The different fates of child stars: from proud achievements to great downfalls as an adult
Child actors and actresses gained the love of people from an early age. However, not all of them are able to maintain a good reputation.
To the public, child actors and actresses are dear, seeing that they witness these stars” full progress, from childhood to becoming an adult. Even without knowing these stars personally, the public feel close to them and give them titles such as “nation’s little sister” and “nation’s little brother”. They also feel proud to see a child actor or actress grow up properly, but disappointment is warranted in contrary cases.
Child stars who make the public proud with Improved acting skills and personalities
There are many male actors such as Yoo Seung Ho and Yeo Jin Goo who have grown up well, but these days, actresses who started their careers young are greatly standing out. Among them, Park Eun Bin is a prime example.
Park Eun Bin, who debuted as a child actress in 1996, has been steadily appearing in acting projects. Her acting ability was recognized early on, but recently she is also showing amazing commercial results. Starting with SBS’ “Hot Stove League” and “Do You Like Brahms?” in 2020, each of the actress’ work, from KBS’ “The King’s Affection” to ENA’s “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, has been reaping great success.
In particular, with her role of Woo Young Woo, a lawyer with a genius brain and autism spectrum, in “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, Park Eun Bin became a sensation last year and received the hottest spotlight in her 26-year acting career. To embody Woo Young Woo, as realistically as possible, Park Eun Bin changed her tone of voice, finger movements, and even her eyes. Such a monster-like acting ability, which boasts immense versatility without showing any mistakes, is simply astonishing.
Meanwhile, it’s impossible to deny the solid acting skills of Lee Se Young, who debuted in 1997 and has 25 years of acting experience. In particular, the actress has always did a great job in her different works, going from the lovable Min Hye Won in “The Gentlemen of Wolgyesu Tailor Shop”, the delicate and emotional Kang Shi Young in “Doctor John”, to the struggling Han Ae Ri in “Kairos”. Moreover, with the success of tvN’s “The Crowned Clown” in 2019 and MBC’s “The Red Sleeve” in 2021, Lee Se Young was able to establish her reputation as a “historical drama queen.”
Next, Kim Yoo Jung, who was born in 1999 and 7 years younger than Park Eun Bin and Lee Se Young, debuted as a child actress in 2003. Kim Yoo Jung’s filmography in her childhood is very glamorous, with notable mentions being “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance”, “All for Love”, “Hwang Jin Yi”, “The Chaser”, “Tidal Wave”, etc. when it comes to movies. In addition, the actress also played active roles as a child in various dramas such as “Iljimae”, “Queen Seondeok”, “Dong Yi”, “Moon Embracing the Sun”, and so on. In her “Moon Embracing the Sun”, her chemistry with fellow child actor Yeo Jin Goo received great support from viewers, and her collaboration with Park Bo Gum at the end of her teens in “Love in the Moonlight” also became a hot topic.
Kim Yoo Jung, who has become an adult, is now proving herself as an actress who has problems playing leading roles. In particular, she garnered attention for her acting skills and beauty in “Clean with Passion for Now”, “Backstreet Rookie”, and “Lovers of the Red Sky”. Currently, the actress is meeting audiences through the play “Shakespeare in Love”, in which she assumes a leading part.
Park Eun Bin, Lee Se Young, and Kim Yoo Jung have shown their gradual progress, without getting caught up in incidents or controversies during their long acting career of more than 20 years. The proper growth of them, who have always been sincere in their work and put their best effort into acting, deserves great acclaim.
Child stars who collapsed because of their own faults and caused disappointment
However, unlike these successful child actresses, there are also people who disappointed the public with recent unsavory incidents.
Kim Sae Ron appeared in various movies and dramas after leaving a strong impression as So Mi, who Cha Tae Sik (Won Bin) risked his life to protect, in the movie “The Man from Nowhere” (2010). It was shocking to hear that Kim Sae Ron, who was trying to take off her cute child actress image and become an adult actress, caused a car accident due to drunk driving.
In May last year, Kim Sae Ron drove under the influence in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. She crashed into several structures including transformers, guard rails and street trees. In the accident, the transformer broke down, and the electricity supply was cut off for about 3 hours at 57 places including nearby shops, causing damage to merchants. Kim Sae Ron’s blood alcohol concentration was confirmed to be 0.2%, which exceeded the license revocation level (0.08%).
In the aftermath of this drunk driving, Kim Sae Ron dropped out of all the works she was scheduled to appear in and went into self-reflection. Kim Sae Ron apologized, “I am disappointed and very ashamed of the mistakes I have made. I will deeply reflect on myself so that something like this does not happen again. I’m sorry.”
It was also reported that Kim Sae Ron, whose life became difficult after spending a large amount of money to compensate for the damage caused by the drunk driving accident, worked part-time at a cafe for a while. However, Kim Sae Ron herself destroyed the atmosphere that seemed to form sympathy. Kim Sae Ron had a birthday party with her acquaintances during her self-reflection. The birthday card she made herself said, “To bring: Yourself and alcohol.” The situation in which Kim Sae Ron had a drinking party with her friends a month after her drunk driving case was sent to the prosecution once again damaged her sincerity.
Kim Ji Young, a child actress who was greatly loved for her role as Bi Dan in “Jang Bo-ri Is Here!”, was born in 2005 and is still a minor. However, she has recently been under fire due to debt controversy.
Teen rapper Achillo claimed to be Kim Ji Young’s ex-boyfriend and tagged Kim Ji Young’s account in a post on his personal SNS account last month. Revealing that Kim Ji Young disappeared without paying back the money, Achillo said, “I wasn’t going to reveal this but I decided to make this post after thinking carefully for 6 months”.
Achillo continued to make shocking revelations, saying “My mom and dad borrowed money and rented a room for Ji Young. Of course, my parents paid the monthly rent”, adding “One day, she went out of the house and disappeared. She said she was dating A and told me not to contact her. She boldly promised to pay me back everything related to money but I didn’t get a single call from her”. He added, “Due to this money issue, my dad is still working as a chauffeur driver and he sleeps only 4 hours a day. The same goes for my mother. I don’t want to see such a thoughtless person on TV”. Lee Sang Jae, who appeared on Mnet’s “High School Rapper 4”, also commented on the photo of the sea posted on Kim Ji Young’s SNS, saying “Did you enjoy the sea with my money? Pay me back”, raising netizens’ speculations that Kim Ji Young also owed him some debts.
Regarding the controversy over her debts, Kim Ji Young released a brief statement, saying “I sincerely apologize to everyone who has been disappointed and confused by this incident”, adding “I’m currently consulting with my parents and in the process of preparing to take action”. Although the actress did not explain whether the claims about her were true or not, the fact that she admitted to being involved in unsavory cases already damaged her image.
In the case of Kim Ji Young and Kim Sae Ron, they used to be child actresses who were loved by the public for their cute faces and outstanding acting skills. That’s why many people expressed disappointment when the two young actresses were embroiled in controversies over drunk driving and debts.
If you want child actors to grow up properly…
Like the saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, many adults have to gather their efforts to help educate a child to grow up as a nice person. In order to make a child become a good actor and a good person at the same time, adults must also prove themselves as good examples. Although the situation has improved a lot compared to the past, treatments for child actors, including protections of their personalities, rights to rest, and rights to receive education, etc., are still poor. It is the duty of adults to ensure that children are not hurt at a young age and their rights are properly guaranteed by law.
In addition, child actors, whose career path has been decided by their parents at such a young age, should be given the opportunity to pursue other dreams if they want even if it’s not “acting”. Many child actors have been acting since they were young, so they don’t know what other things they can do and sometimes, they can’t figure out what they actually like. In this way, these young actors may easily fall into temptations because they don’t know how diverse the world is because of their limited experiences and narrow relationships.
Park Eun Bin is famous as an actress who acted enthusiastically and enjoyed her school life at the same time. While appearing in various acting projects, she still studied hard and achieved top grades at school. When asked if she had ever tried to escape from work, the actress said, “I went to the karaoke alone”. With her good nature, she grew up well and went straight to success.