Kang Hye-jung

Kang Hye-jung (born January 4, 1982) is a South Korean actress. Making her film debut in arthouse film Nabi (2001), she rose to stardom and critical acclaim in Park Chan-wook's 2003 revenge thriller Oldboy. A rising star early in her career, she gained acting awards for Han Jae-rim's relationship drama Rules of Dating (2005), and Park Kwang-hyun's Korean War comedy Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005).

Kang Hye-jung
Kang Hye-jung (2012, cropped).jpg
Kang Hye-jung at The Wedding Scheme premiere, on March 30, 2012
Born (1982-01-04) January 4, 1982 (age 40)
EducationSeoul Institute of the Arts - Theater
Years active1998–present
(m. 2009)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGang Hye-jeong
McCune–ReischauerKang Hyechŏng

Following roles as a developmentally disabled daughter in Herb (2007), a suicidal woman in Kill Me (2009), as well as her marriage to Tablo in 2009, Kang began starring in more conventional melodramas in TV and film such as Girlfriends (2009), Miss Ripley (2011), The Wedding Scheme (2012), Lucid Dream (2017) and Jugglers (2017–2018). Her major theatre stints include Korean stage adaptations of Proof (2010) and Educating Rita (2014–2015).


1998–2009: Early rise, critical successEdit

Kang Hye-jung began working as a model in her first year of high school.[1]

Throughout the late 1990s she appeared in small roles in TV dramas and sitcoms such as Jump and Nonstop 3. Her first film role was in Moon Seung-wook's arthouse/sci-fi film Nabi, for which she won a Best Actress award at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. Following this she appeared in a short film by Song Il-gon titled Flush as well as an internet film Naebang-nebang.[2]

Kang's first major hit film was opposite Choi Min-sik in the modern-day classic Oldboy by Park Chan-wook. Her portrayal of the character Mi-do won her considerable attention both domestically and abroad, and she also picked up acting honors from the Grand Bell Awards and Pusan Film Critics Association. The following year she also appeared in Cut, Park's 30-minute contribution to the omnibus horror film Three... Extremes.[2]

It was in 2005, however, that Kang established herself as a star outside of her appearance in Oldboy. The sharp-edged relationship drama Rules of Dating, in which she starred opposite Park Hae-il, proved to be an unexpected hit, and then two months later she took a small but central role in box office megahit Welcome to Dongmakgol.[2][3][4][5][6] In a 2005 survey of influential movie producers, she was ranked among the top ten most bankable stars.[7]

In 2006, she starred in Love Phobia opposite then-boyfriend Cho Seung-woo, as well as the Thai film Invisible Waves by rising directorial star Pen-ek Ratanaruang.[2][8][9]

After playing the developmentally disabled daughter to veteran actress Bae Jong-ok in the 2007 melodrama Herb,[10] in 2009 Kang starred in two unconventional romantic comedies with roles she imbued with her trademark quirkiness. She said she chose Why Did You Come to My House? hoping to "expand the realms" of her lovelorn stalker character; the director said she had written the script with Kang in mind from the beginning.[11][12] In Kill Me, she played a woman who, after several suicide attempts, hires a professional assassin (Shin Hyun-joon) to kill her, but he falls in love with her instead.[13][14]

2009–present: Turn to conventional rolesEdit

Kang in 2009

Known for taking risky roles, Kang gradually started going off the predictable path that the public expected her to take. In the 2009 film Girlfriends, she played an ordinary twenty-something girl who goes through growing pains and lovelife troubles when she discovers that her boyfriend is also involved with two other women.[15][16][17] Kang said that this career shift reflects the limited number of interesting scripts that she receives, as well as her calmer, softer state of mind after settling down.[18]

In 2010, Kang appeared in her first stage play Proof, portraying the role of Catherine, who worries whether she has inherited all of her mathematician father's genius and lunacy.[19]

After making the little-seen 2007 KBS drama Flowers for My Life with Cha Tae-hyun, Kang returned to television in 2011 in MBC's Miss Ripley, a tale of one woman (Lee Da-hae) who spins a web of love, ambition and lies.[20][21][22][23] Originally touted as a drama with four lead roles, Kang later expressed dismay and disappointment with her drastically reduced screen time.[24][25]

Kang made her English-language debut in the culture-clash romantic comedy Wedding Palace. Director Christine Yoo reportedly cast Kang after her distinctly Korean beauty in Oldboy and Welcome to Dongmakgol grabbed Yoo's attention.[26] Shot over a one-year period between October 2008 through November 2009,[27] the US-Korea co-production premiered at the 2011 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival[28] and received the Independent Feature Filmmakers Award at the 2011 Cine Gear Expo.[29]

Kang was next seen in rom-com cable TV series The Wedding Scheme, about a kimchi factory president so determined to marry off her four daughters that she embarks on a grand marriage project by getting her girls to cohabitate with prospective groom candidates. Of her role as the second eldest daughter, a strong and smart career woman, she said, "I've played a lot of nice or innocent characters before, so I think of this as a chance to take on a new challenge."[30]

Kang left her previous management agency YG Entertainment (which is also her husband's label) in 2013, and signed with C-JeS Entertainment.[31] She then played a small role in E J-yong's mockumentary Behind the Camera, and wrote the lyrics to "Good Thing," one of the songs on Bobby Kim's album Mirror.[32]

Kang starred in her second stage play Educating Rita in late 2014, about the relationship between a hairdresser and a middle-aged university lecturer.[33][34] She also played a supporting role in the film How to Steal a Dog.[35]

In 2016, Kang was cast in the film My Wife.[36]

In 2017, Kang played a psychiatrist in the sci-fi thriller Lucid Dream.[37] She made her return to television in December 2017 with office comedy series Jugglers.[38]

Personal lifeEdit

Kang majored in Performing Arts at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.[1]

Marriage and familyEdit

On October 26, 2009, Kang married Tablo of hip hop group Epik High while she was three months pregnant.[39][40] The couple's daughter, Haru, was born on May 2, 2010.[41][42][43] Their family was featured in the variety The Return of Superman.[44][45][46]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Flush short film
2001 Nabi Yuki
2003 Oldboy Mi-do
2004 Three... Extremes Director's wife segment: "Cut"
2005 Hoodwinked! Red Puckett (voice) animated film, Korean dubbed
Antarctic Journal Lee Yoo-jin
Rules of Dating Choi Hong
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance TV announcer (cameo)
Welcome to Dongmakgol Yeo-il
2006 Invisible Waves Noi Thai film
Love Phobia Ari
2007 Herb Cha Sang-eun
2009 Why Did You Come to My House? Lee Soo-kang
Kill Me Seo Jin-young
Triangle Oh Sung-hye telecinema
Girlfriends Song-yi
2011 Wedding Palace Na-young American film
2013 Behind the Camera
2014 How to Steal a Dog Jeong-hyeon
2017 Lucid Dream So-hyun
2017 My Wife
2017 The Man Only I Can See Special appearance

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network
1998 Eun-shil Jang Young-chae SBS
1999 Jump MBC
2003 Nonstop 3 Hye-jung (guest) MBC
Naebang nebang
2007 Flowers for My Life Na Ha-na KBS2
2008 On Air Herself (cameo, episodes 5 & 12) SBS
2011 Miss Ripley Moon Hee-joo MBC
2012 The Wedding Scheme Yoo Gun-hee tvN
2013-2015 The Return of Superman Herself (episodes 1 - 58) KBS2
2014 Drama Festival "Lump in My Life" Geum-ji MBC
2017-2018 Jugglers Wang Jeong-ae KBS2

Music videoEdit

Year Song Title Artist
1997 "Time" Taesaja
2002 "Please" Wax
2003 "Lonely Street Lights" Han Young-ae
"Desperado" Position
2004 [Part 1] "Timeless" SG Wannabe
[Part 2] "I Loved You to Death"
2008 "As I Look Into the Mirror" Gummy feat. Red Roc
2015 "Sold Out" Yankie feat. Tablo, Zion.T, Loco


Year Title Role
2010 Proof Catherine
2014–2015 Educating Rita Susan


Year Title Notes
2007 "Moments When We're Together" duet with Bae Jong-ok; track from the Herb OST

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Best Actress Nabi Won
2003 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Oldboy Won
2004 Grand Bell Awards Best New Actress Nominated
Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best New Actress Won
Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actress Won [47]
Korean Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
2005 Premiere Rising Star Awards Recipient Won
Busan Film Critics Awards Best Actress Rules of Dating Won [47]
Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Welcome to Dongmakgol Won [48]
Korean Film Awards Best Actress Rules of Dating Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Welcome to Dongmakgol Won [49]
2006 Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress Rules of Dating Nominated
Grand Bell Awards Best Supporting Actress Welcome to Dongmakgol Won [50]
2007 Korean Film Awards Best Actress Herb Nominated
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Flowers for My Life Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Kang Hye Jung lyrics and profile - MyAsianArtist". myasianartist.com. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Actors and Actresses of Korean Cinema: Gang Hye-jung" Archived May 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  3. ^ "A Rising Star in Her Own Right". The Chosun Ilbo. July 31, 2005.
  4. ^ "웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol) Press Screening Report". Twitch Film. July 20, 2005. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "More Comments from the 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol) Cast". Twitch Film. August 1, 2005. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "K-FILM REVIEWS: 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol)". Twitch Film. January 16, 2006. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "Jang Dong-gun Voted Korea's Most Bankable Star". The Chosun Ilbo. October 20, 2005.
  8. ^ "Star Couple Tackles Love on Big Screen". The Korea Times via Hancinema. April 3, 2006.
  9. ^ "Kang Hye-jung on Acting With Her Own Boyfriend". The Chosun Ilbo. April 26, 2006.
  10. ^ "Herb With Strong Scent of Kang". The Korea Times via Hancinema. January 11, 2007.
  11. ^ "Witty, unique yet knotty, My House aims at a new film genre". Yonhap. April 1, 2009.
  12. ^ "Actress Kang Talks About Stalker's Pain". KBS Global. March 6, 2009.
  13. ^ "Despite flaws, potential seen in newcomer's romantic comedy". Yonhap. October 27, 2009.
  14. ^ "Kiss Me, Kill Me (2009) Movie Review". Beyond Hollywood. March 19, 2010. Archived from the original on March 15, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  15. ^ "Press Conference - Movie Girlfriends". 10Asia. December 18, 2009.
  16. ^ "Interview: Kang Hye-jung - Part 1". 10Asia. December 17, 2009.
  17. ^ "Interview: Kang Hye-jung - Part 2". 10Asia. December 17, 2009.
  18. ^ "Kang Hye-jeong's Movie Picks". 10Asia. February 18, 2010.
  19. ^ "Kang Hye-jung, Lee Yoon-ji to Share Stage Role in Proof". The Chosun Ilbo. August 30, 2008.
  20. ^ "Cast of new MBC drama Ms. Ripley hold first script reading". 10Asia. March 24, 2011.
  21. ^ "Kang Hye-jung denies being pregnant". 10Asia. April 20, 2011.
  22. ^ "Love, ambitions & lies in Miss Ripley". The Korea Times. May 24, 2011.
  23. ^ "Miss Ripley taking cue from Shin Jeong-ah?". The Korea Herald. May 17, 2011.
  24. ^ 미스 리플리, 강혜정의 비중논란이 일어난 이유는? (in Korean). 10Asia. July 12, 2011.
  25. ^ "Kang Hye-jung dismayed over Ripley role". Dramabeans. July 13, 2011.
  26. ^ "Kang Hye-jung Cast in American Film Wedding Palace". KBS Global. August 5, 2008.
  27. ^ "US-Korean co-production The Wedding Palace to shoot in Oct". Screen International. July 29, 2008.
  28. ^ "Wedding Palace" Archived 2012-09-13 at the Wayback Machine. Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  29. ^ "Film Series Winners"[permanent dead link]. Cine Gear Expo 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
  30. ^ "Kang Hye-jung, Lee Gyu-han's The Wedding Scheme to air on April 2". 10Asia. March 14, 2012.
  31. ^ "Kang Hye-jung Joins JYJ's Agency". 10Asia. August 13, 2013. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014.
  32. ^ "1st album in 4 years for Bobby Kim". Korea JoongAng Daily. October 23, 2014.
  33. ^ "Kang Hye Jung Double Cast in Play Educating Rita with Kong Hyo Jin". enewsWorld. October 22, 2014. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  34. ^ "Rita Gong Hyo Jin highly compliments Kang Hye Jung". StarN News. November 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "Veteran Actors Wake Up from Hibernation in HOW TO STEAL A DOG". Korean Film Biz Zone. August 18, 2014.
  36. ^ "GANG Hye-jung and PARK Shin-yang Partner for MY WIFE". Korean Film Biz Zone. May 27, 2016.
  37. ^ "KO Soo and SUL Kyung-gu Wrap LUCID DREAM". Korean Film Biz Zone. July 10, 2015.
  38. ^ "Choi Daniel, Baek Jin Hee, Kang Hye Jeong, Lee Won Keun cast in new drama 'Jugglers.'". KBS World. October 25, 2017.
  39. ^ "Kang Hye-jung Talks About Impending Marriage". The Chosun Ilbo. September 19, 2009.
  40. ^ "Kang Hye-jung says Tablo always supportive". 10Asia. October 20, 2009.
  41. ^ "Actress Kang Gives Birth to Girl". The Korea Times. May 2, 2010.
  42. ^ "Kang Hye-jung gives birth to baby girl". 10Asia. May 3, 2010.
  43. ^ "Tablo talks about three tough years". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012.
  44. ^ "Tablo Explains Why He and Haru Left "The Return of Superman"". Soompi. October 14, 2015. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  45. ^ "Kang Hyejung's father and brother appear to greet Haru on KBS "The Return of Superman"". Koreaboo's Official Tumblr. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  46. ^ intan. "Get Closer to The Musical Genius Tablo and His Cute Daughter Haru | Channel-K". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  47. ^ a b "Film Awards Ceremonies in Korea". Korean Film.
  48. ^ "'Lady Vengeance' Bags Korea's Top Movie Honors". The Chosun Ilbo. November 30, 2005.
  49. ^ ""Welcome To Dongmakgol" wins best picture award". KBS World. December 5, 2005.
  50. ^ "43rd Crowns King and the Clown". Korean Film Biz Zone. July 26, 2006.

External linksEdit