Before and at their peak in showbiz, the pair have shared an endearing 20 years of friendship.
It may not come as apparent but the friendship between Gong Hyo Jin and Shin Min Ah is among the closest bonds the industry has ever witnessed. They keep the relationship so quiet it would hardly be noticeable without clear mentioning of each other.
Gong Hyo Jin is 42 years old this year, while Shin Min Ah is 38 years old, in international age. They are walking down their own separate paths but, nevertheless, achieved paralleled successes in the industry. Their first movie as co-stars was in 2008 “Sisters On The Road” but their sisterhood dated even before that.
Speaking of the relationship, Gong Hyo Jin shared: “When I was young, I thought relationships were easy to have. However, I grew to treasure the long-term friendship as time passed by. It feels like yesterday to see Shin Min Ah in uniform and talking until our voice turned raspy. Above all, it is fortunate that both Min Ah and I are doing well without having experienced any unfortunate incidents. I feel like we have stuck together pretty well”.
In personal life, the two actresses have known each other for the longest time, when Gong Hyo Jin was a high-school student and Shin Min Ah an 8-grader. Talking of her younger sister and best friend, Hyo Jin proudly said: “Min Ah is more poised and mature for her age so it feels as if we were peers”.
After getting into showbiz, Gong Hyo Jin and Shin Min Ah collaborated for the first time in Min Ah’s first ever movie “Volcano High” in 2001. 7 years after they reunited for “Sisters On The Road”. From that point onwards, their career took on different paths and have not had any other collaborations since.
While the two actresses in real life had a close relationship, their roles in “Sisters On The Road” were ironically two sisters who could not stand each other, creating an awkward situation for the pair to be in. Looking back to that time, Hyo Jin jokingly shared that: “I am happy to play a sister to Min Ah in the movie. However, our given roles were the siblings who did not like each other, which worried me. [I asked myself if] I should pretend to not be close on set to enhance the movie’s authenticity?”.
Shin Min Ah was, on the contrary, excited about the experience: “It was wonderful that we were able to film together. At that time, it was rare to have female characters to lead in a movie by a female director”.
Gong Hyo Jin also disclosed she also went to the cinema to make sure that viewers did not miss out on her younger sister’s acting performance.
She added that despite their different personalities, the pair never had any problems with each other. Moreover, their birthdays are only one day apart. Shin Min Ah is keen on watching the films they co-starred in, and even more fond of them working together in another work.
After two long decades of friendship in and out of the industry, both actresses have had satisfying careers and even more joyful relationships. Gong Hyo Jin is getting married in October with Korean-American singer Kevin Oh in an intimate ceremony while Woo Bin made excellent recovery from his battle with cancer and is up and acting again.
Any friendship is precious on their own, and even more so after many ups and downs. Gong Hyo Jin and Shin Min Ah have stood by each other for a long time and will continue to be in each other’s life for an even longer time. Let’s look forward to this sisterly bond in their next milestones in life and their potentially future collaborations.