It is not easy being in the limelight as your life is constantly being scrutinised by the media and the public. Celebrities have to maintain a squeaky clean image in order to stay in good books with their fans. Any sign of wrongdoing could result in a backlash. Some of the pressure is so overwhelming that celebrities decide to end their lives as the last resort. Here are some of the Korean stars who committed suicide over the years.
- Daul Kim
At the height of her career, Korean supermodel Daul Kim was a familiar face on the catwalks of Europe. She modelled for Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane. Besides the catwalk, she was also featured in several magazines such as British Vogue, i-D as well as Dazed & Confused. At the age of 20, the supermodel decided to end her own life and she hanged herself in her Paris apartment in November 2009.
It is said that the supermodel went through loneliness, insomnia and depression as well as suffering from the pressure of the fashion industry.
2. Kim Jonghyun
Kim Jonghyun from the Korean boy group Shinee was a South Korean singer-songwriter and among one of the multi-talented stars, record producer, radio host and author. As the lead vocalist of Shinee, he was active in the group for nine years. Jonghyun began his career at the tender age of 15 when he was scouted by SM Entertainment. Throughout his musical career, he was responsible for the successful release of several albums as well as sold-out concerts.
However, not all is rosy for the troubled star. On December 2017, Jonghyun rented an apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul for two days. He ended his life with carbon monoxide poisoning. Jonghyun was believed to have suffered from depression.
Actress and singer Sulli was a former member of the group f(x). At the age of 25, she committed suicide and was found dead by her manager at home. Sulli started her career as a child actress, starring as a supporting cast member on Ballad of Seodong. She then appeared in Love Needs a Miracle, Drama City and Vacation as well as other roles. Sulli joined f(x) in 2009 after signing a record deal with SM Entertainment. As a group, f(x) produced four Korean number-one singles and they were the first K-pop group to perform at SXSW.
The star was said to have suffered from depression caused by cyberbullying. It was reported that Sulli had asked SM Entertainment to take action against the malicious comments and cyberbullying.
4. Goo Hara
Known as one of Sulli’s friends, Goo Hara was a South Korean singer and actress. Hara was part of girl group Kara and has starred in TV dramas such as City Hunter. The star continued her solo career with KeyEast after Kara disbanded in 2016. In 2018 she was involved in a legal case with former boyfriend Choi Jong-Bum who assaulted Hara and threatened to release their sex video. On November 24, 2019, Goo Hara ended her life.
5. Yoo Joo Eun
On August 29, 2022, Korean actress Yoo Joo Eun allegedly committed suicide at the age of 27. It was reported by Korean media that it is a probable suicide with a suspicion of foul play. Yoo’s elder brother announced her death on Instagram. The star left a farewell letter to her brother where she said sorry and showed her appreciation to him for being supportive of her. In the letter, she said that she could not continue living and that she was not sad at all but felt ‘resolute and calm’.
“I always wanted to do acting,” she wrote.
“Maybe it was everything to me or just a small part of me. But it turned out that pursuing a career was very difficult.
“I didn’t want to do anything else and it was excruciating. I realised having a dream is a blessing and a curse at the same time.”
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