Korean actress Seo Ye-ji, star of the K-drama “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” admitted that she and actor Kim Jung-hyun became lovers and she did not deny the published text messages she sent to him in 2018 in which she ordered him to avoid any “skinship” or physical contact and romantic scenes with Seohyun, his co-star in the drama “Time.”
Kim Jung-hyun, star of the dramas “Crash Landing on You” and “Mr. Queen,” and Seo Ye-ji have been swept in a controversy after Korean media outlet Dispatch published an article on April 12 that showed Seo Ye-ji telling him through text messages to avoid filming romantic scenes with Seohyun or greeting female staff on the set, and to change the script of the drama.
Kim Jung-hyun and Seohyun, a member of K-pop group Girls’ Generation, starred in “Time,” which aired from July to September 2018. However, Kim Jung-hyun dropped out in the middle of the airing of the drama due to health reasons.
Seo Ye-ji’s agency, Goldmedalist, issued a statement regarding the Dispatch report.
“As a result of checking with Kim Jung-hyun, it was clearly confirmed that the drama-related controversy was not caused by Seo Ye-ji, and he expressed his intention to issue his position about it,” said Goldmedalist.
It added, “However, he said it would take time to express his position because there are many overlapping issues. In the face of continuous escalation of the controversy, we have received the opinion that it is okay to announce our position first and we are revealing our position now. Once again, we apologize for the delay in expressing our position.”
Regarding the issue that Seo Ye-ji manipulated Kim Jung-hyun throughout the filming of “Time,” the agency said, “It is hard to understand through common sense the controversial report that the main actor of the drama would act as he is told by someone without his own free will. It is practically impossible for an actor to act and film without any will.”
About the published text messages that Seo Ye-ji and Kim Jung-hyung sent to each other, Goldmedalist said, “It was not shown in the released conversation but there was a conversation that Kim Jung-hyun also asked Seo Ye-ji, who was filming another drama, not to film kiss scenes etc. In response, Seo Ye-ji told him, ‘Then you don’t either’ as part of conversations between lovers showing jealousy about skinship with others.”
Goldmedalist branded it as “lovers’ quarrel.”
“This can be seen as a common lovers’ quarrel between actors who are lovers in the industry. However, all actors film normally, setting aside their lovers’ quarrel. We think Kim Jung-hyun must have had other inevitable personal circumstances too,” it said.
The Dispatch report stated that Seo Ye-ji manipulated Kim Jung-hyun and ordered him not to have any skinship with Seohyun despite it being required in the script and to change the script so that there would be no romantic scenes or physical contact.
She also ordered Kim Jung-hyun to take videos and audio recordings during filming and send them to her. The news report added that when Kim Jung-hyun received a script, he would ask for revisions and send it to Seo Ye-ji.
In one of the text message exchanges, Kim Jung-hyun told Seo Ye-ji, “I keep reading the script. I’m not doing anything else.”
“Correct it well so there is no romance. You are happy because of me. So make me happier,” Seo Ye-ji told him.
It added that from episodes 5 to 12 of “Time,” the script had 13 skinship scenes but none of them made it to the airing.
During the press conference for ‘Time” on July 20, 2018, a video clip showed Seohyun tried to link her arm with Kim Jung-hyun for media photos but he refused. He was criticized for his rude behavior but told the media at the time that “it is for my role,” according to a Korea Times report in 2018.
A report by Korean TV channel SBS last April 11 stated that a staff in-charge of Seohyun during the filming of “Time” stated, “Seohyun cried a lot on the set” mainly because of Kim Jung-hyun’s behavior.
The staff member said Kim Jung-hyun did not greet Seohyun and had no eye contact with her, and he stayed in his car during breaks in the shooting. The staff member also said he showed signs of discomfort when there was a love scene during the filming.
In one incident, according to the staff, after shooting a scene wherein Seohyun and Kim Jung-hyun touched hands, he wiped his hands with a tissue and when she saw it, Seohyun burst into tears on the set.
Kim Jung-hyun once apologized to Seohyun through O& Entertainment but his behavior did not change much after, the staff said.
Meanwhile, fans of Kim Jung-hyun have released a statement of support to him in his fight to end his contract with his agency, O& Entertainment.
His contract with the agency ends in May but O& Entertainment claims it should be extended by 11 months to compensate for the time he went on hiatus after he left “Time” in 2018.
They said Kim Jung-hyun’s health deteriorated because the agency did not properly take care of him.