Standing in the spotlight isn’t easy, and sometimes, celebrities just need to take a break. These celebrities have felt the weight on their shoulders and announced they would leave the industry. But luckily for us, they returned to do what they do best!
Former U-KISS member Dongho left the industry in 2013, claiming that his personality is not fit to be a K-Pop idol and he had both physical and mental problems stemming from the idol lifestyle.
During his time away, Dongho got married and became a father. He returned in 2016 to appear on variety shows such as A Man Who Feeds the Dog and The Return of Superman. During his appearances on television, he mentioned that his family is his new source of happiness, and that the idol life was not all fun and games.
“I am learning so much about my life, through my marriage and my son. My family is my life’s happiness and purpose. I can’t say it was all fun and good memories. I won’t ever be able to do that (be an idol) again. I’d come home at 3am and sleep 3 hours before being on the move again. It was hard, rather than fun. I still have sleeping pills and depression medication under my bed.” — Dongho
When former AOA member Choa suddenly announced her desire to leave the group and the K-Pop scene, fans were in great shock.
“This [unhealthy] cycle kept repeating and this made me realize that I was getting sick inside. I suffered from insomnia and depression and even got treated for it. During the course of 2 years, my promotions were cut back a bit, but even when I was resting it really wasn’t resting. I still had many eyes on me and I realized that if this feeling continued, I’d be a hindrance to my group.” — Choa
Choa took a few months off before she returned in front of her fans at a fansign event. She looked nervous to be seeing her fans again, but the fans showed her their undying support, leaving Choa in tears.
3. Nam Tae Hyun
Nam Tae Hyun retired from the idol life, leaving his group WINNER and the K-Pop scene. After quitting doing so, he formed a new and created the band South Club to pursue his own style of music.
Nam Tae Hyun later explained why he left WINNER and the K-Pop scene, stating they just had to go their separate ways.
“WINNER and I had different ways to go. The group and I left things on good terms. I was nervous at first, because YG Entertainment was like home to me. But I don’t ever regret leaving.” — Nam Tae Hyun
4. Moon Hee Jun
Moon Hee Jun, from 1st generation idol group H.O.T, left the industry for a while after the group disbanded and his solo rock albums did not bring much success.
Due to the poor results of his albums, he decided to take time away from the industry and enlisted in the military. After his discharge, he returned as a beloved TV personality, and recently reunited with H.O.T on Infinite Challenge.
5. Kang Ho Dong
Comedian Kang Ho Dong had to leave the industry when he was involved in a tax evasion case. Although he was proven innocent in the end, Kang Ho Dong left the industry to reflect on his scandal.
“It isn’t possible for me to joke and laugh at this time.” — Kang Ho Dong
Kang Ho Dong returned in 2012 and is currently best known for his roles on two of JTBC‘s most popular shows: Knowing Bros and Let’s Eat Dinner Together.
6. Lim Chang Jung
Singer and actor Lim Chang Jung once retired from singing, stating he would like to focus on solely acting.
However, he came back four years later with a single that hit big thanks to his fans who were waiting for his return as a singer. Lim Chang Jung has released many signature ballads since then, but he’s not afraid to mix it up with a few fun pop songs too.
Many of Lim Chang Jung’s songs have topped the charts, especially his ballads such as “Love Again” and “The Love I Committed”.
7. Seo Taiji
Widely recognized as the first ever K-Pop group, when Seo Taiji and Boys decided to disband and Seo Taiji retired from his idol career, fans were at a complete loss. The group’s disbandment still remains one of the most shocking things to have happened to Korean fans and the industry at the time.
Seo Taiji returned as a soloist several years later, but with a aura of mystery around him as he rarely appeared on television. It wasn’t until 2014 where he cast aside his mysterious aura and guested on television programs such as Infinite Challenge and JTBC Newsroom.