Fans badmouth Korean hunk's future bride
Kwon Sang Woo, star of hit drama Stairway To Heaven and movie My Tutor Friend, appealed to the public not to judge his bride-to-be, beauty queen-turned-actress Son Tae Young, 'blindly'.
WHY is everyone so mean to my bride-to-be?
That must be the burning question on Korean hunk Kwon Sang Woo's mind.
He announced last Friday that he would marry beauty queen-turned-actress Son Tae Young on 28 Sep, but the reactions from fans and media have not been too kind.
Instead of giving their blessings, some fans reportedly questioned if she is 'good enough' for him and voiced concerns that marriage would dent his raging popularity with a largely female fan base.
Others gossiped about Tae Young's bountiful dating history and cast doubt over her sincerity in this latest relationship, reported The Chosun Ilbo.
Speculations of a shotgun wedding also surfaced, as the news of their romance only got out two days before the marriage announcement.
On Monday, the usually outspoken Sang Woo, 32, came out to defend his fiancee.
He had proposed to her with a necklace on a hot-air balloon in Australia some time ago.
In a message posted on his fan website, the star of hit drama Stairway To Heaven and movie My Tutor Friend appealed to the public not to judge Tae Young 'blindly'.
'The decision to get married was made after careful thought over a long time, but overnight, so many people have said so many unspeakable things.
'Even as I write, I can't help but shed tears.'
He was particularly upset with rumours that Tae Young might be pregnant.
'This man Kwon Sang Woo decided to get married because he's deeply in love with not Miss Korea, but a woman named Son Tae Young. How can people suspect it's a shotgun wedding?'
He said Tae Young had been hurt by previous media reports and to criticise her based on them is akin to 'licking the skin of a watermelon without understanding what lies inside'.
'People used to think the earth is flat, only later did we realise it's round... She's like the round earth. She's very frank in whatever she does.'
Tae Young, 28, joined showbiz after emerging third in the annual Miss Korea contest in 2000.
Instead of earning acting credits, she became more famous as a playgirl linked to a string of male celebrities.
In 2001, she made headlines for getting caught in a love triangle with actor Shin Hyun Jun and songwriter Joo Young Hoon, reported The Korea Times.
Late last year, she ended a rather public relationship with music video director Cool K and declared on TV that 'I've lost faith in love'.
MET AT A DINNER
But Cupid didn't give up on her - she met Sang Woo at a dinner with mutual actor friend Kim Sung Soo (Full House) early this year.
Romance blossomed after he mustered the courage to call her and ask her out, Sang Woo said at the last-minute press conference he called in Seoul last Friday night.
But his first impression of Tae Young was of her weeping while talking about her past during a variety show earlier on.
'I thought she was a good person with an innocent heart.'
She turned out to be a filial daughter who is always concerned about his mum and 'brings laughter into our house', he added.
'Son Tae Young is the most precious person in my life,' he told reporters at his press conference.
'She is the biggest energy of my life. She makes me laugh and gives me hope.'
Incidentally, the usually forthright Tae Young has kept mum about the wedding.
She was last seen doing a cameo in the period drama Iljimae, which is now showing in Korea.
WHERE IS SHE?
When asked about her absence during the press conference, Sang Woo said they might only appear together on their wedding day.
He also hinted that he's 'worried' that she might 'get hurt' - clearly referring to the negative comments from fans so far.
The Chosun Ilbo noted that silence may also be Tae Young's way of dissociating Sang Woo from all the negativity targeted at her.
But it didn't seem to work.
Reports from Korea said the sudden wedding news has shaken advertiser confidence in Sang Woo, and he stands to lose an income of 10billion won ($13m) if his upcoming projects, including a pictorial book deal, fall through.
This article was first published in The New Paper on July 24, 2008.
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