Dating and marriage: A heavy career risk to Korean celebrities?
It is a very common occurrence in Korea, that fans try to intervene in the marriage decisions of their favorite celebrities.
Recently, in Korean SNS platforms, news about the luxurious and dreamy wedding and marriage of Lee Seung Gi and Lee Da In has been constantly updated. In the wedding ceremony, both the bride and groom appeared beautifully and sparkling. They burst into tears with emotion, promising to love and take care of each other for the rest of their lives.
However, instead of showering the couple in well-wishes and admiration, fans show a strong opposition and even urge Lee Seung Gi to divorce quickly.
Lee Seung Gi and Lee Da In have been dating since 2020, and the couple receive support from both families. However, since they went public with their relationship, Lee Seung Gi’s fans show a strong opposition. According to these fans, Lee Da In comes from a notorious family, with her stepfather being sentenced to prison on charges of embezzlement and fraud. Meanwhile, her biological father was also investigated for obstructing business.
Lee Da In has been an actress for many years, but she has only taken on supporting roles with rarely notable performances. However, the actress, as well as her sister and mother, continuously flaunt their luxurious life on social media, despite their family’s scandal of benefiting from scamming thousands of others, thus enraging the public.
Meanwhile, Lee Seung Gi was considered the “golden boy” of the Korean showbiz. He has succeeded in various fields, ranging from music, acting, to hosting. Over many years of activity, he was even awarded the title of “national son-in-law”, and is known for his friendly nature, polite behavior, lack of scandal, and active charity work.
Fans believe that Lee Seung Gi is a kind-hearted, clean-cut, and perfect person, so they do not want his reputation to be ruined by his wife’s family. In fact, some of his fans even hired a truck with an LED screen to drive around his neighborhood with the messages, “If you don’t know, we will let you know” and “Are you ready to destroy your 17-year career? You need to take a decisive stance.”
However, despite strong opposition from the majority of the public, Lee Seung Gi still decided to marry Lee Da In. He even posted a heartfelt letter to explain his decision and ask public support.
Right after the wedding, Lee Seung Gi quickly returned to activities by holding a fan meeting tour across several Asian countries, for the first time in 10 years. However, the first performance, which was held in Seoul, South Korea, still had unsold tickets after weeks of sales, despite the small venue. This is highly unusual for a big name in the entertainment industry like Lee Seung Gi.
Previously, Lee Seung Gi had filled the Olympic Park Stadium with 15,000 seats. It seems that his fans’ opposition was immediately carried out with real actions, instead of just stopping at calls for boycotts online.
Lee Seung Gi is not the only case of artists facing opposition from fans after their marriage announcement. In fact, many Korean celebrities have faced plummeting reputation and careers after their wedding.
An example is iKON member Bobby, who unexpectedly announced the birth of his first child with his soon-to-be wife in 2021, when his group was still active. Fans immediately demanded the famous rapper to leave the group, not accepting a father to perform on stage.
Prior to Bobby, EXO Chen also shocked fans when announcing his marriage and the pregnancy of his upcoming wife. At the time, Chen became the center of criticism for hiding his dating story, as well as for having a child before marriage. Many fan communities of EXO were also determined to oppose the idol, and even held protests in front of SM Entertainment, demanding for Chen to leave the group
Similarly, when Sungmin of Super Junior announced his wedding date, which coincided with a performance schedule of his group, fans’ reactions were intense. From a beloved member of a popular boy group, the male idol became hated. Despite many years having passed, many fans of Super Junior still opposed Sungmin, demanding that he never appear in any group activities. To date, although Sungmin hasn’t officially departed from Super Junior, he is still absent from promotions.
It can be said that for Korean artists, dating or marriage is a decisive factor for their career “survival”. In an era of social media and communication channels, audiences have even greater power to express their opposition in various ways, such as sharing articles, videos, creating forums to call for boycotts, or stopping purchasing products and using services of related brands and organizations.
In fact, today’s artists are greatly influenced by contracts with companies and brands, having to pay a hefty amount in compensation should any personal disputes arise.
As such, artists in harsh markets like Korea, China, or Japan, often have only two options: either to break up with their loved ones to continue their career, or to give up their fame.
Although some Korean showbiz couples are enthusiastically supported by the domestic public, very few of them afterwards maintain their appeal to the audience and have explosive artistic activities again. The Korean entertainment industry has inadvertently created artists who not only need to have a dazzling appearance, but also need to have a “pure life”, with no romantic affiliations.
Moreover, fans who spend great amounts of time and money to support their favorite celebrities, often feel that they have contributed to the glory that the stars have. Hence, they demand gratitude and the absolute focus of idols on their career, to the point of feeling betrayed when artists have a personal life.
However, most of these fans fail to accept that artists are also human, and fail to respect the artists’ personal lives. It’s not that the fans’ opinions are invalid, but it’s the artists who ultimately understand their own emotions and desires in life.
It’s time for fans to have a broader view of artists’ dating and marriage and instead focus on enjoying the works they bring.