Two K-pop megastars rumored to be dating in defiance of industry-wide ban (2024)

Rumors are swirling that two of Korea's biggest K-pop stars might be in a secret relationship—and this is a big deal for a number of reasons.

The speculation that Jennie Kim from girl group Blackpink, who is known by her first name only, is dating V from BTS—real name Kim Tae-hyung—began after some of her private photos were leaked.

One picture appears to show V and Jennie, both 26, having dinner together.

Two K-pop megastars rumored to be dating in defiance of industry-wide ban (1)

Other photos show them traveling together to South Korea's Jeju Island and wearing matching T-shirts. One leaked photo shows Jennie in the bath, though it is not an explicit picture.

V discussed the photos in a recent radio interview, telling host Kim Eana that he had traveled to Jeju Island with two male friends, not a woman.

The faces of the people in the pictures are blurred but the production company that created and manages Blackpink has hit out at the leak.

YG Entertainment released a statement saying it had asked police to investigate "the original distributor" after Jennie had suffered "personal attacks" and "sexual harassment" over the images.

The company said it would take "all possible legal action without any leniency to prevent further damage in the future."

YG added: "Photos that were circulated online were illegally released, regardless of the intentions behind them and without the consent of the individual involved."

The company behind BTS, BigHit Music, also launched legal action late last month vowing to bring to justice "perpetrators of malicious activities related to BTS," even though it did not explicitly mention the leaked photos.

BigHit Music said in a statement: "We have recently filed additional criminal complaints against postings with personal attacks and defamation using new information provided by fans as well as collected through our monitoring initiatives."

The company said it had found multiple examples of "ill-intentioned rumor[s]" across multiple platforms and had filed a criminal complaint over "repetitively uploaded postings."

It added: "We would also like to share with you that after an extended police investigation, we were able to identify the suspect and the case has been sent to the prosecutor's office.

"We would like to stress that we will continue to initiate strict measures to ensure that these malicious acts are not repeated, and our policy of no settlement and no leniency remains in effect."

Defamation falls under "crimes against reputation" in South Korea's penal code and a person can be punished even if the statement made is true.

A false statement that damages a person's reputation carries a penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment and a fine, according to the human rights group Article 19. In cases where a person is "publicly alleging facts," the penalty is up to three years in prison.

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Article 19 explains: "In these cases, the defense of truth is only available to defendants who can demonstrate that their communications were made 'solely for the public interest.'"

Legal action is an unusual step for the powerhouse management companies, but the attempts to protect K-pop stars from online harassment follow the suicides of two singers in 2019.

Two girl group members, Sulli from f(x) and Goo Hara from Kara, died within a month of each other. Sulli was 25 and Hara was 28.

It was later discovered Sulli had received months of hateful abuse from male "anti-fans" over her appearance, while Hara had filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, for allegedly threatening to release a sex tape.

Jennie and V are members of two of the most popular and successful groups in K-pop, but their rumored romance is also making headlines because the singers are not allowed to date.

The companies have notoriously strict rules that their recruits must abide by. These include no dating, especially as a trainee. YG Entertainment's head, Yang Hyun-suk, has confirmed that K-pop hopefuls are banned from dating for an unspecified amount of time.

However, one former boy band member, B.I from iKon, has hinted that YG lifts this restriction once pop stars have made a certain amount of money.

Jennie's bandmate Rosé has also described the extreme measures that YG takes to prevent young recruits falling for each other during their training.

Rosé said male and female rookies were not allowed to look at each other and their mealtimes were staggered so they could not spend this time together.

BigHit also has a dating ban, which BTS leader RM poked fun at in the 2012 song "A Typical Trainee's Christmas."

He sang: "I have no girlfriend because our debut is soon. Ha, idols are getting married yet we separate male and female trainees? What's the point? We can't love so how do we write love songs? If it were up to me, I'd encourage dating."

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Two K-pop megastars rumored to be dating in defiance of industry-wide ban (2024)

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