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New couples emerge, others break up in 2016 celebrity dating scene

All Headlines 12:20 December 20, 2016

By Lee Haye-ah and Youn Go-eun

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- A quick look at this year's celebrity dating scene reveals the usual mix of new couples, marriages and breakups, not to mention the scandalous, the unexpected and the "I-knew-it-all-along."

The biggest scandal of the year was by far the rumored affair between director Hong Sang-soo and actress Kim Min-hee. Hong, who is married with a college-aged daughter, met Kim while filming the 2015 movie "Right Now, Wrong Then." Rumors of their affair began circulating within film circles, but the first media report came out much later in June. Neither side has denied nor confirmed their relationship. Hong, 56, has since filed for divorce from his wife. The director is 22 years older than Kim.

This file photo, provided by Finecut, shows Hong Sang-soo (L) and Kim Min-hee holding a press conference at a film festival in Switzerland in August 2015. (Yonhap)

Big age differences were a common feature among celebrity couples this year.

In August, actors Shin Ha-kyun and Kim Go-eun said they were two months into dating after knowing each other as senior-junior film industry colleagues. The two are 17 years apart.

Three months later, 45-year-old Korean-American actor Ma Dong-seok revealed that he is dating Ye Jung-hwa, a TV personality 17 years his junior. The two belong to the same management agency and grew close after discovering a mutual interest in sports and English, according to the agency.

Just last week, it turned out actors Kim Joo-hyuk and Lee Yoo-young had begun dating after meeting on the set of director Hong's latest feature film "Yourself and Yours," which was released last month. And yes, the 44-year-old Kim is 17 years older than Lee.

Less shocking but also sensational was the revelation that comedian Kim Gook-jin and singer Kang Soo-ji had become a pair. Kim, 51, and Kang, 49, met on the SBS TV variety show "Burning Youth." Viewers and fans were delighted upon hearing the news, saying the "chihuahua couple," as they were affectionately called for their puppy-like facial features, looked good together. Many people said they saw it coming and cheered them on. Both Kim and Kang were hugely popular in the 1990s and have each experienced divorce.

Fans also reacted happily to the news that actors Lee Sang-woo and Kim So-yeon had begun dating after playing lovers in the MBC TV series "Happy Home." The two actors, both 36, "looked really good together in the drama," viewers said.

Some celebrities pulled off the feat of keeping their relationship under wraps.

These photos show Hyun Bin (L) and Kang So-ra. (Yonhap)

When news broke last week that actors Hyun Bin, 34, and Kang So-ra, 26, had just begun seeing each other, many reacted with surprise as the two had never worked together in public. Their agencies said the two had first met at a work meeting in October.

Idol singers were certainly in on the romance as well.

U-ie, a member of girl group After School, began dating actor Lee Sang-yoon early in the year, while Kai of boy band EXO and Krystal of girl group f(x) went from friends to lovers after a period of 10 years.

Moon Hee-joon, a member of the first-generation K-pop boy band H.O.T., announced his planned marriage to Soyul of girl group Crayon Pop in February, while Jeong Jin-woon of boy group 2AM was found to be secretly dating Yeeun of girl group Wonder Girls for the past three years.

In wedding news, actors Ahn Jae-hyun and Ku Hye-sun tied the knot in May about a year after meeting on the set of the KBS 2TV series "Blood."

Actors Jung Woo and Kim Yoo-mi married in January after dating for three years, while actors Park Hee-soon and Park Ye-jin were belatedly revealed to have registered their marriage in June last year.

With new couples naturally came breakups.

Junsu of male trio JYJ and Hani of girl group EXID separated after dating for a year, while Zico of boy band Block B broke up with Seolhyun of girl group AOA.

In October, Teddy Park of the former hip-hop group 1TYM ended his relationship of three-and-half-years with actress Han Ye-seul.

These photos show Junsu of JYJ (L) and Hani of EXID. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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