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New year, new romance: 5 'New Year couples’ that made waves in the Korean entertainment industry

By Hannah Mallorca Published Jan 06, 2022 5:45 pm

The first day of the year is a nail-biter for K-pop and K-drama stans—especially for those who are not yet open to the idea of their bias dating. 

For more than 10 years, it’s been a tradition for Korean media outlet Dispatch to reveal a celebrity couple during the New Year. It usually involves celebrities who are popular not only among fans, but to the general public as well. Since then, fans always tune in to see if their bias will be “spared” from dating news, with a ton of memes in between.

The tradition started in 2008 when entertainers Kim Jongmin and Hyun Young were confirmed to be in a relationship. The list of couples grew since then, much to the shock, pleasure, and so-called betrayal of fans. 

In 2022, T-Ara’s Hyomin and soccer player Hwang Uijo are confirmed to be dating after photos of their vacation in Switzerland swirled on social media.

Let’s take a look at five of the most popular New Year couples of all time.

1. Rain and Kim Taehee (2013)

Singer-actor Rain and actress Kim Taehee dominated the headlines in 2013 when it was reported they have been dating secretly for three months. The couple first met in 2011 during a commercial shoot for a social enterprise company. Hours after the news was revealed, Taehee’s entertainment agency BS Company confirmed their relationship. 

The couple eventually got married in a private ceremony in 2017, and now have two children together.

2. Lee Seunggi and Girls’ Generation’s Yoona (2014)

Fans were overjoyed after it was confirmed that singer-actor Lee Seunggi and Girls’ Generation’s Yoona have been in a relationship since September 2013. Before the news, Seunggi has always been open about his admiration for Yoona. He even described her as his ideal type.

Unfortunately, the couple broke up in 2015 due to busy schedules. SM Entertainment, Yoona’s entertainment agency, confirmed the breakup noting they “support each other as colleagues and actors.” 

Lee Seunggi has been in a relationship with Lee Dain since 2020. Meanwhile, Yoona’s current relationship status is yet to be revealed.

3. Big Bang’s G-Dragon and Lee Jooyeon (2018)

Rumors on Big Bang’s G-Dragon and former After School member Lee Jooyeon’s relationship go way back. Several netizens speculated they have been seeing each other since November 2016. In 2018, their relationship was also revealed to the public which caused a stir at the time.

G-Dragon and Jooyeon’s entertainment agencies said they would “look into the news and confirm with stars,” however, their relationship was not confirmed.

4. EXO’s Kai and BLACKPINK’s Jennie (2019)

EXO and BLACKPINK’s fans expressed their support for Kai and Jennie after they went public with their romance in 2019. SM Entertainment, Kai’s entertainment agency, confirmed the news, noting that he has a “romantic interest in her.” On the other hand, YG Entertainment, Jennie’s entertainment agency, said they’re “unaware” of their relationship. 

Shortly after their relationship was confirmed, Kai and Jennie broke up in the same month. Both of their entertainment agencies didn’t reveal the exact reason or time they decided to go on their separate ways. 

In February 2021, Dispatch reported that Jennie has been in a relationship with labelmate and Big Bang member G-Dragon. However, YG Entertainment said they can’t “confirm anything about our artists’ personal lives.”

5. Hyun Bin and Son Yejin (2021)

CLOY fans hoped that Hyun Bin and Son Yejin’s heart-fluttering chemistry in the popular K-drama Crash Landing on You will translate beyond the small screen. After denying dating rumors in the past, it was eventually confirmed in 2021 that they’ve been in a relationship “for the past eight months.” 

VAST Entertainment, Hyun Bin’s entertainment agency, said the couple’s “positive feelings towards one another developed” after Crash Landing on You ended. Wedding rumors have been flying around the couple, however, both actors have yet to confirm the news.