Depression has never been a joke and as much as Korean pop stars may seem to have it all, what people don’t realise is that many of them suffer from mental illness due to their ridiculously hectic and micro-managed lifestyles, not to mention the constant criticism & hate they receive from the Internet!
Here are 7 Korean pop celebrities who’ve faced it all and unfortunately, took their own lives due to the pressure.
Note: This is a reminder to every one that anyone, even celebrities can get affected over internet comments. So, always remember to think twice before you decide to say something nasty about someone.
1. Lee Hye-Ryeon aka U;Nee
U;Nee was a singer, rapper, actress and dancer who made it big in the K-pop scene back in 2003 with her first single, Go. According to Sick Chirpse, U;Nee was a very soft spoken woman and didn’t take well to criticisms. Friends told police she had been suffering from depression, but had hid it from her family.
Though she didn’t leave a last note, she wrote on her website sometime before her death:
“I feel everything is empty. I am again walking down a path to reach a destination that I don’t know.”
In 2007, the online attacks apparently had gotten to her as she hung herself in her home in Seo-gu.
She was age 25 at the time.
2. Lee Seo-hyun
Source: Sook Yeong
The lead singer of vocal pop group, M.Street, was one of those heavily effected by the financial collapse in South Korea back in 2008. He had not only invested his own money, but large amounts of money he had received from friends and his seniors in stocks, but had lost it all due to the crisis.
According to Drama Beans, he was overwhelmed with the stress of retrieving what he had owed and attempted to rectify the matter up until the day he had decided to kill himself. He had hung himself in a recording studio.
He was age 30 at the time.
3. Park Yong-ha
The breakout star of TV drama series, Winter Sonata, Park Yong-ha then went on to releasing albums as a singer. Though he had no history with depression, he was reported to have been under a lot of pressure as he tried to manage his entertainment company and career while he cared for his father who has terminally ill due to cancer.
According to BBC, he had spent his last few moments with his father, apologising to him for ‘being sick’ before his mother had discovered him hanging by an electrical cord.
He was age 32 at the time.
4. Ahn So Jin
Ahn So Jin never debuted in a K-pop group or as a soloist. Instead, she was one of the hopefuls competing for a spot in established girl group, KARA. After she had lost to another contender, she was signed on as a ‘trainee’ and put in the running to be part of DSP Media’s then upcoming girl group, April.
According to Nexter, something had went wrong and she was dropped from her contract. This caused her to become depressed and apparently jump from her 10th floor apartment.
She was age 22 at the time.
5. Kim Jonghyun
The lead singer of the popular boy band, SHINee and soloist, Jonghyun’s suicide note only gave us a tiny glimpse of how depressed he really was as he spoke of how he was “broken inside” and that he “couldn’t fight it anymore”. His fans were heartbroken and blamed the over-competitiveness and pressure of the K-pop industry.
According to SCMP, he was found unconscious in a hotel room is Seoul, with a coal briquette burning on a frying pan, a common method most South Koreans use to kill themselves. Police rushed him to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
He was age 27 at the time.
6. Choi Jin-ri aka Sulli
Sulli was a prominent member of the K-pop group f(x) who eventually became a soloist. She was known for being outspoken when it came to mental health issues, cyber-bullying and women’s rights, which is uncommon among K-pop stars. This led to her becoming the receiving end of intense scrutiny and online backlash.
She’s been called ‘ugly’, ‘un-talented’, and more crude remarks. It seemed like whatever she did only drew in more hate from online netizens.
According to BBC, she was found dead in her home with no signs of foul play. Considering her openness regarding her depression (with her posting several tear-jerking videos of herself), her death has since been ruled a suicide.
She was age 25 at the time.
7. Goo Hara
Singer, actress, former member of girl group KARA and close friend of Sulli’s, she had survived one suicide attempt just 6 months before her death. She, just like her friend, had her private life closely examined by the general public and faced barrages of online criticism. She was also bullied and slut-shamed considering the double standards that apply to male and female K-pop stars.
According to SCMP, Goo Hara was found dead in her home just 6 weeks after Sulli’s alleged suicide, posting the words ‘Goodbye’ on her Instagram.
She was age 28 at the time.
There are many other South Koreans who are and are not in the entertainment industry but have taken their own life, which has contributed to the country earning the reputation of being notorious for its suicide rates.
We hope that Korean officials take to Sulli’s Act, considering it’s aimed at tackling cyber-bullying in Korea and hopefully; the toxic fandom that comes along with the Korean Pop genre.
To anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, please do reach out to someone trusted or the Befrienders at 03-7956 8145. And remember, a little kindness goes a long way. Just because you don’t see them on the other side of the screen, doesn’t mean they are not hurting…
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