Lee Yeon-hee

Lee Yeon-hee (born January 9, 1988) is a South Korean actress. She is most known for her work in the television series East of Eden (2008), Phantom (2012), Miss Korea (2013), The Package (2017); and in the films A Millionaire's First Love (2006), M (2007) and Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island (2015).

Lee Yeon-hee
이연희 Lee Yeon Hee 탄성 자아내는 미모 @ 유니클로U 2019SS 시즌 컬렉션 런칭 (1).png
Lee in January 2019
Born (1988-01-09) January 9, 1988 (age 34)[1]
Years active2001–present
AgentVAST Entertainment
(m. 2020)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Yeon-hui
McCune–ReischauerI Yŏnhŭi

Early lifeEdit

Lee was born on January 9, 1988, in South Korea. In 2002, Lee successfully signed a contract with SM after she won the category of "Best Feature" in the SM Entertainment Best Youth contest.[2] For the contest, she acted out a monologue, singing to Dana "Until the End of the World" and also did freestyle modeling poses. After she joined the company, she began intense training lessons on acting, singing, and dancing.


2002–2006: BeginningsEdit

Soon after she joined SM, Lee began her career by starring in music videos for SM artists, such as boy band TVXQ, Moon Hee-jun, Kangta, Shinhwa, and Fly to the Sky, overtaking SM artists Kim Bomi (of M.I.L.K.) and Lee Jiyeon (commonly known as CSJH The Grace's Lina) as "The SM music video girl".[3]

Though Lee had relatively steady work between modelling in magazines, commercial ads and appearing in music videos, she did not officially debut until late 2004. In November 2004, she starred as the younger version of the main character in the hit historical drama Emperor of the Sea, and appeared in the latter episodes of the daily drama My Lovely Family.[4][5] Lee had her first major role in television in MBC's mini-series One Fine Day (2006).[6]

2007–2012: Rising popularity & acting criticismEdit

In 2007, Lee starred in romance melodrama A Millionaire's First Love alongside Hyun Bin.[7] She also made her singing debut for the film, singing "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music and Insa for the film's original soundtrack. Lee's innocent image in the film earned her the title of "Nation's First Love" in Korea.[8][9] Lee followed this with moderately successful film, M alongside Kang Dong-won; and starred alongside So Ji-sub in the short film, U-Turn.[10][11]

In 2008, she starred as one of the main cast in 47th MBC Anniversary Project East of Eden.[12] Despite the drama's success, her acting in the series received overwhelming negative criticism about her vocalization, unexpressive facial expressions, and unnatural emotional expression as problems in portraying her character.[13] Lee returned to film, starring in Hello, Schoolgirl opposite Yoo Ji-tae. The story is based on the manhwa Soonjeong Manwha by Kang Pool.[14]

In 2011, Lee starred opposite Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri and Fan Bing-bing in Kang Je-gyu's big budget historical film My Way,[15] and in romance comedy series Paradise Ranch by S.M. Entertainment alongside label-mate Shim Chang-min of boy band TVXQ.[16][17] In 2012, Lee reunited with U-Turn co-star So Ji-sub in the crime thriller Phantom.[18][19] Both Lee and So were named promotional ambassadors for cyber crime prevention by the National Police Agency in 2012.[20]

2013–present: Career resurgence and continued successEdit

In 2013, Lee made a special appearance in the historical drama Gu Family Book, where she received compliments for her improvement in acting.[21][22] She next starred in romantic comedy film Marriage Blue, which tells the story of an engaged couple who experience last-minute jitters and cold feet just a week before their wedding ceremony.[23] Lee closed the year with television series Miss Korea to positive reviews, with many considering her role as her best performance to date.[24]

Lee further challenged herself with a provocative role as the mysterious and seductive Japanese geisha Hisako in the historical comedy Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island in 2015.[25][26] She then starred in MBC's 54th anniversary drama, Splendid Politics.[27]

In 2017, Lee starred in SBS's fantasy romance drama Reunited Worlds alongside Yeo Jin-goo.[28] She then starred in JYP Entertainment's travel romance drama The Package opposite Jung Yong-hwa,[29] and was complimented for her performance as a tour guide.[30]

In 2020, Lee starred in mystery drama The Game: Towards Zero, reuniting with Ok Taec-yeon with whom she starred in the 2013 film Marriage Blue.[31][32] However she was criticized for her bad acting skills by viewers.[33]

In 2020, Lee signed a contract with VAST Entertainment after her contract with SM expired.[34]

Personal lifeEdit

On June 2, 2020, Lee married her non-celebrity boyfriend in a private ceremony.[35]



Year Title Role Ref.
2006 A Millionaire's First Love Choi Eun-hwan [7]
2007 M Mi-mi [10]
My Love So-hyeon [36]
2008 U-Turn Yeon-hee [11]
Hello, Schoolgirl Han Soo-young [14]
2011 My Way Kim Eun-soo [15]
2013 Marriage Blue So-mi [23]
2015 Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island Hisako [25]
2021 New Year Blues Jin Ah [37]

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network Ref.
2004 Emperor of the Sea young Jung-hwa KBS2 [38]
My Lovely Family Yeon-ji KBS1 [39]
2005 Resurrection Kang Shin-young KBS2 [40]
2006 One Fine Day Goo Hyo-joo MBC [6]
2008 East of Eden Gook Young-ran/Grace [12]
2011 Paradise Ranch Lee Da-ji SBS [41]
2012 Phantom Yoo Kang-mi [18]
2013 Gu Family Book Yoon Seo-hwa (Special appearance) MBC [21]
Miss Korea Oh Ji-young [42]
2015 Splendid Politics Princess Jeongmyeong [27]
2017 Reunited Worlds Jung Jung-won SBS [28]
The Package Yoon So-so jTBC [29]
2020 The Game: Towards Zero Seo Jun Young MBC [43]
SF8 To Sun-ho (Episode: "Manxin")

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Role Ref.
2022 Welcome to Wedding Hell Kim Na-eun [44]

Variety showEdit

Year Title Role Network Ref.
2018 Island Trio 2 Cast member O'live, tvN [45]

Music video appearancesEdit

Year Song title Artist Ref.
2001 "Alone" Moon Hee-joon [46]
"Our Story" Moon Hee-joon feat. Oh Sang-eun
"Thanks God" Kangta
2002 "Condition of My Heart" Fly to the Sky
"Hero" Shinhwa
"Memories" Kangta
"Pine Tree"
2003 "Habit" Fly to the Sky
2004 "My Little Princess" TVXQ
"The Way U Are"
2005 "Persona" Kangta
"One" TVXQ
2006 "Timeless" Zhang Liyin feat. Xia [47]
2008 "Star Wish (I Will)" Zhang Liyin
"The Left Shore of Happiness"
"M-net Love Song 2008"
2009 "Wizard Of Oz" Clazziquai
2010 "Miss You" S.M. The Ballad [48]


Year English title Korean title Role Ref.
2021 King Lear 리어왕 Cordelia / stupid clown [49]


Year Song title Notes Ref.
2009 "Club No.1" Track 9 from Super Junior's album Sorry, Sorry [50]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 2nd SM Best Youth Contest Grand Prize Won [2]
2005 KBS Drama Awards Best Young Actress Resurrection Nominated
2006 5th Korean Film Awards Best New Actress A Millionaire's First Love Nominated
2007 6th Korean Film Awards M Nominated
2008 5th Max Movie Awards Won [51]
44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Nominated
31st Golden Cinematography Awards Best New Actress Won [52]
MBC Drama Awards Best New Actress East of Eden Won [53]
Popularity Award, Actress Won [54]
Best Couple Award with Song Seung-heon Won [55]
2009 45th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (TV) Nominated
2012 7th Asia Model Festival Awards Fashionista Award Won [56]
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Phantom Nominated
Netizen Popularity Award, Actress Nominated
2013 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Gu Family Book Nominated
2014 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Miss Korea Nominated
Popularity Award, Actress Nominated
2015 Korean Film Actors' Guild Awards Popularity Award Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island Won [57]
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Splendid Politics Nominated
Popularity Award, Actress Nominated
2017 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Wednesday-Thursday Drama Reunited Worlds Nominated [58]


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  3. ^ 뮤직비디오 속 스타들이 숨어있다. My Daily (in Korean). 12 February 2007.
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  7. ^ a b 열아홉, 그 씩씩한 사랑스러움, <백만장자의 첫사랑> 이연희. Cine21 (in Korean). 18 February 2006.
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  13. ^ 이연희 "연기력 논란, 애정어린 채찍질은 약이 돼요". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). 13 November 2008.
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  29. ^ a b "Jung Yong-hwa and Lee Yeon-hee sign on for JTBC's 'The Package'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 4 August 2016.
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External linksEdit