Cover Photo: Blackpink/Facebook

These Korean celebrities work hard in the entertainment industry despite coming from privileged backgrounds

Born into affluent or powerful families, these K-drama actors and K-pop stars could have led cushy lives of luxury, but instead opted to pursue often tough and punishing careers in showbiz. 

Whether their privileged backgrounds aided their quests for fame and success is up for discussion, but these crazy rich Asians have worked crazy hard to be here, so let’s applaud their tenacity… and maybe hate them just a little bit for having it all.

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Kim Tae-hee

This 41-year-old beauty’s status as a genius property mogul and her eye-popping combined wealth with husband Rain have been well-documented, and it turns out she was born into a rich family. The Hi Bye, Mama actress’ father is the chairman of Hankook Union Transportation Company, which has an annual turnover that reportedly exceeds 15 billion Korean won (US$12.9 million).

See also: 5 Rich Korean Celebrity Power Couples in 2021

Choi Siwon

One of the most well-known chaebols (the offspring of large South Korean business conglomerate families) in K-entertainment and one of the OG K-pop superstars, the 35-year-old Super Junior member and actor was born into the lap of luxury. His dad is reportedly the former CEO of Boryung Medicine, a well-known pharmaceutical company in Korea, and his mum owns fashion brands. His family also apparently owns Hyundai Department Store and various other businesses. Super Junior members have said that Siwon could buy MBC (one of Korea’s top TV and radio networks) if he wanted to. Now that’s wealth.

These days, after making his millions as a member of one of Korea’s most successful boy bands of all time, acting in K-dramas such as She Was Pretty and Revolutionary Love, and endorsing countless products, Siwon is determined to parlay his fame and fortune into helping others. He’s been committed to children’s issues with his role as Special Representative for Unicef Korea, and became Unicef East Asia and Pacific’s Regional Ambassador in 2019.

Park Hyung-sik

Famed for his roles in popular K-dramas Strong Girl Bong-soon, Hwarang and Suits, and as a member of boy band Ze:a, this 29-year-old actor and singer is also a rich kid. His father is apparently a board member of BMW Korea. Hmm... we wonder what car Park Hyung-sik drives.

Jung Hae-in

This boyish 33-year-old has a string of K-drama hits—such as While You Were Sleeping, Something in the Rain, Prison Playbook and the upcoming Snowdrop with Blackpink’s Jisoo—under his belt. And his lineage is as impressive. He’s the great-grandson of Jeong Yakyong, a prominent figure and great thinker of the later Joseon era, and his parents reportedly own a hospital.

Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung

Last seen in Netflix’s heartwarming 2021 K-drama hit Move to Heaven, Sooyoung, 31, is well-loved for being in one of K-pop’s most popular girl groups, Girls’ Generation. The singer and actress isn’t just pop royalty, she also hails from a prestigious family—her grandfather is the CEO of a famous architecture firm in Korea and was contracted to build the famed Seoul Arts Center, while her father is the chairman of a production and construction company. Her family apparently owns many luxurious villas in the affluent neighbourhood of Cheongdam-dong in Seoul.

See also: 5 Reasons ‘Move To Heaven’ Is a Show for Non-Korean Drama Fans

Yook Sung-jae

The K-pop star of boyband BtoB and actor in hit dramas like Guardian: The Lonely and Great God and Mystic Pop-up Bar revealed that his father is the CEO of a semiconductor company, which has a turnaround of multi-millions. The 26-year-old, who made his debut as a solo singer last year, also has a grandma who owns a large fishing farm.

Lee Yi-kyung

The Welcome To Waikiki actor (who also had memorable cameos in Descendents of the Sun and Hotel del Luna) is the son of the CEO of LG Innotek. Despite probably growing up ridiculously rich, the 32-year-old lived in a rooftop apartment after dropping out of high school and worked part-time jobs in a DVD and comic book shop to cover his living expenses.

2PM’s Nichkhun

The 33-year-old Thai-American is one of the original rich kids of K-pop, and debuted in 2008 with boy band 2PM. Born in the US and raised in Thailand, he attended prestigious schools in Thailand, New Zealand and the US, before being scouted for fame and (more) fortune. His mother is the CEO of Union Medical in Thailand, a leading pharmaceutical distributor, and he’s nicknamed Thai Prince in Korea, both for his family wealth and his princely good looks.

Twice’s Tzuyu

This 22-year-old K-pop princess was born to self-made entrepreneurs in Taiwan. Her parents made their fortune in Tainan’s night markets, and later invested in hospitals. Her mother is apparently a major shareholder of a hospital in Taiwan, and heads several large plastic surgery clinics and cafes.

Twice’s Mina

This American-born Japanese singer and dancer, 24, trained as a ballerina before debuting with K-pop girl group Twice in 2015. Her father is a famous orthopedic surgeon and professor in Japan, and she attended one of the top private schools in Osaka, Obayashi Sacred Heart.

Blackpink’s Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rosé

Apparently, all four members of Blackpink have affluent backgrounds.

Jennie, 25, was born in the Cheongdam-dong area of Gangnam-gu, a rich neighbourhood, and studied in New Zealand. Rumours are that her mum is an influential figure in the Korean entertainment business and her dad owns a hospital.

Jisoo’s father is apparently the CEO of a large entertainment company and there are speculations that he has royal lineage, from the royal family of the Silla period. Jisoo, 26, attended the School of Performing Arts in Seoul, which charges up to US$10,000 in tuition fees per year.

Blackpink rapper Lisa, 24, was born in Thailand, and rumours are that her mother is from a Thai noble family. What’s true is that her stepfather is Marco Brüschweiler, a renowned Swiss chef who’s based in Thailand, and who owns a culinary school.

Rosé, 24, was born in New Zealand into a family of lawyers. She grew up and studied in Australia, and apparently at one point studied law at an Australian school with sky-high tuition fees. Law’s loss is K-pop’s (and Blackpink fans’) gain. 

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