The road to stardom is definitely not an easy one. For some stars, however, it's more difficult than most, especially if they are forced to deal with hardships. Here are the stars who managed to overcome their own hardships in their predebut days to be the successful idols we love and cherish today.
1) TVXQ's Yunho
He may be one of Korea's biggest stars, but life wasn't always so good for this talented dancer and rapper. During his teenage years, Yunho's family went through a financial crisis that left them homeless. He often found himself sleeping in train stations with nothing but newspapers as a makeshift mattress.
2) SistAr's Bora
The start of a successful K-pop career should be a momentous occasion for anyone. For Bora, however, the day would forever be marked with sadness as her father suddenly passed away on the day she received an offer from JYP Entertainment.
3) Lee Joon
Because of his family's poor background, Lee Joon faced a variety of hardships. Not only was he unable to go on school trips but he also owned only one dance outfit that would often be smelly from not drying properly the night before. Even his friends treated him coldly, only changing their ways after he was accepted into the Korea National University of the Arts.
4) Seo In Guk
While Seo In Guk found success in both his acting and singing career, it hasn't always been easy for him. While growing up, his family often lived in poverty, saving eaten chicken bones for a broth to cook an extra meal. It didn't get easier for him, however, as he attended audition after audition in his dreams of becoming an entertainer. Agencies would often tell him to lose weight, leading to his struggle with bulimia.
Seulong wished to become a singer during Korea's IMF financial crisis. To help her son's dream come true, his mother paid for his attendance for the Shil Yong Music Academy by closing cube boxes while his three-member family lived on 50,000 WON (~ $42 USD) a month.
6) JYJ's Jaejoong
In order to chase his dreams of becoming a singer, Jaejoong moved to Seoul by himself. Because his family struggled financially, he refused to ask for any money from them even though he was often poor and struggled to make ends meet with various odd jobs.
7) 2NE1's Dara
While Dara's family resided in the Philippines, her father actually had a secret second family he had in South Korea. Eventually he left to join his second family, leaving Dara to be the main breadwinner of the family.
8) Secret's Hyosung
To keep their hard-working daughter from worrying, Hyosung's family initially kept her father's cancer a secret from her. Her father eventually passed away while she was still a trainee.
The queen of K-pop has had her own fair share of struggles before her illustrious 15-year career. Before getting scouted by SM Entertainment, BoA's family was thrust into a poor financial situation. Despite only being 13, BoA became the main breadwinner of her family, even buying a house and paying for her brothers' college tuition with her earnings.
In her childhood, IU's family was often in a poor financial situation. Thus, she had to go live with her grandmother as her parents could not afford to care for both her and her brother. However, her grandmother did not live in the best of financial conditions either as her house had a lack of sufficient heating for its inhabitants.
11) Super Junior's Eunhyuk
Despite his constantly smiling exterior, Eunhyuk had a rough childhood. His family was constantly struggling financially, even living in a house that had no bathroom. Eunhyuk would have to walk all the way to the nearest train station for a restroom.
12) BEG's Narsha
During the IMF financial crisis, Narsha and her mother lived in a rented basement. To avoid embarrassment, she would often leave the house in a mask to prevent others from recognizing her.
Despite her dreams to become a singer and dancer, her father opposed Kahi's aspirations to become a star. Thus, to pursue her dreams, Kahi decided to rebel against her father and run away from home to Seoul without any support or even funds.
14) Son Ho Joon
To ensure that he would be able to eat for a whole week, singer and actor Son Ho Joon used to split a serving of instant ramen into four pieces. He would then use only a quarter of the soup base per piece, eating one piece a day.
15) Infinite's Sunggyu
Because of his parents' lack of support for his dreams of becoming a singer, Sunggyu came to Seoul alone with only his bags and the money he had earned from working various part-time jobs. In order to support himself while making his dreams come true, Sunggyu worked various jobs, from working as a waiter at a cafe to carrying charcoal in barbecue restaurants.
16) JYJ's Yoochun
Yoochun's family's move to the United States as well as their poor financial situation proved to be too much as it led to his parents' divorce. Yoochun and his brother ended up living with his mother, whom they hardly saw as she was always working with the three living on mostly instant ramen.