Singer Jo Kwon revealed the story of his family when they were in financial difficulty.
On July 13th, Jo Kwon appeared on SBS's variety program 'Are you eating well?' and shared stories of living in a one-room studio when he was young along with stories of his mother's long-time illness.
Jo Kwon stated, "I went through many difficulties ever since I was young. Many people think I grew up in a wealthy family but that wasn't the case. I lived in a one-room studio. My family went bankrupt due to my parent's debt. My family lived in a one-room studio in which the rent was only 60,000 KRW (Approx. 49.80 USD) per month. By the year 2000, the debt amounted to around 500 million KRW (approx 414,979 USD)."
Jo Kwon revealed that the family suffered from loan sharks who came to collect their debt. Jo Kwon stated "When I was twelve the loan sharks came to our house. I hid in the room. The loan sharks took a bucket of water and hit my mom with it. So because of that, my mom's eardrums were damaged. I was really shocked" and recollected his difficult past.
Jo Kwon said his family did not have much to eat so there were days when they only had rice porridge mixed with soy sauce. That's when Jo Kwon saw the advertisement for J.Y. Park's new project to seek out new talent and Jo Kwon went to audition to become a singer.
He also confessed that he had no income for three years since his debut, although he had gained popularity as "Kkap-Kwon". It took quite a long time to get paid since he went through eight years as a trainee. He said " When I first got the payment, I got 200,000 KRW (166 USD). Since then, I've been paid as much as I worked. I was able to rent a place for my parents and then was able to buy them a house a year or two later. I also bought them all the household appliances." Jo Kwon said he was also able to pay back all his parent's debt and even bought them gifts.
However, the happiness only lasted briefly. Jo Kwon's mother was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. He said she was diagnosed when he was serving in the military and cancer started to spread from her toes. Jo Kwon said he went through a mental break down after hearing the news of his mother's cancer. He revealed that his mother had to amputate her toes because cancer formed there so she can't walk for too long.
Jo Kwon also revealed that the person who helped him through this difficulty was actress Kim Hye Soo. They were able to build up a friendship when they both appeared on the drama 'The Queen of Office'. Jo Kwon revealed that Kim Hye Soo is his life mentor and that she always compliments him saying "You're an awesome person. I wish Kwonie would be happy. I wish Gwonie would do everything."
Jo Kwon also said that Kim Hye Soo gave him much help when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. She told him not to worry and that he should remain healthy until he is discharged from the military. Jo Kwon said that Kim Hye Soo helped him both emotionally and financially throughout the whole incident. When he returned from the military, Kim Hye Soo hugged him tightly and cried.
On this day, Jo Kwon's mother made a surprise visit, catching the eyes of netizens. Jo Kwon's mother expressed love for her son and even saved Jo Kwon's number as "My Treasure." She Explained that Jo Kwon had gone through many difficulties and she wishes he wasn't hurt in his heart.
The netizens were touched and shed tears as they watch Jo Kwon and his mother.