On the February 5 episode of tvN's 'Talk Mon', Sunmi shared the reason why she wanted to become a celebrity. She stated, "I wasn't going to share this story but to be honest, the reason I decided to become a celebrity is my dad. When I was in the 5th grade, I lived with my two younger brothers and my dad. But my dad was sick and he kept getting worse. He lived at home with an oxygen breathing apparatus but he was transferred to the hospital because his condition worsened. So our family faced financial difficulties. I became the head of the house, my dad was immobile, so I worried about what I should do. My teachers wanted me to become a teacher but to be a teacher, I had to study at least 10 more years and how was I supposed to make money in that situation?"
She continued, "So I thought I need to become a celebrity. At the time, the young me believed that was the fastest way to make money. And that was also when BoA sunbaenim was actively promoting so I thought I need to become like her. So I got on the bus and went back and forth for auditions. Then at age 14, I passed JYP auditions and became a trainee. But then there was no one who could take care of my dad so my young brothers took care of him and I was a trainee in Seoul."
At the time, Sunmi was in middle school when she started training and her younger brothers were each 12 and 10 years old.
Sunmi stated, "My dad relied on me a lot and sometimes whined at me. I've always replied to his messages but training was hard. It was too much for my young self to bare. But then one day, I received a message from my dad that stated, 'Dad is leaving first.' I didn't text back, thinking my dad is just whining again but he passed away the next day..."
She continued, "He passed away 3 months before my debut. My dad also dreamt of becoming a singer. I went back home for his funeral and my brothers were the head mourners. There was a letter my dad wrote to me and at the end, it stated, 'Please be born as my daughter again in the next life'."
Sunmi lastly said, "It still remains heavy in my heart how I didn't respond and answer his calls..."
Hearing Sunmi's heartbreaking story, the MC and fellow guests shed tears.