain a perfect image, and even the slightest dent in their image due to misjudgement can jeopardize their career. Here are 10 Korean celebrities who took their own lives, proving that celebrity status, which is considered all that glittery, is not gold at all.
10. Jo Min Ki
Jo Min Ki was a South Korean who was best known for his appearances in movies and dramas like Love and Ambition and Moon lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. He was found dead on 9 March 2018 in the basement of his apartment. It was reported that he hanged himself after being accused of sexual misconduct and harassment with students of the university where he taught.
9. Lee Hye Ryeon
Lee Hye Ryeon, known by her stage name "U; Nee," was a South Korean rapper, singer, dancer, and actress. At age 25, on January 2007, she committed suicide by hanging herself, and her dead body was found at her home in Incheon. It was reported that she was suffering from depression. Rumours spread that she was stressed due to fewer sales of her albums and the constant criticism she received regarding her image as an idol.
8. Kang Doo Ri
Kang Doo Ri was a South Korean actress and a broadcasting jockey on AfreecaTV. When she died on 14 December 2015, it was announced that she died in a car accident but later on, due to further investigations, it was found that she committed suicide. It was later revealed that she also messaged her friend talking about taking her life.
7. Go Hara
Go Hara, famously known as Hara, was a South Korean singer and actress who was a part of a girl group called KARA. After KARA disbanded in 2015, Hara continued to do her solo activities. She was found dead on 24 December 2019 in her apartment after receiving constant threats and blackmails from her ex-boyfriend that he is going to publicly release her intimate moments with him, which he recorded without her consent. Reports regarding this blackmail of Hara's footage damaged her reputation as an idol. She was subjected to harsh comments on social media, which eventually led to her suicide.
6. Park Yong Ha
Park Yong Ha was a South Korean actor who was recruited at the age of seventeen due to his exceptional talent in music and acting. He appeared in various dramas and films. His fame reached heights when he appeared in the 2002 TV drama "Winter Sonata." On 30 June 2010, he was found hanging in his room due to the immense pressure he was facing from his own entertainment company and his upcoming schedules while he was coping with his father's illness. However, he told some of his acquaintances that celebrity life is difficult.
5. Woo Seung Yeon
Woo Seung Yeon was a South Korean model and actress who starred in minor roles in the films Private Eye and the Herb. She started her career as a model in 2007. On 28 April 2009, Yeon was found hanging in her apartment in Jamsil-Dong. It was later revealed that she committed suicide as she was suffering from depression and was undergoing treatment due to constant rejections she was facing from talent agencies.
4. Choi Jin Young
Choi Jin Young was a South Korean actor and singer who starred in numerous dramas and movies, including the hit TV show in the 90s, "Our paradise," which skyrocketed his popularity. After his military service, he also branched off into a singer and released a few albums. Choi's sister dying from suicide in 2008 greatly impacted his mental health. He cancelled all his activities for a year. When he finally signed a new contract under MCloud entertainment, he felt so pressured and frustrated by his upcoming comeback and not being cast in TV series that he took his life on 29 March, 2010, in the attic of his apartment.
3. Choi Jin Ri
Choi Jin Ri, famously known by her stage name, Sulli, was a South Korean singer, songwriter, actress and model. Her popularity grew immensely as a member of f(x), a South Korean girl group under SM entertainment. On 14 October 2019, she was found dead at her residence. No suicide note was found. She was reportedly subjected to countless harsh and homophobic remarks and trolls from the public due to her going out in public without a bra. These critical comments from the public eventually affected her mental health, causing her to take her own life.
2. Kim Jong Hyun
Kim Jong Hyun, popular as Jonghyun, was a renowned singer-songwriter and a part of the 5-member boy group "SHINEE" under SM entertainment. On 18 December 2017, Jonghyun was found unconscious in a private hotel in Seoul. A few moments later, after being rushed to the hospital, he was declared dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning. On his suicide note, he stated that he was broken from the inside and this celebrity life has been slowly consuming him. The letter also included his amplifying feelings of isolation and depression while being a celebrity.
1. Lee Eun Joo
Lee Eun Joo was a South Korean Actress who gained nationwide popularity through her widely acclaimed films in which she acted in "Taegukgki" and "The Scarlett Letter. "She was found dead in her apartment in Bundang, Seongnam, after she hung herself and left a suicide note which wrote, "Mom, I am sorry, and I love you."Joo's family stated that she suffered from depression because of the bold scenes she had to perform onscreen. Joo's manager, on the other hand, declined these accusations.