Son Ye-jin (born Son Eon-jin on January 11, 1982)[1] is a South Korean actress.[2] She rose to fame in 2003 for The Classic and Summer Scent, which followed with the commercially successful A Moment to Remember (2004), and April Snow (2005). Her early roles in films garnered her the title, "Nation's First Love" in Korea.[3] She since has won various acting recognitions and acted in high-profile films including My Wife Got Married (2008), The Pirates (2014), the 2016 films The Truth Beneath and The Last Princess, and The Negotiation (2018). She has also acted in the successful television dramas Alone in Love (2006), Personal Taste (2010), Something in the Rain (2018), Crash Landing on You (2019–2020),[4] and Thirty-Nine (2022).

Son Ye-jin
181018 손예진 04 (cropped).jpg
Son Ye-jin in 2018
Born
Son Eon-jin

(1982-01-11) January 11, 1982 (age 40)
EducationSeoul Institute of the Arts – Film
OccupationActress
Years active1999–present
AgentMSTeam
Spouse(s)
(m. 2022)
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationSon Ye-jin
McCune–ReischauerSon Yejin
Birth name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationSon Eon-jin
McCune–ReischauerSon Ŏnjin

She is included in Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 for four consecutive years 2019–2022.[5][6][7]

CareerEdit

2000–2005: Beginnings and East Asia stardomEdit

Son Ye-jin was the voice of Jung Mi-jo in Park Ki-hyung's film Secret Tears in 2000, and then went on to take the leading role in television dramas such as Delicious Proposal,[8] Sun-hee and Jin-hee,[9] and Great Ambition.[10] Her first high-profile role in cinema was in Im Kwon-taek's Chi-hwa-seon, which screened at Cannes and took home a Best Director award in 2002.[11][12]

The biggest success of her early career was in the subsequent films Lovers' Concerto and The Classic.[13][14] Both were solid mid-level hits in Korea, and The Classic in particular — being a work of My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae-yong — received wide exposure in regions such as Hong Kong and mainland China, and launched Son into East Asia stardom.[15] Son further solidified her status as a Hallyu (Korean Wave) star in 2003 by taking the lead in TV drama Summer Scent, the third installment of season-themed tetralogy Endless Love drama series directed by Yoon Seok-ho.[16]

Her next films also gained massive popularity in East Asia particularly in Japan: A Moment to Remember,[17][18] based on a famous Japanese series, set box office records in Japan and sold over two million tickets in Korea,[19][20] and April Snow in which she co-starred with superstar Bae Yong-joon[21] was also a hit in Japan and China.[22] Son, who adorned a pure and innocent image in her films The Classic and A Moment to Remember, was given the title of the "Nation's First Love" in Korea.[23]

In 2006, she became the highest-paid Korean actress in Korean television series when she was guaranteed a talent fee of KRW 50 million (plus incentive) per episode for her lead role in SBS drama Alone in Love.[24]

2006–2015: Film roles in diverse genresEdit

Son then cast off her nice girl image in her next projects.[12] She took on the roles of a con artist in The Art of Seduction,[25] an ambitious reporter in Spotlight,[26] a femme fatale in Open City,[27] and a divorcée in the critically acclaimed series Alone in Love.[28][29][30] In 2008, her portrayal of a polyandrous woman in My Wife Got Married[31] bagged her Best Actress honors from the prestigious Blue Dragon Film Awards[32] and other local award-giving bodies.

After filming the dark mystery White Night,[33] Son wanted to do a more fun project, so she chose the romantic comedy series Personal Taste,[34][35] followed by the horror-romantic comedy film Spellbound which became one of the top-grossing films in 2011 and by far the most successful Korean romantic comedy movie in recent years.[36][37]

In 2012, Son starred in her first blockbuster The Tower, a remake of the 1974 Hollywood disaster film The Towering Inferno.[38] She returned to television in 2013 in the revenge drama Shark (also known as Don't Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus),[39] then headlined Blood and Ties, a thriller about a daughter who suspects that her father was involved in a kidnap-murder case.[40]

Son reunited with Shark costar Kim Nam-gil in the 2014 period adventure film The Pirates, which received mixed reviews but was a commercial hit with more than 8.6 million admissions at the end of its theatre run and won Son the Best Actress award at the Grand Bell Awards.[41][42] The Pirates is one of the highest-grossing films in Korea of all time, along with other Son Ye Jin's movies, The Tower and The Last Princess.[43] Son next starred in the black comedy Bad Guys Always Die opposite Taiwanese actor Chen Bolin, a Chinese-Korean co-production that was filmed on Jeju Island.[44]

2016–present: Critical acclaim and global recognitionEdit

In 2016, Son reunited with My Wife Got Married co-star Kim Joo-hyuk in The Truth Beneath, a political thriller;[45] where she received acclaim for her performance.[46] She won Best Actress at the 25th Buil Film Awards and 17th Busan Film Critics Awards for her performance. She then played Princess Deokhye in the biopic The Last Princess, helmed by April Snow director Hur Jin-ho.[47][48] The film drew positive reviews by critics and went on to become a box office hit, grossing US$40.35 million worldwide. Sung So-young of the Korea JoongAng Daily praised the film for being "interesting enough to hold the audience's interest from beginning to end", even though she felt the screenwriter's (Hur) imagination went too far in several scenes. She said major events from Princess Deokhye's life were portrayed well, and the film's biggest virtue was how it made audiences want to know more about her.[49] Rumy Doo of The Korea Herald said Son Ye-jin proved herself a "sensitive and technically refined performer."[50] Son was praised by critics for her "outstanding" performance in her portrayal of "the unfathomable depths on the emotional ups and downs of Deokhye"; winning multiple accolades for her performance.[51][52]

In 2018, Son starred alongside So Ji-sub in the romance film Be with You, based on the Japanese novel of the same name.[53][54] The same year, Son returned to the small screen after five years with JTBC's romance drama Something in the Rain.[55][56] The series received high viewership ratings and achieved a commercial popularity, and Son received rave reviews for her performance.[57][58] Son also starred in crime thriller The Negotiation, alongside Hyun Bin, playing a professional negotiator working to save hostages.[59][60]

In 2019, Son reunited with Hyun Bin in the global hit romance drama Crash Landing on You as a rich heiress who falls in love with a North Korean commission officer.[61][62] The drama was a huge success and is the third-highest-rated Korean drama in cable television history.[63][64]

Son is set to have her Hollywood debut in 2022 as she stars opposite Sam Worthington in filmmaker Andrew Niccol's upcoming work The Cross. Shooting for the film is planned to take place beginning April 2021 in Hwaseong City, South Korea.[65]

Personal lifeEdit

Relationship and marriageEdit

On January 1, 2021, it was confirmed that Son had been in a relationship with actor Hyun Bin, her co-star in The Negotiation (2018) and Crash Landing on You (2019–2020), since the year prior, after Crash Landing on You concluded.[66] On February 10, 2022, Son and Hyun Bin announced their engagement in letters posted on their social media accounts.[67] They married in a private ceremony on March 31, attended by their parents and friends of both families.[68] On June 27, Son announced that she is pregnant with the couple's first child.[69]

PhilanthropyEdit

On March 8, 2022, Son and Hyun Bin donated 200 million to the Hope Bridge Disaster Relief Association to help those who affected by the massive wildfire that began in Uljin, Gyeongbuk and spread to Samcheok, Gangwon.[70]

On February 27, 2020, Son donated ₩100 million to Community Chest of Korea in Daegu to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Daegu is Son's hometown.[71][72]

FilmographyEdit

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released

FilmEdit

Year English title Original title Role Notes Ref.
2000 Secret Tears 비밀 Jung Mi-jo voice
2002 Chi-hwa-seon 취화선 So-woon [11]
Lover's Concerto 연애소설 Shim Soo-in / Gyung-hee [13]
2003 The Classic 클래식 Ji-hye / Joo-hee [14]
First Love Rally 첫사랑 사수 궐기대회 Ju Il-mae [73]
2004 A Moment to Remember 내 머리 속의 지우개 Kim Su-jin [17]
2005 April Snow 외출 Seo-young [21]
The Art of Seduction 작업의 정석 Han Ji-won [25]
2007 Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox 천년여우 여우비 Yobi voice [74]
2008 Open City 무방비 도시 Baek Jang-mi [27]
My Wife Got Married 아내가 결혼했다 Joo In-ah [31]
2009 White Night 백야행: 하얀 어둠 속을 걷다 Yoo Mi-ho / Lee Ji-ah [75]
2011 Spellbound 오싹한 연애 Kang Yeo-ri [76]
2012 The Tower 타워 Seo Yoon-hee [77]
2013 Blood and Ties 공범 Jung Da-eun [78]
2014 The Pirates 해적: 바다로 간 산적 Yeo-wol [79]
2015 Bad Guys Always Die 나쁜놈은 반드시 죽는다 Ji-yeon [80]
2016 The Truth Beneath 비밀은 없다 Kim Yeon-hong [81]
The Last Princess 덕혜옹주 Princess Deokhye [82]
2018 Be with You 지금 만나러 갑니다 Im Soo-ah [83]
The Negotiation 협상 Ha Chae-yoon [84]
TBA Cross Vera [85][86][65]

Television seriesEdit

Year English title Original title Role Notes Ref.
2001 Delicious Proposal 맛있는 청혼 Jang Hee-ae [87]
Sun-hee and Jin-hee 선희 진희 Shim Sun-hee [9]
2002 Great Ambition 대망 Choi Dong-hee [10]
2003 Summer Scent 여름향기 Shim Hye-won [16]
2006 Alone in Love 연애시대 Yoo Eun-ho [88]
2008 Spotlight 스포트라이트 Seo Woo-jin [26]
2010 Personal Taste 개인의 취향 Park Kae-in
2011 Secret Garden 시크릿 가든 Herself cameo (episode 20) [89]
2013 Don't Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus 상어 Jo Hae-woo
2018 Something in the Rain 밥 잘 사주는 예쁜 누나 Yoon Jin-ah [90]
2019–2020 Crash Landing on You 사랑의 불시착 Yoon Se-ri [62]
2022 Thirty-Nine 서른 아홉 Cha Mi-jo [91]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Son has been the recipient of many awards throughout her career. She currently has won a total of 51 awards out of 72 nominations.

ReferencesEdit

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