Apink’s Son Na-eun and EXO’s Lay to pursue their solo paths

Apink’s Son Na-eun will leave the team while EXO’s Lay ended his contract with SM. While Son Na-eun announced her withdrawal ahead of Apink’s 11th anniversary, Lay announced his right on EXO’s 10th anniversary.


Lay announced his leaving SM Ent through his social media on April 8th. In a handwritten letter, he said, “Thank you for the 10 year growth, everyone. Thank you for supporting EXO members. I’d like to thank the SM staff for watching us grow. I sincerely thank EXO-L fans for their generous love and support.”

Lay said, “I think it’s time I left SM as an employee. I think it’s time for a fresh start at the age of 30. I’ll always be with the members. I’ll always be with you as Lay,” he added. Also, “Zhang Yixing will be like a family member of yours living in China. Everyone, I love you forever! Please keep loving EXO.”

Lay’s Handwritten Letter / Photo = Lay’s Twitter

EXO debuted with 2 units, EXO-K and EXO-M, releasing their first mini album “MAMA” in 2012. Lay was a member of EXO-M and worked in both Korea and China. After Chinese members Chris and Luhan in 2014 and Tao in 2015 filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment and withdrew from the team, Lay was left as the only Chinese member of the group. Since 2017, he has focused on his personal activities in China.

Son Naeun

On the same day, Son Na-eun also announced her withdrawal of Apink through her social media. Son Na-eun said, “Apink is like a family that has been together for a long time, so I made a hard decision after a lot of consideration, and it was not an easy decision, but now I’m going to become another Panda (the name of Apink’s fan club) and support Apink.”

Son Na-eun explained, “I think it’s a way for me to live up to the name Apink’s Son Na-eun by keeping the name in my heart and showing a better self so that I don’t feel ashamed of it.” Apink‘s agency IST Entertainment said, “Apink will continue its group activities by reorganizing its team into a five member group with Park Cho-rong, Yoon Bo-mi, Jung Eun-ji, Kim Nam-joo, and Oh Ha-young, starting with the 11th anniversary fan song releasing schedule on April 19. Son Na-eun is wrapping up her group activities and they will support each other on their own paths.”

Son Naeun
Son Na-eun’s handwritten letter / Photo = Son Na-eun’s Instagram

“Since Apink’s special album in February, we have been discussing the future direction with the members. All six members and officials of both companies met to share their opinions on the group’s overall activities. After careful consideration, we made this decision. We respect the opinions of the members who chose to be considerate.”

Son Naeun

Son Na-eun made her debut in the music industry as a member of Apink with “I Don’t Know” in 2011. Apink then released hit songs such as “Mr. Chu,” “No No No,” “Dumhdurum” and “I’m So Sick.” Son Na-eun began her acting career in 2012 and recently appeared in the drama “Ghost Doctor.”

Son Na-eun and Lay left Apink and SM and declared their future solo careers. Of course, Son Na-eun signed an exclusive contract with YG Entertainment last year and has been focusing on acting. Although she participated in Apink‘s 10th anniversary album, she did not take part in the group’s promotional activities. Meanwhile, Lay has been active by establishing his own agency in China, Zhang Yi-xing’s Workshop.

What Son Na-eun and Lay have in common is that they shine better while working solo. While Son Na-eun told her about her withdrawal in advance of Apink’s 11th anniversary, Lay announced it on the 10th anniversary. Many expressed regret over the two’s departure from their groups. Fans are focusing their attention on what the two have in plan for the future.

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