Revealing about Squid Game Lee Jung Jae’s rich background before the family went bankrupt, and the love story with the ex-wife of the president of SAMSUNG.
By now, you’ve probably heard of a little South Korean drama called Squid Game, which is dominating Netflix Top 10 charts — as well as conversations and social media feeds — all over the world.
Naturally, the show’s overwhelming success has turned its stars into overnight sensations, with Lee Jung Jae, who was already a respected actor long before the series existed, being propelled to a whole new level of fame and popularity.
Born into a wealthy family of doctors and brewery owners, Jung Jae, 48, enjoyed a privileged childhood, but his family fell into huge debts after his grandfather tried and failed to run for congress four times.
As a result, he had to drop out of school and started working at a café, where his good looks and height caught the attention of a designer.
Jung Jae then began modelling and made his acting debut in 1993 drama Dinosaur Teacher.
In 1999, at age 26, he became the youngest person to win Best Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards for his role in City of the Rising Sun.
While he experienced a bit of a career slump in the late 2000s, a resurgence soon followed thanks to projects like The Thieves, Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds, and Chief of Staff.
Jung Jae’s doing pretty well in other areas of his life too.
Together with his best friend and fellow actor Jung Woo Sung, they founded their own management agency Artist Company and own a combined 45bil won (S$51.5mil) worth of real estate.
By the way, that’s almost as much as what the players stand to win in Squid Game (the cash prize is 45.6bil won, or S$52.2bil), so Jung Jae, who also reportedly has an annual income of NT$100mil (S$4.9mil), is definitely someone who doesn’t need to go through those sadistic games to get rich.
Who’s the lady in his life?
For those who are wondering if he’s single, sorry, Jung Jae is very much taken.
In 2015, he went public with his relationship with businesswoman Im Se Ryung, who is the eldest daughter of the chairman of Korean food giant Daesang Group.
Yup, this basically makes the 44-year-old a real-life chaebol (business conglomerate) heiress, not unlike the uber-wealthy characters often depicted in K-dramas.
What’s more, Se Ryung used to be married to Lee Jae Yong, the vice chairman of Samsung (which we’re pretty sure needs no introduction). They divorced in 2009 and have two children together.
Currently Lee Jae Yong is the chairman of Samsung technology group after his father passed away in 2020.
As for Jung Jae, he famously dated actress Kim Min Hee for three years before they split in 2006.