There have been numerous instances of Korean celebrities concealing the truth about their private lives or more specifically their love lives until the last possible moment. The most recent case of this is when Chen announced seemingly out of nowhere that he was going to get married and that the couple was expecting a child. While the majority of Netizens applauded the news and Chen’s decision to reveal it, a very small number of people were not that happy. It's hard to understand for the normal person how people could ever be disapproving of their idol sharing their happiness.
Some fans are a little too ruthless when it comes to being “possessive” of their favorite celebrities. A lot of this is usually from Korean netizens as their concept of an “idol” is set in stone. K-Fans even termed Chen as selfish and railed against him for having “betrayed” them, demanding that he leave the group immediately. Believe it or not, such posts even started trending in online forums. Oftentimes, idols or actors completely keep their marriage under the wraps in fear of this retaliation. Back in February of 2020, K-pop singer Lee Jae-hoon from COOL said he got married in 2009 and has two children, two days after actor Sung Joon revealed his December 2018 marriage as well as the fact that they had a child together. One can only imagine the emotional toll he put up with, having to hide his marriage for that long. H.O.T.‘s Moon Hee Jun and Crayon Pop‘s Soyul were dating for only 6 weeks before they found out that Soyul was pregnant.
Hee Jun proposed almost immediately and the pair got married. Netizens once again were quick to respond, claiming that it was a shotgun marriage and that the two shouldn’t be having a child this early into the relationship as it was irresponsible. When actor Bae Yong Jun and Park Soo Jin got married, catching fans off guard, the internet was flooded with false rumors being spread about the relationship. As such, celebrities would much rather hide their private lives from the media. The stars’ fear of damaging their popularity could be a big reason, according to Kwon Young-Chan, a comedian-turned-psychologist. “Numerous celebrities believe that marriage will lead to a fall in their popularity”, Kwon told the Korea Times. “For them, losing popularity means losing fans who bring them economic gains.” He further added that “Many followers, especially those who are young and unmarried, tend to regard their stars as ‘dream lovers’. Hence, once they learn that celebrities are married, they can easily turn away.” The Korean ideal “idol” is essentially selling a dream and once the illusion can no longer be maintained, entertainers apparently lose their appeal.
However, opposite to the dark side of the moon is the very very beautiful support that always pours in from the majority. All the celebrities mentioned above were overwhelmed with support from true fans and are happily leading their married lives as well as a stable career.
When Rain and Kim Tae Hee got married or Taeyang and Min Hyo Rin announced their marriage, there was nothing but love and sweet wishes. Hee Jun and Soyul gave birth to perhaps the most adorable kid JamJam and the family are immensely loved by Korean fans as well as international fans because of their appearance on 'The Return Of Superman'.
Chen has received way more warm wishes than he did backlash and he still has a whole army of EXO-Ls behind him. Following this incident, as if to make sure that their idols feel safe and confident enough to share their happiness, fans are coming forward to expressly show their support for the future.
In the K-Drama industry, the response to marriage is a little less harsh. There are multiple married actors and actresses that are still playing lead roles and their “appeal” has not gone down even by a bit. Actors such as Ji Sung, Lee Bo Young, Kim Tae Hee, Won Bin, Jo Jung Suk, Ryu Su Young, Park Ha Sun, Lee Sang Woo, Kim So Yeon, Lee Byung Hun, Lee Min Jung, Choi Won Young, Jun Ji Hyun are still some of the most popular actors in the industry, to name only a few. Jun Ji Hyun is going to be making a much-awaited comeback with 'Mount Jiri' and 'Kingdom' Season 3. Even actors who are now separated from their former partners have faced little to no setback in their careers.
Hwang Jung Eum played the female lead in two TV dramas back to back (‘Mystic Pop-Up Bar’ and ‘To All The Guys Who Loved Me’). Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki are both still immensely popular as top Hallyu stars and the bright light of their success does not seem to have any plans of dimming any time soon.
At the end of the day, a true fan will support their artist and show happiness at their happiness no matter what, how, or when and as long as artists have this backbone strong and secure, they will feel more confident to open up and share their lives as people first, idols second.