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Here's Why Korean Celebrities Find It Hard to Admit Their Relationships
When couples like Song-Song and Nam-Lee make it official, the world gets SHOOKT!
IMAGE MBC, Song Hye Kyo | instagram.com/kyo1122

Living in the land of great-looking oppas and unnis—more so, being a celebrity in it—comes with a price. Sure, you get the envy of people around the globe and earn millions or even billions of Korean won, but you have to deal with the setbacks of being famous. For K-Pop stars and Hallyu idols, it includes having your love life become like a plotline that fans and the media get obsessed with.

ICYDK, celebrity relationship reports are a pretty huge deal in South Korea. A lot of fans celebrate when reel-to-real couples like Nam Joo Hyuk and Lee Sung Kyung (Nam-Lee) and the more recent Song-Song (Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo) make it official.

However, some treat these dating news as scandals, which explains why several Hallyu celebs make intense efforts to hide their relationship until they (and their agencies) are ready for a big reveal. The same struggles also happen to other Asian idols like some stars in Japan and Singapore.

WAE?! Why are Korean celebrity relationships so controversial? Here's a rundown of the speculated reasons:

Allegedly because of strict contracts with their agencies.

Korean entertainment agencies have extensive provisions for managing their talents. That may include an agreement that the celeb can't have a relationship—or at least not have it publicized. Sounds just like what happens to those lovey-dovey pairs in high school who aren't "legal" with their parents, right?

But it's not that they totally can't date. It's just that they can't tell their fans, friends, and sometimes even their families without the blessing of their agency. Some say that it's even more discouraged (and possibly forbidden) when the couple belongs to the same agency—like in the case of Lee Sung Kyung and Nam Joo Hyuk who are both from YG Entertainment.

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If the celebs violate the contract (i.e. if they date and the public gets wind of it), they have to "reimburse advertising companies millions of dollars for violating their commercial contract." That's because the actor, actress, or the member of a K-Pop group risks losing fans of the opposite gender.

The illusion of the idol being an eligible partner for the fans gets shattered (especially when the star gets married), and the fans might lose interest, which means that the company might lose revenue.

The illusion of the idol being an eligible partner for the fans gets shattered (especially when the star gets married), and the fans might lose interest, which means that the company might lose revenue.

Some insiders and fans claim that the no-getting-caught-dating rule usually applies to debuting and younger idols only. It may not apply to stars in their mid-20s onwards who are in the ideal age for dating and whose fans in general wouldn't mind them having a bae. However, contracts get renewed regularly, and some agencies could be stricter than others, which means that the clause could be there for years and the idol would agree to the terms.

Because of possessive (and possibly obsessive) fans.

In many cases, however, it's the celebrity's personal choice not to date someone or to hide the news as long as they can because some fans love their idol too much and take it to the extreme by hating the partner. A few (referred to as sasaeng fans) are even so obsessed and bitter that they turn to harassment and hacking.

In many cases, however, it's the celebrity's personal choice not to date someone or to hide the news as long as they can because some fans love their idol too much and take it to the extreme by hating the partner.

For example, there were three instances when the Instagram account of Super Junior Sung Min's wife got hacked. She had to make a public request for whoever's doing it to stop bothering her. These incidences make it understandable why many Hallyu idols still choose to keep their relationships under the radar and why they are so concerned about how the public will react and treat their loved ones.

Maybe that's why when the idol writes a letter to fans after a dating news breaks out, the tone is more on apologetic and pleading instead of being 100% celebratory. Remember how Song Hye Kyo said she didn't want her fans to think she didn't respect them? Or how Song Joong Ki declared that he wanted his fans' blessings?

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Scarlet Heart: Ryeo's Lee Joon Gi—who recently confirmed that he was dating actress Jeon Hye Bin (his co-star in Gunman in Joseon)—is another actor who apologized to fans who criticized him after he spilled the beans. TBH, these celebs don't really have to be sorry because it's their personal lives, but they're very considerate of their fans. So sweet of them, right? ♥

Because at the end of the day, they're just human.

As you can observe in celebrity or agency statements, the Korean stars are also just mainly concerned about their privacy. Most of the aspects of their lives are already for public consumption, so you'll get why they want to keep their love life intimate.

Most of the aspects of their lives are already for public consumption, so you'll get why they want to keep their love life intimate.

Some speculate that dating in secret even make the celebs' relationships more thrilling! Ever heard of the rumors how Girls' Generation's Taeyeon and EXO's Baekhyun used Instagram for hidden messages back when they were dating? Shoo from the '90s group S.E.S. also revealed how she creatively exchanged secret love notes with her celebrity boyfriend in the past through a vending machine. Of course, you can only imagine those exciting moments behind the paparazzi shots of Dispatch. Omo!

A few Korean celebs also admit that they help their friends and fellow celebs date in secret. For instance, in one Running Man episode, singer and variety star Kim Jong Kook admitted he has helped a celebrity couple date by using his car to pick them up, parking somewhere secluded, and leaving them alone for a moment.

There are also upscale restaurants that ensure the privacy of celebrity couples, such as the one owned by TV star Hong Suk Chun (but it became too popular that celebs have boycotted it already, according to him). And there are those exclusive parties and several overseas trips that help couples escape the public's prying eyes as much as they can and enjoy their intimate time together.

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Obviously, the lives of Hallyu stars can be difficult, especially if they have sensitive fans. For most Filipino fans like us, however, we're just happy that our idols are happy and when our OTPs get confirmed. We just can't help but squeal with kilig and celebrate together! So chukahaeyo to all Song-Song, Nam-Lee, and other celebrity couple shippers! May the couples we're rooting for confirm their relationships (without suffering) next! ♥

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About the author
Ginyn Noble
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