In case you've been a) living under a rock, or b) oblivious to the K-drama/K-pop world because you have no idea what "K-drama" or "K-pop" means, here's a nice look into one of the most public divorce/love triangles in the history of Korean entertainment.
I exaggerate (a bit), but it is honestly very interesting to see something that I would call almost common in Hollywood happen in Korea.
Lee Ji Ah
is one of those actresses who could easily fly under the radar - but hasn't. She's starred in big-budget dramas and taken on high profile roles since her debut in Bae Yong Joon
's The Legend
- which is no small drama (45 billion Won budget; a production that lasted over a year and a half; #1 ratings that averaged almost 30% every week). Her costars have ranged from Kim Myung Min
), Cha Seung Won
and Jung Woo Sung
), to Kang Ji Hwan
(The Relation of Face, Mind, and Love
). She has the acting range and face of a doll, but manages to do very well for herself. (Woops - perhaps I shouldn't put it that way?)
on the other hand is big. I mean, really big. I have never listened to his music before, but a little of Youtube-ing made me see why this rock singer/songwriter is so great. So you have the big named star and the little fish in the sea - can someone make a Korean drama out of this already?!
The story goes: they met through a mutual friend in the States. Back then, Lee Ji Ah was known as Kim Sung Eun, and she had moved to the States after middle school. They married in 1997, and it was around that time that Seo had gone into temporary retirement and moved to the States. They were married for nine years and filed for divorce in 2006 - at least, that's what Seo Taiji claims. (Lee Ji Ah states that they divorced in 2009.) Rumors swirled that they had kids, but that rumor has been effectively buried and laid to rest.
They managed to keep the marriage under wraps for 14 years. (That's longer than most Hollywood marriages!) The news broke out on April 21 when a court date between the two was leaked out. Apparently, Lee Ji Ah is filing suit against Seo Taiji for his money - 500 million Won (approximately $460,000 USD) in alimony, and 5 billion Won in assets (approximately $4.6 million USD). In comparison to what she's asking for, Seo is worth approximately $30-40 million USD. Lee Ji Ah can only file suit against Seo Taiji if their divorce was less than three years ago, so that is why she claims they divorced in 2009. By filing a lawsuit in 2011, she is well within the time limit.
Of course, Jung Woo Sung, Lee's costar in Athena and her current boyfriend, is in the middle of all this. Poor guy must have been hit by quite a maelstrom. He never knew of Lee Ji Ah's past, and found out the same way and the same day everyone else did. He had initially announced that he would break up with Lee if she were still married (as some early reports stated that they were still married), but she had apparently called and apologized, and he claimed to still be in love with her. That's also amidst reports that he's been drinking his way out of this temporary depression.
Now on to the juicy tidbits:
- Seo Taiji's former manager and Bae Yong Joon's manager are brothers - which provides a link as to how Lee Ji Ah could possibly have met Bae Yong Joon, and then subsequently cast for his drama. She's also currently a star under Bae's label, KEYEAST.
- Lee Ji Ah was spotted at a Seo Taiji concert back in 2009, and even professed to be a fan. Wow - talk about discretion.
- None of her managers or KEYEAST knew about her and Seo's relationship, and their official statement can be read here.
- They reportedly have a house in Beverly Hills.
- Lee Ji Ah's dress from an MBC Drama Awards show has sparked lots of rumors, as it is artfully designed with writing on the back that says "Lee Ji A's Toes," but could also spell backwards as "Seo Tai Ji" (in Korean).
Now let's not all hate on her - I had admired her after seeing her acting in Athena
versus The Relation of Face, Mind, and Love
. She was stoic in one, playful in the other. But then again - I think her true home is romantic comedy; in Athena
, she was almost mind-numbingly boring. This scandal does little to improve my perception of her. But I also can't believe how big this scandal has gotten. Netizens are now searching through the web to find any and every dirt, every clue they can find about Lee Ji Ah's past and their relationship.
I have to admit, it sucks that she's getting the brunt of the criticism, but I can understand why she is under greater scrutiny. She is
the one who appeared out of nowhere, and therefore is more like a "stranger" compared to the well-established Seo Taiji. Perhaps because he was in the public eye for much longer, he has the "public's trust" - whatever that means. Jung Woo Sung - I pity him for being caught up in a mess that he could never have foreseen. (It's ok, oppa
, you can do better! Hwaiting
!) As for Seo, well, his album sales are climbing up the charts (perhaps fans are purchasing his albums to find out more clues that could have hinted at their relationship!?).
I personally think it'd be best if Seo just pays up, or Lee drops the lawsuit. She clearly can make her own money, and Seo is rich enough to pay up. After that, they should disappear into the mountains or to another country for a few months, just at least until the chaos dies down. And then - Seo can release a comeback album, and Lee can star in a comeback drama opposite Jang Dong Gun
! (Oh my God - I kid
- I actually hope that doesn't happen.)
Either way, there seriously needs to be a drama made about this. If a drama could be made about notorious liar/university professor Shin Jeong Ah (cough*Ripley*cough), then certainly a drama could be made about star-crossed lovers who get entangled in the nasty web of divorce and secret marriages.
sources: Star News
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