While idol life is full of excitement, popularity and doing what you love, it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. While the dark side of K-Pop is well known, there are times idols had such hardships they wished they had never become idols. There are things idols can definitely live without, and the below entertainers have had to suffer for their talents.
1. Insecurities leading to physical symptoms
Red Velvet‘s Seulgi has spoken publicly a few times about her insecurities, and admitted she suffered such a huge slump during her 4th and 5th years as a trainee that she considered giving up altogether. She confessed that even once she became a rookie idol she had such insecurities with her voice that she would only sing if she was alone. Her insecurities manifested into physical vocal chord issues. She told Sunmi on Secret Sister: “I was picked by the agency for my singing talent, but I couldn’t sing. As I watched other singers who are better than me, I began to feel insecure. Then to make things worse, I developed vocal chord issues.”
2. Fan criticism no matter what
Wanna One‘s Kang Daniel received a lot of attention this year for his alleged dating scandal with Yook Ji Dam, and since then it seems like every little thing he does is criticized heavily. Although the Wanna One member has a legion of dedicated fans, he has a whole host of antis – and even some fans – that lashed out recently when he made an English typo when interacting with international fans on Twitter.
He was filmed at the Gaon Music Awards looking pretty miserable after his dating scandal, but his fellow members showed their support in the cutest way possible on the night – crushing him in the middle of a member hug before letting him come out to join the huddle.
3. Collapsing from exhaustion
Busy schedules lead to long hours for many K-Pop idols, and as shown in BTS‘s Burn The Stage, Jungkook pushed himself too far during their “Wings” tour in 2017, collapsing on stage from fatigue. This isn’t a rare occurrence for K-Pop idols, unfortunately, with plenty more idols having felt dizzy or passed out completely on stage due to exhaustion.
4. Unwanted advances
Produce 101 contestant and former I.B.I member Kim Sohee admitted there were times she thought about quitting as a trainee with her former company. The general manager continuously made moves on her, making her sit in the passenger seat next to him as they travelled from schedule to schedule, and once sincerely told her, “Let’s get married.” On top of that, the CEO of the agency forced them to work part-time at a Korean barbecue restaurant he owned, under the impression that their work would help fund their debut.
5. Arrogance and controversy
Seungri has admitted to some hardships, not only as a trainee but after debuting with BIGBANG. He was almost cut from the lineup by Yang Hyun Suk, due to his lack of singing skills, but he stepped up to fight for his spot. Not only that, he admitted on an episode of Radio Star that during his 3rd year he got so arrogant that people started avoiding him. He didn’t know people didn’t like him, they would just leave.
This culminated in his 7th year, when he began really wondering how long he could be an idol for. Seungri said, “Controversies started rising during my 7th year. Things happen when you are just sleeping. I didn’t know but things just happen. After that, I wondered if I would be able to continue this. So then I started creating other options (starting businesses).”
6. Secret relationships
With the news of their hidden relationship rocking the K-Pop world just last week, Hyuna and E’Dawn are currently facing huge backlash for not revealing their 2-year relationship sooner. Fans are extremely disappointed, so much so that 500 PENTAGON fans canceled their attendance to the fan meeting inaugural ceremony. The idols continue to face backlash and negative responses from fans at the moment. Cube Entertainment released an official statement on the 3rd stating, “We are sorry to inform that all scheduled appearances from Triple H have been canceled due to personal reasons.” Some Korean fans are even demanding E’Dawn be removed from PENTAGON!
7. Far from home when tragedy strikes
V lost both his grandmother and grandfather after his debut as a member of BTS, so due to his busy schedules he may have not been able to see his grandparents as often as he liked before they passed. His grandfather passed away just last week, and while it is unconfirmed whether he was there for his grandfather’s final moments, thankfully he was able to attend the funeral home with his family.
8. Spotlight during depression
In 2014, Super Junior‘s Leeteuk’s father and grandparents were found dead at their residency due to murder-suicide. It was reported that Leeteuk’s grandparents had been suffocated to death by their own son, the reason being “that he could not afford to take care of them.” Leeteuk’s grandfather had been suffering from dementia and his grandmother had been suffering from some form of cancer. On top of that, Leeteuk’s father had left him with 5 billion won in debt and a spiteful message, asking, “Do you truly believe you achieved success all by yourself?” Leeteuk, who was already suffering depression while in the military, spiralled.
Although Leeteuk got through his military service and the hard times, his life afterwards has not been easy. He sold his car and accepted every job he was offered in order to clear his father’s debt. He told students during a high school speech earlier this year: “I am telling you my family story to tell you that a celebrity’s life is not all that it seems, it is filled with despair and sadness much like everyone else’s.”
9. Unhealthy weight restrictions
SONAMOO‘s D.ana revealed on Idol Drama Operation Team that her agency required all the trainees to weigh a specific weight by the end of each day, otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed to go home.
10. Apologizing doesn’t mean forgiveness
Singer Baek Ji Young had one of the biggest scandals in K-Pop history in 2000 when a sex tape was leaked of her having sex with her former manager. The tape was secretly filmed by her ex-manager who had reportedly used it to blackmail her when she voiced her desire to find new representation. It went viral all over the internet and, although Baek Ji Young publicly apologized for the scandal, she was met with such a backlash by the public she was forced to leave the country. All her songs were taken off the air and her advertising contracts cancelled.
She managed to come back strong in 2006 and find success and happiness as a ballad singer, and is now known as the “Queen of OST”! However, earlier in 2018, her husband Jung Suk Won was arrested at Incheon Airport for using meth during his trip to Australia, and she was again thrown back into the spotlight and forced to publicly apologize again.
11. Success doesn’t mean forever
Before 2NE1, Dara rose to fame in the Philippines thanks to a 2nd place finish in the reality talent show Star Circle Quest, though her fame gradually faded away after a few years. This drop in fame coincided with her father stealing all their family’s money and leaving them for another woman, forcing Dara to become the main breadwinner for her family.
Her slump meant more years of hard work as a trainee with YG Entertainment, and she seriously reconsidered as the main income earner for her family. Her dedication paid off, however, and she eventually became a member of one of the biggest girl groups in Korea at the time. Of course, all things must come to an end, and Dara once again experienced extreme sadness when 2NE1 disbanded in 2016.