Lee Da-hae

Lee Da-hae, or Lee Da-hey (born Byun Da-hye on April 19, 1984) is a Korean Australian actress. She is best known for her roles in Korean dramas such as My Girl (2005), Green Rose (2005), The Slave Hunters (2010), Miss Ripley (2011), and Hotel King (2014), as well as the Chinese dramas Love Actually (2012) and Best Couple (2016).

Lee Da-hae
이다해의 스프링 드레스룩 (3).jpg
Byun Da-hye

(1984-04-19) April 19, 1984 (age 36)
Other namesCherry Byeon, Lee Da-hey
Alma materKonkuk University - Theater and Film[2]
Years active2001–present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Dahae
McCune–ReischauerRi Tahae
Birth name
Revised RomanizationByeon Dahye
McCune–ReischauerPyŏn Tahye

Lee Da-hae is well known for being fluent in Korean, Japanese, English and Chinese, earning her huge popularity in China. She is the first Korean actress to speak her lines in Mandarin, displaying her linguistic skills in Chinese dramas.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Lee Da-hae, or known by her birth name as Byun Da-hye, was born in Seoul, South Korea on April 19, 1984. When she was in the fifth grade, Lee and her family moved to Sydney, Australia. Throughout her adolescence, she performed traditional Korean dance in various festivals, and was known as the "Korean Dancer Girl" at school. Her years of living abroad and studying in Australia made her become fluent in English and Chinese. In her junior year at Burwood Girls High School, Lee and her mother moved back to Seoul to pursue an acting career after winning a pageant while on leave of school. She now lives with her mother in Seoul while her father and her older brother still reside in Sydney.[4]


2001–2004: Beginnings and mainstream popularityEdit

Byun made her entertainment debut when she won the 71st Miss Chunhyang Pageant in 2001. Using the stage name Lee Da-hae, she began to appear in minor and supporting roles in television dramas.

In 2004, Lee was cast in her first leading role in the Im Sung-han drama Lotus Flower Fairy (also known internationally as Heaven's Fate[5]), in which she played the pure-hearted daughter of a shaman who becomes alienated by her family and society after her identity is revealed.[6] She won Best New Actress at the 41st Baeksang Arts Awards for her performance.

2005–2009: Rising successEdit

But 2005 would become Lee's breakout year. She showcased her versatility in two successful, but very different series. In Green Rose, her character falls in love with a man who gets framed for the attempted murder of her father; years later, she becomes slowly convinced that a doppelgänger is in fact, her boyfriend whom everybody had assumed was dead. Green Rose is her first TV series produced by SBS, Lee reunited with her Lotus Flower Fairy co-stars Jung Hye-sun and Han Jin-hee in Green Rose. In My Girl, she played a lovable con artist who agrees to act as a hotelier's long-lost cousin in order to fulfill his grandfather's last wishes.[7] My Girl, in particular, shot Lee to domestic and Korean Wave stardom.

She returned to the romantic comedy genre in 2007 with Hello! Miss. Lee played the last living daughter of a once-respected clan in the countryside whose traditional feminine virtues is put to the test when the son of a rich investor demands that she sell her ancestral house to him.[8]

In 2008, she starred in Robber, in the role of a young widowed single mother who is targeted by a con man for her savings, but he falls in love with her for real. Later that year, Lee was originally cast as the heroine in the inter-generational epic East of Eden, set against the backdrop of a coal mining town in Taebaek through the 1960s until the present.[9] In this series, Lee reunited with her Sweet 18 co-star Han Ji-hye. Though the drama was a hit, as it went on, Lee's screen time became drastically reduced in favor of other storylines, such that she decided to leave the show in episode 40.[10][11]

2009–2014: Breakthrough popularityEdit

Lee joined Rain's agency J. Tune Entertainment in 2009, then appeared in the music video for "Pas de Deux" with Taiwanese singer/actor Will Pan. She was also admitted to Konkuk University, where she majored in Theater and Film.

In 2010, Lee starred in the hit Joseon period/fusion drama The Slave Hunters, in which she played Un-nyun, who is torn between her past love, a yangban-turned-slave hunter, and her present companion, a general-turned-slave.[10] Lee reunited with her Green Rose co-stars Lee Jong-hyuk and Sung Dong-il. Early in the series, some viewers criticized her for having pristine makeup and manicured nails despite portraying a slave on the run, for allegedly wearing a wrist watch onscreen, and her supposedly "inappropriate and gratuitous" cleavage exposure when her hanbok top was removed in an attempted rape scene. Lee opined that those issues weren't a big deal, and had only been magnified by the show's popularity.[12] Her character also received criticism for being an overly passive damsel in distress, and a "Public Menace Un-nyun" (민폐언년) meme circulated, to the extent that writer Chun Sung-il issued a public defense and apology towards Lee.[13]

In what would have been her big screen debut, she was cast in Song of Springs, a 3D film adaptation of the novel by Kim Hoon about the creator of the gayageum.[14] But funding fell through and the film was never made.

She was then cast in the leading role of Korea's first female royal barista who plots to assassinate King Gojong through poisoned coffee in Gabi, adapted from the historical fiction novel Russian Coffee by Kim Tak-hwan. Lee agreed to star in the film via verbal agreement,[15] but when she dropped out of the project ten days before filming began, production company Ocean Film sued her for breach of contract. In September 2012, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, ordering Lee to pay ₩21 million (US$19,000) in damages, or 40% liability.[16] Lee was replaced by Kim So-yeon.

In 2011, Lee played an antiheroine with a traumatic past who lies and manipulates her way up the hotel executive ladder and into the hearts of two powerful men in Miss Ripley. She called the role "a turning point in her acting career."[17] Lee's character was inspired by Shin Jeong-ah, a former curator convicted for fabricating her academic credentials and embezzling funds, and the title references the Hollywood film The Talented Mr. Ripley.[18]

Lee, who is fluent in English and Mandarin, and has a significant fan base in China with more than six million followers on her Weibo microblog, made her Chinese television drama debut in 2012.[19][20] Previous Korean actresses who had appeared in Chinese productions spoke their lines in Korean and were later dubbed, but Lee worked hard to master the language and fully memorized her lines, making her the first Korean actress to perform in Mandarin.[3] In Love Recipe (internationally known as Love Actually) opposite Taiwanese actor Joe Cheng, she played a part-timer raising her niece on her own who discovers her talent for cooking at a dim sum restaurant and dreams of becoming a chef.[21][22] It was shot in Shanghai and aired on Hunan TV.[23] Also that year, her contract with DBM Entertainment ended, and she signed with a new agency, Forestar Entertainment.[24][25]

Lee returned to Korean television in the 2013 espionage-action drama Iris II, the sequel to the 2009 hit series. This was her third time to be paired onscreen with Jang Hyuk, after Robber (2008) and The Slave Hunters (2010).[26]

Lee signed with a new agency, FNC Entertainment in 2014.[27][28] She reunited with previous My Girl costar Lee Dong-wook in Hotel King, in which she played an heiress trying to save the family-owned seven-star hotel.[29][30] After Hotel King ended, Lee landed seven endorsement deals with clothing and cosmetic brands across Asia.[31]

2015–2018: Acting setbackEdit

Lee was next cast as a top actress forced to marry an actor she hates in the Korean-Chinese drama Best Couple; it is the first TV series produced by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and aired in China in early 2016. and recorded more than 100 million views.[32][33]

In April 2016, Lee left FNC Entertainment and signed an exclusive contract with JS Pictures.[34][35]

In 2018, Lee is set to return to the small screen in Korea, starring in SBS' drama Good Witch.[36]

2019–present: New agenciesEdit

In April 2019, Lee signed an exclusive contract with FN Entertainment.[37]

Personal lifeEdit

In December 2013, Lee filed defamation charges against Internet users who spread malicious rumors claiming she had been involved in an upscale celebrity prostitution ring.[38][39] Prosecutors cleared Lee of the allegations, stating that she was not one of the entertainers being investigated.[40][41]

On September 6, 2016 an exclusive report from Sports Chosen reported that Lee and singer Se7en have been dating for over a year.[42]


Year Song title Notes
2006 "If You are Willing To" (당신이 원하신다면) track from My Girl OST, sung in episode 4
2007 "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Korean version) digital single to benefit Donors Camp
2008 "Can, Can, Can!" for Samsung Hauzen
Kimchi Refrigerator commercial


Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 71st Miss Chunhyang Contest N/A N/A Won
2004 MBC Drama Awards Best New Actress Lotus Flower Fairy Won
2005 41st Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress for TV[43] Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special My Girl Won
2006 SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars My Girl Won
2007 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries[44] Hello! Miss Won
2008 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress East of Eden Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Robber Nominated
2009 4th Asia Model Festival Awards Popular Star Award N/A Won
2010 47th Savings Day Presidential Citation for Frugality N/A Won
China Fashion Awards Asian Fashion Leader[45] N/A Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress The Slave Hunters Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Nominated
Best Couple Award with Jang Hyuk[46] Won
2011 6th Asia Model Festival Awards Asia Star Award N/A Won
Yahoo! Asia Buzz Awards Korea's Top Female Star N/A Won
19th Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) for Acting in a Drama[47] Miss Ripley Won
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
2012 3rd LeTV Film and Drama Awards Best Actress in a TV Drama[48] Love Actually Won
2013 8th Asia Model Festival Awards Asia Star Award N/A Won
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Iris II Nominated
2014 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Hotel King Nominated


  1. ^ "이다해(LEE Da-hae)". Korea Box Office Information System. Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  2. ^ 이다해. Naver Profiles (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  3. ^ a b "Lee Da-hae Displays Language Skills in Chinese Soap". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 April 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  4. ^ "Goodwill Ambassadors". Australia-Korea Year of Friendship 2011. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  5. ^ "Heaven's Fate". MBC Global Media. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  6. ^ Lee, Jin-yeong (4 May 2004). "Kim Sung-tak to Play Lead In MBC's Fairy of the Flower King". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  7. ^ Shin, Hae-in (12 December 2005). "An 'irresistible trickster' to meet viewers in My Girl". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  8. ^ Lee, Min-a (20 March 2007). "Lee returns to romantic comedies". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  9. ^ Han, Sang-hee (19 August 2008). "TV Dramas Gear Up for Post-Olympics Race". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  10. ^ a b Han, Sang-hee (5 January 2010). "Heroines Line Up for Dramas in 2010". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  11. ^ "Lee Da Hae opens up on leaving East of Eden". Allkpop. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  12. ^ "Lee Da-hae Has Big Plans After Slave Hunters Success". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  13. ^ "천성일 작가 "이다해 씨에게 미안"". Yonhap News Agency (in Korean). 15 February 2012.
  14. ^ Hong, Lucia (June 2010). "Lee Da-hae make big screen debut with Song of Springs". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  15. ^ Kim, Heidi (30 December 2010). "Joo Jin-mo and Lee Da-hae cast in new historical film". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  16. ^ "Lee Da Hae's lawsuit has came to a final decision and she is responsible to pay Ocean Film for their partial loss". Korea Star Daily via Yahoo!. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  17. ^ Kwon, Mee-yoo (24 May 2011). "Love, ambitions & lies in Miss Ripley". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  18. ^ Oh, Jean (17 May 2011). "Miss Ripley taking cue from Shin Jeong-ah?". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  19. ^ Park, Eun-jee (10 August 2012). "Lee Da-hae to debut on Hunan TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  20. ^ "Actress Lee Da-hae Meets Fans in China". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  21. ^ Hong, Lucia (2 March 2012). "Lee Da-hae to play female lead in Chinese TV series". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  22. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (8 August 2013). "Lee Da-hey's Chinese Drama to Premiere in Korea". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  23. ^ Hong, Lucia (6 April 2012). "Lee Da-hae's Chinese TV series to begin air in August". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  24. ^ "이다해(Lee Da Hey)". Forestar Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  25. ^ Hong, Lucia (29 February 2012). "Lee Da-hae signs with Jung Suk-won's agency". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  26. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (21 September 2012). "Jang Hyuk and Lee Da-hae to star in Iris 2". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  27. ^ Lee, Cory (6 January 2014). "Actress Lee Da-hey Joins FNC Entertainment". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  28. ^ Lee, Sun-min (7 January 2014). "New Year brings new agencies". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  29. ^ Kim, Jessica (13 February 2014). "Lee Dong-wook, Lee Da-hae to Star in New Series". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  30. ^ Lee, Min-ji (27 March 2014). "Hotel King Lee Dong Wook and Lee Dae Hae Praise Each Other". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  31. ^ "Lee Da-hae lands seven commercials". Hancinema. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  32. ^ Jin, Min-ji (15 August 2015). "Lee Da-hey mulling new role". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  33. ^ "Korean-Chinese drama starring Lee Da-hae records high viewership". Yonhap News Agency. 21 November 2016.
  34. ^ Be, So-dam (6 April 2016). "이다해, 결국 JS픽쳐스와 전속계약 확정[공식입장]". OSEN. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  35. ^ "Lee Da-hae moves to JS Pictures, strengthens activities in China". Kpop Herald. 7 April 2016.
  36. ^ "Lee Da-hae, Ryu Soo-young, Ahn Woo-yeon, Bae Soo-bin and Yoon Se-ah to star in SBS's "Nice Witch"". Hancinema (in Korean). Sports News. 12 December 2017.
  37. ^ "이다해, 새 소속사 찾았다 "박하나 임수향과 한솥밥"(공식입장)". Newsen. 17 April 2019.
  38. ^ Lee, Sun-min (18 December 2013). "Stars sue to stop rumors". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  39. ^ Bae, Ji-sook (23 December 2013). "Celebrities want rumormongers rooted out". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  40. ^ "Actresses cleared of prostitution allegations". The Korea Times. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  41. ^ Park, Si-soo (20 December 2013). "Stars declare war on rumor-mongers". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  42. ^ "Se7en and Lee Da-hae confirm they are dating". Kpop Herald. 7 September 2016.
  43. ^ Kim, Soo-jin (20 May 2005). "'말아톤' '파리의 연인' 백상예술대상 대상 (종합)" [Marathon, Lovers in Paris are Baeksang Arts Awards Grand Prize winners]. Star News (in Korean). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  44. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. Star Money. 7 January 2007.
  45. ^ Kim, Heidi (30 November 2010). "Actress Lee Da-hae wins China Fashion Awards". TenAsia. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  46. ^ "Jang Hyuk scores top prize at KBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. 3 January 2011.
  47. ^ "So Ji-sub, Park Hae-il, Lee Tae-gon win top prize at culture and entertainment ceremony". 10Asia. 16 December 2011.
  48. ^ Ho, Stewart (12 October 2012). "Lee Da Hae Wins Best Actress Award at China's 3rd LETV Movie and Drama Awards". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-25.

External linksEdit