“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” Actress Cho Hye Jung Returns To Acting For The First Time In 4 Years

She disappeared due to her father’s #MeToo scandal, and now she’s back.

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of body image issues or eating disorders and sexual assault that may disturb some readers.

Do you remember actress Cho Hye Jung (also known as Jo Hye Jeong or Jo Hye Jung)?

She is most famous for her role as one of the iconic “swag” friends from MBC‘s Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. 

From left: Lee Sung Kyung, Cho Hye Jung, and Lee Joo Young in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” | MBC

Yet, weightlifter Jung Nan Hee was also one of Cho Hye Jung’s last roles.

Cho Hye Jung in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” | MBC

The actress was previously under Jellyfish Entertainment. In 2014, she made her acting debut in a minor role in OCN‘s God’s Quiz 4, and her character Jang Gyu Tae appears only in episode 1.

The medical team, at Hankuk University, assists the law with suspicious deaths and rare diseases.

— IMDb

“God’s Quiz 4” poster.

Her career began to take off in 2015. She appeared as Lee Ah Ri in Alchemist and Oh Ga Rin in OnStyle‘s Because It’s The First Time (also known as My First Time) for eight episodes.

A group of young people gather on a rooftop and tell their stories.

— IMDb’s description for Because It’s The First Time

Cho Hye Jung in “Because It’s The First Time.” | OnStyle

Likewise, she played Oh Na Woo in MBC’s Imaginary Cat for eight episodes. It is based on the webtoon Sangsanggoyangi by Kim Gyung.

What could be more therapeutic than a furry friend? Hyun Jong Hyun (Yoo Seung Ho) is an aspiring webtoon writer whose ideas keep getting rejected by companies because he narrowly, stubbornly focuses on scenarios that are of interest only to him. He is emotionally cut off from everyone and is only interested in himself. On a rainy day, Jong Hyun comes across a stray cat, Bok Gil (Han Ye Ri), and he takes the cat home with him. Bok Gil is an overweight, old cat, but she was quite the cat’s meow in her day. She was once sexy and desirable – but the advent of age and the extra pounds from overeating have contributed to her losing her once girlish figure and energy. With Jong Hyun, Bok Gil is happy to have a new butler in her life who serves her three meals and day and plays with her on command. But as Jong Hyun and Bok Gil gradually open up to each other, they become a source of comfort and warmth for each other. In order to support Bok Gil, Jong Hyun has no choice but to go work part-time at Naeil Bookstore until he can establish his career as a webtoon writer. Oh Na Woo (Jo Hye Jung), a photography student who is taking a break from her studies and working part-time at a café, is drawn to both Jong Hyun and Bok Gil.

— Viki

Cho Hye Jung in “Imaginary Cat.”

In 2016, Cho Hye Jung portrayed Hong Ja Young in tvN‘s Cinderella and the Four Knights.

Catching the eye of a wealthy gentleman, spunky Ha-won gets hired to live with his three immature grandsons so she can whip them into shape.

— Netflix

“Cinderella and the Four Knights” Episode 9. | tvN

Of course, her most iconic role was also that year as Jung Nan Hee in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.

A coming-of-age story about a group of college athletes who are fighting for their dreams, experiencing and finding love in the process, and growing every step of the way.

— IMDb’s description for Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Cho Hye Jung in “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo.” | MBC

In 2017, she appeared as Seo Jin in Naver TV Cast‘s Moonlight Sonata and Jin Joo’s friend, Chun Sul, in KBS2‘s Go Back Couple.

Having married young, when frustration with their lives make Choi Ban Doo and Ma Jin Joo regret their marriage of 18 years, a strange occurrence has them traveling back in time to the day before they met and into their younger selves.

— IMDb’s description for Go Back Couple

Her most recent roles were in 2018. She starred as Kkot Boon (also romanized as Ggot Boon) in Soldier’s Mementos and appeared as a high school student in The End. 

War between an eastern and western country has been ongoing, but Oh Jang-Gyun (Maeng Se-Chang) lives peacefully in the country with his mother. He grows potato there. Oh Jang-Gyun dreams of marrying his next door neighbor Ggot-Boon. One day, Oh Jang-Gyun receives a draft card for the war. Oh Jang-Gyun enters a training camp, leaving his mother and Ggot-Boon behind. He doesn’t even know what war is.

— AsianWiki’s description for Soldier’s Mementos

Seo Kab Soo (left) and Cho Hye Jung (right) in “Soldier’s Mementos.” | Plex

But what happened to Cho Hye Jung after that?

If you look her up on search engines, it appears that she has disappeared. In fact, celebrity profile websites list Cho Hye Jung as “inactive.”

Screenshot on April 26, 2022. | Google

The past few years certainly have not been easy for the actress. Even her role in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo took a toll on the actress as she struggled with weight.

Like the fictional weightlifters in the K-Drama, she was required to gain weight for her part to “appear fat.” While viewers still thought she looked beautiful and charming, Cho Hye Jung explained how the process affected her.

Actually during the filming, the PD made me eat … and he kept asking me to control my weight, not to lose weight. However, I think it was no help. When I weighed myself on the scale, I tended to do some diet. Thus, I just forget the scale, and keep eating for the drama.

— Cho Hye Jung

On the variety show Happy Together 3, she revealed that she was made to show her weight-gain process to the producing director every day. Seeing the scale daily and the number rise caused her to feel bad.

I’m a woman, and I hated seeing myself get fat.

— Cho Hye Jung

So, when filming concluded, Cho Hye Jung went on a diet to lose the weight she gained. At the time, she lost around 15 lbs (7 kg) but hoped to continue losing more.

I work out every day and eat less, but there are so many delicious foods in the world!

— Cho Hye Jung

The reason for her acting inactivity was not due to appearance or as a result of typecasting like some actors. Instead, it was because of a scandal, but it was not even her own…

Her father is veteran actor Cho Jae Hyun, once known as the “National Father” of Korea and “director Kim Ki Duk‘s persona.”

Cho Jae Hyun

In February 2018, he admitted to sexual harassment allegations against him during South Korea’s #MeToo Movement. Additionally, the producers of tvN’s Cross confirmed the departure of Cho Jae Hyun, saying, “We’ve come to the conclusion Jo Jae Hyun’s departure from the drama is inevitable. We’ll try to remove his character from the drama as soon as possible.”

This is Jo Jae Hyun. The first rumor claimed an actor who is also a theater owner forcibly kissed a young staff member after making her sit on his lap. When these rumors came out, I was planning to explain myself because some parts of the story are different than the truth. Shortly afterwards, I came across another interview that raises other suspicions. I was surprised because I had no memory of it. I had an awful mindset at the time, and I thought it was just slander. A few news articles began making false speculations as well, so I hoped it would all just come to an end. Instead of reflecting on myself, I spent time having shameful and crude thoughts. I’m a monster for trying to avoid the results of my idiotic thoughts and disgusting actions in the past. I confess. I’ve lived a wrong life. Throughout my 30-year acting career, I’ve made many mistakes with morally wrong words and actions towards my colleagues, staff members, and juniors. I’m a sinner. I bow my head in apology to the victims who’ve been greatly hurt. I plan to put everything down. I will no longer think of myself. I won’t try to avoid it. I’ll put [my career] down. From now on, I’ll look back on my life with a remorseful heart towards the victims. I’m very ashamed and sorry.

— Cho Jae Hyun

Consequently, she became associated with it and was said allegedly to support her family continually. Cho Hye Jung received hate for being the child of a sexual harasser and making a career through family connections. So, at the time, she had to disable comments on her Instagram account.

| @haejung_c/Instagram

Shortly after, she seemingly disappeared. Cho Hye Jung stopped acting in dramas and posting on social media. Her last post was Valentine’s Day of 2018.

After that, she had posted and deleted a post that many interpreted as “support” for her father amidst the controversy. The actress shared Sondia‘s “Adult” OST for tvN’s K-Drama My Mister. Since then, fans had not heard from her.

I see myself and I tell myself not to get tired.

— Sondia’s lyrics

| @haejung_c/Instagram

Now, after four years, Cho Hye Jung has returned to the spotlight without much publicization.

Cho Hye Jung in “Our Blues.” | tvN via Netflix

The actress finally has her first role since the controversy. You can see her now in tvN’s new all-star K-Drama Our Blues which is also available on Netflix internationally, airing new episodes every Saturday and Sunday.

Romance is sweet and bitter – and life riddled with ups and downs – in multiple stories about people who live and work on bustling Jeju Island.

— IMDb

Cho Hye Jung in “Our Blues.” | tvN via Netflix

She acts as Dal I, the friend and colleague of Lee Yeong Ok (Han Ji Min).

Han Ji Min (left) and Cho Hye Jung (right)  in “Our Blues.” | tvN via Netflix

They are both haenyeo, female divers in Jeju. You can see her even more in the past couple of episodes as the drama begins to delve into Lee Yeong Ok’s story.

Cho Hye Jung in “Our Blues.” | tvN via Netflix

We hope that the drama will explore more of Dal I’s too! So far, each episode focuses more on a specific couple’s story. And, honestly, we’re so shipping her with Park Jeong Jun (Kim Woo Bin)’s first mate (Baek Seung Do)…

Baek Seung Do (left) and Cho Hye Jung (right) in “Our Blues.” | tvN via Netflix

Congratulations to Cho Hye Jung on her comeback!

Source: KProfiles, Channel Korea and Korean Portal

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