Seo Ye-ji and Kim Jung-Hyun: What You Need to Know About the K-Drama Scandal of the Week
Earlier this week, it emerged that Seo Ye-ji, who played an author with antisocial personality disorder in K-drama hit It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, may actually have some issues in real life.
Leaked text messages from 2018 revealed that she and Crash Landing On You star Kim Jung-hyun were in a relationship while he was working on Korean drama Time, and that she appeared to be a control freak. The two met while starring in 2018 romance Stay With Me.
More shockingly, she seemed to be the reason for his bad behaviour on the set of Time, which led to his co-star on the show, Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, breaking into tears multiple times, and to him eventually dropping out of the drama, with the show rewritten to accommodate his character naturally falling out of the story. He was also much criticised back in 2018 for being stone-faced and reticent at the press conference for the drama.
Now that these text messages have surfaced, it may shed some light on his behaviour. Seo was apparently an ultra-controlling girlfriend who instructed Kim to avoid all skinship while working on the show, which was problematic since the show was a romance drama. He was told to “refrain from all physical contact” and to “do everything without passion.” He had to report his actions to her, called himself “Stiff Kim” in the messages, and avoid greeting people unnecessarily, especially female staff. She told him that he can only touch her hand. Perhaps worst of all, at least professionally, she told him to adjust the script so it wouldn’t have any romantic scenes or physical contact.
This led to difficulty for the writers and those on set, and particularly Kim’s co-star Seohyun, who reportedly cried a lot, thanks to his rude behaviour. He eventually cited health reasons for dropping out of the show.
In the wake of these allegations, both Kim and Seo’s reputations have taken a hit. Seo, who is up for a Best Actress award for her breakout role in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay at the prestigious upcoming Baeksang Awards, has been dropped from several of her endorsements, and was absent from her press conference for upcoming film Recalled, slated to open in Korea next week. In a big blow to her career, she has also been dropped from the K-drama Island.
More bullying allegations have been levelled against the 31-year-old, including how she treats her staff badly, by doing things like yelling at them over small matters, blowing cigarette smoke into their faces and checking their phones to make sure they didn’t record her bad behaviour. They were also not allowed to eat when she didn’t eat. She has also been accused of bullying behaviour in school.
And now, it’s just been revealed that another actor may have been the victim of her actions. Pop group TVXQ’s Yunho, who worked with her in 2014 drama Diary of a Night Watchman, was said by a staff member to have started behaving strangely after working with Seo. As the drama progressed, he became more withdrawn and unfriendly, telling crew in the make-up and costume department not to touch him. Did Seo tell him not to interact with crew members? Also, did her toxic behaviour affect Kim Soo-hyun, K-drama’s highest-paid actor, and her other co-stars in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay?
Meanwhile, over on Kim Jung-hyun’s side, the 31-year-old actor has made an apology about his attitude on the set of Time, via a handwritten letter on social media. In it, the actor, who further rose to fame following his turn in this year’s K-drama hit Mr Queen, didn’t put the blame on Seo. Instead, he cited personal issues and apologised to Seohyun and all other related personnel, saying that he has “no excuses” and “so much regret”, and “I bow my head in apology to everyone I caused discomfort to.” He is said to be suffering from mental health issues and depression.
It doesn’t help that Kim is currently in a dispute with his agency, O& Entertainment, as it appeared he might be transferring to another agency, Culture Depot, which is the agency of his rumoured current lady love, Seo Ji-hye, his co-star in Crash Landing on You.
Are Kim Jung-hyun and Seo Ji-hye really dating? Will Kim Jung-hyun be cancelled? Is Seo Ye-ji’s promising career over? Is she really as scary and manipulative as she’s made out to be? Will she win that Baeksang award?
One thing’s for sure, it’s not okay to be okay with being a bully.