From Seo Jae-ho to Jonghyun, Tany, Seo Jae-ho, as well as RiSe and EunB, the list of K-Pop stars who have died young only keeps getting longer. On October 10, 2019, the world awoke to the death of yet another K-Pop star, Sulli whose sudden demise at 25 has brought up questions again on the pressure of fame on young Korean stars.
Born Choi Jin-ri, she was an actress and singer who gained fame as a member of the band f(X). She was also had a pretty successful modeling career. Since her death, there have been many speculations on how she died and what really caused it. Here’s all about her life and what led to her death.
Things You Didn’t Know About Sulli
1. She started her entertainment career very early
Choi Jin-RI’s journey to becoming an entertainer began when she was only 11. The Busan-born idol auditioned for one of the biggest entertainment companies in Korea, SM Entertainment in 2005 and got accepted. By 2009, she had already become a member of the K-Pop girl group that had others like Victoria, Amber, Luna, and Krystal.
2. Departure from f(X) and acting
Although the band was achieving great success both at home and internationally, Sulli decided to call it quits to focus on her acting career in 2015. Since then, she only managed to appear in a film, Real in 2017 and then in 2019, she made a cameo in the TV series Hotel Del Luna.
3. Dating controversy
As a K-pop idol, one is not expected to be in a relationship because of the need to give men the idea, no matter how little, that they stand a chance with you. Choi Jin-ri flouted this rule by dating the most unlikely person, rapper Choiza who was 14 years older than her at the time. Even though it caused a major controversy, the relationship lasted for two years before ending in 2017.
Not done, she dated another man who was not a celebrity shortly was afterward named Kim Min Joon. The relationship did not last long before it came to an end.
4. Sulli refused to conform to the standards set
Once you are an idol, there are some sets of standards that you are expected to maintain not only by the industry, but also by fans. Sulli did not conform to some of these standards, making herself a target of attack for many on social media.
For example, fans expect their idols to always wear their bras but the former f(X) member decided she wouldn’t always wear it for health reasons and also because she felt it would not necessarily align with everything she wore.
5. She spoke for things many were scared of
When it comes to things like feminism, body positivity, and mental health, there are not too many stars in Korea that are willing to come out and speak. However, the former K-Pop star spoke about them, giving voice to others also.
6. Sulli was constantly a target of cyberbullies and trolls
Because she was never going to back down, she became a constant target of trolls who attacked her for her stands on the rights of women and outspokenness. She was also a target of homophobic abuse in 2017 after she kissed her friend, Gu Ha-ra who is also an idol on the lips.
7. Pregnancy rumors
In the past, there was a pregnancy rumor that went wild about her. She revealed that she went to the hospital for examination as a result of the hurt she suffered from people. When she was through with the examination and nothing was found, she proceeded for a gynecological exam and it was when she went there that a photo of her medical chart was taken by a hospital employee who shared it on social media. That became the genesis of the rumor.
What Led to Her Death?
The death of Sulli came as a shock to many because she was one of the few people that refused to bow to the social norms or get swayed by the crowd. What was even more surprising was the reports that she died of suicide. Although there were some reports that claimed she left a suicide note in her diary, it was later found not to be true.
Though no official cause has been given for her death, it is known that she suffered from depression for years and continuous abuse and bullying that on social media while in real life, she claimed she often felt alone with no one to turn to.
Apart from the toxic fandom that exists in South Korea, there is also a strict social norm that is set for celebrities which have become a thing of concern because of the pressure it puts on them, leading to the death of such idols at a very young age.