Lee Yo-won (born April 9, 1980) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Queen Seondeok in the eponymous hit period drama.

Lee Yo-won
190502 이요원.jpg
Lee Yo-won in 2019
Born (1980-04-09) April 9, 1980 (age 43)
EducationDankook University - Theater and Film
Years active1997–present
AgentManagement Koo
Height1.72 m (5 ft 7+12 in)
Park Jin-woo
(m. 2003)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Yo-won
McCune–ReischauerI Yowŏn


Lee Yo-won was a sophomore in high school when she won a modeling contest and first appeared as a model in the November 1997 issue of fashion magazine Figaro. This led to commercials, then to minor roles in television series and movies. Though she started getting recognized by the public after the box-office success of anarchic comedy Attack the Gas Station (1999),[1] her first notable acting role was in controversial TV drama Blue Mist (2001), where she played a young woman in her 20s who becomes romantically involved with a married man in his 40s.[2]

Critical darling Take Care of My Cat (2001) followed shortly, for which she received several newcomer awards. In a later interview with Elle Korea in 2009, she cited the film as her most memorable work.[3]

But after starring in a number of big-screen star vehicles that weren't received well by audiences and critics, Lee felt mentally and physically exhausted.[4] After finishing the historical drama Daemang (lit. "The Great Ambition", 2002), she made the surprising announcement that she was temporarily retiring from the entertainment scene.[5]

Lee made a successful acting comeback in 2005, as the lead actress in period drama Fashion 70's, which she chose because she wanted to work with TV director Lee Jae-gyu (who had previously directed Damo), and because it was not a typical love story, but depicted a woman's success in life and career.[6] A supporting role followed in romantic comedy When Romance Meets Destiny.[4]

Lee Yo-won at the 49 days press conference in 2011.

In 2007, Lee played the titular character in hit medical drama/romance Surgeon Bong Dal-hee,[7] though her next series, melodrama Bad Love was less successful in the ratings.[8] She then switched to more serious fare as part of the ensemble cast of May 18, a film about the Gwangju massacre and one of the highest grossing Korean films of all time.[9][10]

Tired of playing fragile characters, Lee portrayed Queen Seondeok of Silla in the massively popular period drama Queen Seondeok (2009).[11] Her follow-up, fantasy melodrama 49 Days (2011) in which she played dual roles as a woman possessed, also resonated with audiences.[12][13] Afterwards she appeared in Horse Doctor (2012) about a Joseon-era veterinarian turned royal physician,[14] and Empire of Gold (2013) which revolved around a power struggle over a chaebol.[15][16]

On the big screen, Lee said after her enjoyable experience working with Jeong Jae-eun on Take Care of My Cat, she wanted to work with other female directors, so she starred in Anna Lee's romantic mystery The Recipe (2010)[17][18] and Bang Eun-jin's crime thriller Perfect Number (2012). In contrast, she was cast in the only female starring role in Kang Woo-suk's Fists of Legend (2013), about middle-aged men who join a televised mixed martial arts tournament/reality show.[19]

In 2016, Lee made a successful comeback to the small screen with the quirky romantic-comedy My Horrible Boss. Her role as a hot-headed career woman was well-received, with many citing it as her "rediscovery role".[20] She then participated in another film, titled Yes, Family, playing a reporter who is the oldest among-st four siblings.[21] Lee also starred in the MBC drama Night Light, alongside Jin Goo and Uee.[22]

In 2017, Lee starred in the black comedy series Avengers Social Club.[23]

In 2019, Lee starred in the espionage melodrama Different Dreams and [24] The Running Mates: Human Rights.

Personal lifeEdit

Lee married businessman and professional golfer Park Jin-woo on January 10, 2003.[25][26] The couple have two daughters & one son (born in Dec 2003, May 2014 and May 2015).[27][28][29][30]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1998 Scent of a Man young Eun-hye
1999 Attack the Gas Station Ggal-chi
2001 Take Care of My Cat Shin Hye-joo
2002 A.F.R.I.K.A. Lee Ji-won [31]
Surprise Party Wang Ha-young [32]
2005 When Romance Meets Destiny Go Yun-kyung [33]
2007 May 18 Park Shin-ae [34]
2010 The Recipe Jang Hye-jin [35]
2012 Perfect Number Baek Hwa-sun [36]
2013 Fists of Legend Hong Gyu-min [37]
2017 My Little Brother Oh Soo-kyung [38]

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Network
1998 I Hate You, But It's Fine Lee Bit-na SBS
1999 March Jung Yo-won
School 2 Kim Yeon-jin KBS2
2000 Tough Guy's Love[39] Heo Ji-hye
2001 Blue Mist Lee Shin-woo
Pure Heart[40] Han Se-jin/Kang Hyun-joo
2002 The Great Ambition Yoon Yeo-jin SBS
2005 Fashion 70's Han Deo-mi
2007 Surgeon Bong Dal-hee Bong Dal-hee
Cruel Love Na In-jung KBS2
2009 Queen Seondeok Princess Deokman/Queen Seondeok MBC
2011 49 Days Song Yi-kyung SBS
2012 The King's Doctor Kang Ji-nyeong MBC
2013 Empire of Gold Choi Seo-yoon SBS
2016 My Horrible Boss Ok Da-jung JTBC
Night Light Seo Yi-kyung MBC
2017 Avengers Social Club Kim Jung-hye tvN
2019 Different Dreams Lee Young-jin MBC
The Running Mates: Human Rights Han Yoon-seo OCN
2022 Green Mothers Club[41] Lee Eun-pyo JTBC


Year Title Episode
2008 tvN World Special "LOVE" Vietnam

Music videoEdit

Year Song title Artist
1998 "Please Baby Don't Cry" Deep
1999 "Will You Forgive Me" A4
"To Her Lover" K2
2000 "I Love You" Position
2001 "I Wish You Happiness (Joy Project - 1 Year of Love)" WHY
2002 "울고 싶어지는 오후" Ji Seo-ryeon
2006 "Liquor" Vibe
2007 "Love's Greeting" SeeYa
"Ice Doll"
2009 "I'm Terrible in Love" Shin Seung-hun
2012 "Love Is All the Same" Yangpa


Year Song title Notes
2009 "Bidam (A Sad Story)" Track from Queen Seondeok Special OST Part 2

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year presented, name of the award ceremony, category, nominated work and the result of the nomination
Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 KBS Drama Awards Popularity Award Blue Mist Won [42]
9th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actress Take Care of My Cat Won
22nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress Won [43]
4th Director's Cut Awards Best New Actress Won [44]
2002 38th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Won [45]
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award The Great Ambition Won [46]
2005 Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Fashion 70's Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2007 27th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Leading Actress May 18 Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Surgeon Bong Dal-hee Won [47]
Netizen Popularity Award Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Beom-soo Won
Top 10 Stars Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Bad Love Nominated
2009 22nd Grimae Awards Best Actress Queen Seondeok Won [48]
10th Korea Visual Arts Festival Photogenic Award Won [49]
MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Won [50]
Best Couple Award with Kim Nam-gil Won
2010 Asia Model Awards Special Award for Asian Drama Won [51]
2011 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special 49 Days Nominated [52]
Producers' Award, Actress Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2012 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Horse Doctor Nominated
2013 6th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Empire of Gold Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Won [53]
Top 10 Stars Won
2019 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Monday-Tuesday Miniseries Different Dreams Nominated


Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Forbes 2010 Korea Power Celebrity 22nd [54]


  1. ^ 스타데이트 이요원 <탤런트>. Hankyung (in Korean). 22 March 2001.
  2. ^ Shin, Yong-ho (10 June 2001). "Lee Transforms, Playing Vixen or Angel". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ Yoon, Tae-hee (15 December 2009). '선덕여왕' 이요원, 패션화보도 '여왕포스'. 10Asia (in Korean). Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  4. ^ a b "Lee Yo-Won Talks 광식이 동생 광태 (When Romance Meets Destiny)". Film2.0 via Twitch Film. 2 December 2005. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  5. ^ "<연합인터뷰>SBS「대망」의 이요원". Yonhap News (in Korean). 10 October 2002.
  6. ^ Suh, Jung-bo (12 May 2005). "Weekend Date: Lee Yo-won". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  7. ^ "Dr. Drama". The Dong-a Ilbo. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  8. ^ "Lee Yo-won to costar Kwon Sang-woo in Bad Love". Hancinema. Broasia. 22 October 2007.
  9. ^ "Lee Yo-won Conjures the Spirits of May 18". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  10. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (10 July 2007). "May 18 Remembers Heroes of Gwangju". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  11. ^ Han, Sang-hee (9 May 2009). "New Epic Drama to Bring Rivalry, Love to TV". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  12. ^ Lee, Ga-on (8 June 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Yo-won - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  13. ^ Lee, Ga-on (8 June 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Yo-won - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  14. ^ Nam, Woo-jeong (25 September 2012). "Horse Doctor Lee Yo Won talks about her relationship with Cho Seung Woo". StarN News. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  15. ^ Cho, Suyoun (24 January 2013). "Heroine of a hit series Empire of Gold Lee Yo won meets fashion magazine ELLE". BNTNews. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  16. ^ "Ko Soo, Lee Yo-won to Struggle for Power and Money in New TV Series". 10Asia. 24 May 2013. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Lee Yo-won said that she became more muscular thanks to her husband". Hancinema. 18 October 2010.
  18. ^ "Ryoo Seung-bum, Lee Yo-won cast in new movie". 10Asia. 2 December 2011.
  19. ^ Hong, Lucia (16 May 2012). "Lee Yo-won to play a producer in Kang Woo-suk's new film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  20. ^ "Lee Yo-won plays hard-headed career woman in drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. 25 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Practice has made perfect for Lee Yo-won's career: The actress returns to the silver screen with 'My Little Brother'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 23 February 2017.
  22. ^ "New MBC series 'Night Light' depicts world ruled by power, money and greed". Kpop Herald. 18 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Lee Yo-won to lead star in "Buam-dong Avengers"". Hancinema. 15 August 2015.
  24. ^ "[공식]유지태X이요원, '이몽' 출연 확정…내년 상반기 방송". Sports Chosun (in Korean). 15 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Lee Yo-won said that she became more muscular thanks to her husband". The Dong-a Ilbo via Hancinema. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  26. ^ "Actress Lee Yo-won ties knot with businessman" (in Korean). Naver. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  27. ^ "Lee Yo-Won and Family First Time Appearance Captured by Media Camera after 9 Years Marriage". Dispatch (in Korean). 9 August 2011. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Actress Lee Yo-won gives birth to her 2nd child". AJU Business Daily. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  29. ^ "Actress Lee Yo Won belatedly revealed to have given birth to her second child". Allkpop. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
  30. ^ "Actress Lee Yo Won revealed to have given birth to her third child". Allkpop. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  31. ^ 드라마·영화 종횡무진 배우 이요원 "예쁜척? 싫어. 내숭? 더 싫어!". Kukmin Ilbo (in Korean). 29 August 2011.
  32. ^ 영화 '서프라이즈'주연 이요원 "나만의 연기로 인정받고 싶어". Kukmin Ilbo (in Korean). 4 July 2002.
  33. ^ Nam So-young (August 20, 2017). "광식이 동생 광태, '섹시녀'와 바람둥이 동생 그리고 소심한 형…김주혁, 봉태규, 이요원, 김아중" (in Korean). Gyeonggi-do Min Ilbo. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  34. ^ Cho Byung-kwan (July 24, 2007). "이요원, '화려한 휴가'서 광주 아픔 상징적 대변 박신애 열연" (in Korean). Sports Chosun. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  35. ^ Lee Ye-ji (May 17, 2019). "'된장' 류승룡-이요원-이동욱 출연, 미스터리 영화…'줄거리는?'" (in Korean). Top Star News. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  36. ^ Kim Yang-so (June 19, 2020). "류승범X이요원 '용의자X', 日소설 '용의자X의 헌신' 영화화…155만 관객 동원" (in Korean). Joy News24. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  37. ^ Park Min-kyung (March 28, 2013). "이요원, '전설의 주먹' 기자회견 불참 "'마의' 종방연"" (in Korean). Segye. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  38. ^ Choi Song-hee (February 23, 2017). "[아주스타 #데일리룩] '그래, 가족' 이요원, '화이트 룩'으로 시크한 매력 UP" (in Korean). Ajou Economic Daily. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  39. ^ [연예]이요원, 성숙함과 풋풋함의 절묘한 조화. Donga Ilbo (in Korean). 1 May 2001.
  40. ^ "[방송]류진-이요원 KBS 미니시리즈 '순정' 남녀주연 캐스팅". Donga Ilbo (in Korean). 16 July 2001.
  41. ^ "Lee Yo-won and Choo Ja-hyun in "Green Mothers Club"". HanCinema. May 27, 2021.
  42. ^ "KBS 연기대상에「태조왕건」최수종". Yonhap News (in Korean). 1 January 2002.
  43. ^ 「봄날은 간다」,청룡영화상 최우수 작품상. Yonhap News (in Korean). 12 December 2001.
  44. ^ 감독들이 뽑은 올해의 배우와 감독. Cine21 (in Korean). 2 January 2002.
  45. ^ [제38회 백상예술대상 영화부문 최우수연기상] 조재현 (나쁜 남자). JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). 13 March 2002.
  46. ^ "전도연, '2005 SBS 연기대상' 대상 수상 (종합)". My Daily (in Korean). 1 January 2006.
  47. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. Star Money. 7 January 2007.
  48. ^ "So Ji-sup, Lee Yo-won Named Best Actors". The Korea Times. 10 December 2009.
  49. ^ 선덕여왕-이요원 제10회 영상대전 수상 영광 (종합). Newsen (in Korean). 25 November 2009.
  50. ^ "Ko Hyun-joung wins grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. 31 December 2009.
  51. ^ 이요원·차승원, '2010 아시아 모델상' 특별상 수상. enews24 (in Korean). 13 January 2010.
  52. ^ "Han Suk-kyu reclaims glory at SBS Drama Awards". Asiae. 1 January 2012.
  53. ^ Cory Lee (2 January 2014). "Lee Bo-young Grabs 1st Top Prize at the 2013 SBS Drama Awards". TenAsia. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  54. ^ "Celebrity List". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). February 23, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2021 – via Joins.

External linksEdit