SONG HYE-HYO: EARLYLIFE, EDUCATION, CAREER, PERSONAL LIFE

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Song Hye-kyo  born November 22, 1986 is a South Korean actress. She gained international popularity through her leading roles in the television dramasAutumn in My Heart (2000), All In (2003), Full House (2004), That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013), Descendants of the Sun (2016), and Encounter (2018). Her film work includes Hwang Jin Yi (2007), The Grandmaster (2013), My Brilliant Life (2014), and The Queens (2015).

Early life and education

When Song was born, she was so ill that her parents and doctors thought that she would not survive. Upon her recovery, Song’s parents registered her birth on February 26, 1982 (instead of her actual birthdate, November 22, 1981).

Song’s parents divorced when she was a young girl, after which she was raised by her mother. They moved from her birthplace in Daegu to the Gangnam District in Seoul, where she trained as a figure skater in elementary school but quit when she was in the eighth grade. Song considered herself shy and introverted, but when she attended Ewha Girls’ High School she was described by her high school teacher as having a “cheerful character, she mixed well with her friends and was always in a bright mood.” Song Hye-kyo attended Sejong University, where she majored in Film Arts.

Career

1996–2004: Debut, breakthrough, and international fame

In 1996, the fourteen-year-old Song, then a third-year junior high school student, won first place in the SunKyung Smart Model Contest, and made her entertainment debut as a model for the school uniform company. This led to her being cast in a small role in her first television dramaFirst Love. She would continue to appear in a string of dramas and sitcoms, most notably Soonpoong Clinic .But it was not until the KBS drama Autumn in My Heart in 2000 with Song Seung-heon and Won Bin that she rose to fame in Korea and throughout Asia The romantic melodrama series was a ratings success, pioneering a trend in Korean melodramatic series and launching a trend that is commonly referred to as the “Korean Wave” and leading to Song becoming a Hallyu star.

In 2003, her popularity continued to climb as she played a leading role alongside Lee Byung-hun in the gambling drama All In, which drew solid viewership ratings nationwide throughout its run with a peak viewer rating of 47.7 percent. The following year, she co-starred with singer Rain in the hit romantic comedy series Full House. The drama achieved pan-Asian success and established Song as one of the best-known Korean actresses in Asia.

2005–2012: Film debut and overseas ventures

Early 2005, Song went to San Francisco to study English, and later traveled to Seattle. She took time off to recharge herself after the successful Asia drama Full House. “I have had a good rest. It was a good opportunity to reflect on myself,” said Song. Song returned to Korea on March 5, 2005. The same year, Song made her big-screen debut in My Girl and I (a Korean remake of Crying Out Love in the Center of the World), which was panned by audiences and critics alike. Vocal about her dissatisfaction with typecasting in the roles she was being offered, Song proved in the following year that she could play different roles.In October 2008

She returned to the big screen in 2007 as the titular gisaeng in the film adaptation of Hwang Jin Yi. Because they found Song’s image “too cute,” Jun Ji-hyun and Soo Ae were the producers’ original choices for the role, but Song went on a rigorous diet and surprised them with her will and desire to be Hwang Jini. A year later, she made her American debut in the Hollywood indie Make Yourself at Home (formerly titled Fetish), a psychological thriller about a girl who was born to a shaman mother and tries to flee her fate by becoming an immigrant bride in the US. Despite Song’s attempts to challenge herself, both films underwhelmed the box office.

She made her TV comeback in late 2008 with The World That They Live In (also known as Worlds Within), a series set at a broadcast station in which Song and Hyun Bin played drama PDs who work together and fall in love.

In 2010, she starred in Camellia, an omnibus film made up of three short films directed by three Asian directors. Each episode is set in the past, present, and future of the city of Busan. In the film’s final segment, Love for Sale, Song and Kang Dong-won played former lovers who forget their memories about each other, which later leads them to a fatal destiny.

Considered one of Korea’s most beautiful women, in early 2011 Song released the photo-book Song Hye-kyo’s Moment, which was shot by top photographers in Atlanta, New York City, Buenos AiresPatagonia, Paris, the Netherlands and Brazil. Proceeds from the sales of the photo book was donated to a children’s foundation.

Song next played a documentary filmmaker who finds the strength to forgive the seventeen-year-old boy who killed her fiancé but instead of redemption finds only greater tragedy in A Reason to Live (Korean title: Today), which after several delays was released in October 2011. Song was a huge fan of director Lee Jeong-hyang and had actively sought her out, and though she had difficulty getting into character, Song said she fell in love with the script and felt her acting had matured. She considers the film “a turning point” in her life.

In 2011, she became the first Asian actress to sign a contract with French global agency Effigies, paving the way for her possible entry into the European market. She released a photo-essay book in 2012 titled It’s Time for Hye-kyo.

Song next played a supporting role in The Grandmaster, Chinese director Wong Kar-wai‘s biographical film about Bruce Lee‘s kung fu master Ip Man, for which she learned Cantonese and martial arts. She later admitted there had been “a bit of friction and misunderstanding” with Wong while filming, but that the difficulties helped her mature.

2013–present: Career resurgence

Song reunited with the writer and director of Worlds Within in That Winter, the Wind Blows, a 2013 remake of 2002 Japanese drama Ai Nante Irane Yo, Natsu (“I Don’t Need Love, Summer”). She played a blind heiress in the melodrama, opposite a con man pretending to be her long-lost brother (played by Jo In-sung). That Winter, the Wind Blows placed number one in its time slot during most of its run, and Song and Jo were praised for their performance. Song won the Daesang (or “Grand Prize”), the highest award for television, at the 2nd APAN Star Awards.

In 2014, Song reunited with Kang Dong-won in My Brilliant LifeE J-yong‘s film adaptation of Kim Aeran‘s bestselling novel My Palpitating Life about a couple who watched their son suffering from progeria grow prematurely old.

The romantic epic The Crossing was Song’s second Chinese film to be released. It was directed by John Woo (Woo’s longtime friend and producer Terence Chang has been managing Song’s overseas activities since 2008). Previously titled 1949 and Love and Let Love, the long-gestating project had originally been announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, then cancelled in 2009, and revived again in 2011. Woo’s recovery from tonsil tumor removal in 2012 led to another delay due to scheduling conflicts among the cast, and Song finally began filming in June 2013. The Crossing is based on the true story of the Taiping steamer collision. It follows six characters’ intertwining love stories in Taiwan and Shanghai during the 1930s. Song played the daughter of a wealthy banker.

Another Chinese film followed in 2015, The Queens, a contemporary romantic comedy about three cosmopolitan women – an actress, a PR specialist, and a gallery manager – who manipulate friends and put down their enemies as they play the game of love. Also starring Joe Chen and Vivian Wu, it was actress Annie Yi‘s directorial debut.

In 2016, Song starred in the mega-hit romantic comedy series Descendants of the Sun, an intense drama about an army captain (played by Song Joong-ki) and a surgeon who fall in love while working in disaster-torn areas. The drama was incredibly popular in Korea with a peak viewership rating of 41.6% and in Asia, where it was viewed 2.5 billion times on iQiyi. The popularity of the drama reestablished Song as a leader of the Hallyu. She topped popularity polls in Asia and was noted for her immense brand recognition in South Korea. Song won Daesang (Grand Prize), the highest award at the 2016 KBS Drama Awards along with her co-star, Song Joong-ki.

After a two-year hiatus, she returned in the small screen with romantic-melodrama Encounter alongside Park Bo-gum.

Personal life

Marriage

Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo

On July 5, 2017, Song and Descendants of the Sun co-star Song Joong-ki announced through their respective agencies that they were engaged. They married in a private ceremony on October 31, 2017, at Youngbingwan, Hotel Shilla in Seoul, amid intense media interest across Asia.The ceremony was attended by the couple’s closest family and friends, including actors Lee Kwang-sooYoo Ah-in, and Park Bo-gum, who also played the piano at the reception.

On June 27, 2019, Song Joong-ki revealed that he had filed for divorce with Song Hye-kyo the previous day .The divorce was finalised in July 2019.

On July 25, 2019, Song filed a complaint against fifteen online netizens for “spread of false information, defamation of character and insult.” While the reason for the divorce was cited by the talent agency as personal differences, rumors surrounding the scandal included claims that Song had entered into a sham marriage for the sake of enhancing her celebrity image. This allegation gained some credence, as it was reported that the actress rarely attended her husband’s family events, and that the couple had purchased a $12 million home in Seoul which was never occupied.

Legal

In August 2014, following inadvertent exposure by a politician overseeing the administration of the National Tax Service of South Korea, Song made a public apology for committing tax evasion when she claimed undocumented expenses. In response to allegations that she had underpaid income tax from 2009 to 2011 totaling ₩2.56 billion, she argued that her accountant had mishandled her paperwork without her knowledge. After receiving notification from the NTS in October 2012, Song paid the tax balance due plus understatement of income tax penalties in the aggregate of ₩3.8 billion (US$3.7 million). Song was again billed another ₩700 million in April 2014 against her 2008 tax filing, a result of the legally required five-year audit neglected since the 2012 notification.

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