Seo Taiji spoke out for the first time today regarding his ongoing asset settlement lawsuit with former wife and actress Lee Ji Ah. In a statement released through Seo Taiji & Co., the embattled singer started off by saying, “I apologize to all the fans who love Seo Taiji. A lot of things have been reported and countless rumors have been swirling around about this lawsuit—so it took me a while to sort out my thoughts and I’m sorry for taking such a long time to make an official statement.”
He continued, “As already been reported, Seo Taiji and Lee Ji Ah are currently in a lawsuit over alimony and asset division. Seo Taiji first met Lee Ji Ah in 1993 in the U.S. through a mutual friend and continued to build their relationship through phone calls and letters. In 1996, after Seo Taiji moved to the U.S. the two naturally started to date each other.”
The couple officially got married on Oct. 12th, 1997 in the U.S. but as time went by they realized their differences in values and lifestyles, the statement said. And after two years and seven months of their wedding, in June, 2000 the two split up and lived separately since then. “After Seo Taiji returned to Korea the two led busy lives, and thus couldn’t officially finalize their divorce. However, Lee Ji Ah first filed for divorce in January, 2006, and the two officially separated after reaching a divorce settlement on June 12th, 2006.” However, Lee Ji Ah unexpectedly filed for another alimony lawsuit on January 19th, 2011, according to the statement, as it said, “That lawsuit is still ongoing so we would like to abstain from making any unnecessary comments. We ask for your patience until we reach the final verdict.”
However, in a separate report by Chosun Ilbo earlier today, Seo Taiji was quoted as saying, “My marriage (with Lee Ji Ah) ended after 2 years and 9 months in July of 2000. We reached a divorce agreement in January, 2006, and I paid her the full divorce compensation as well.” He declined to disclose the exact amount of alimony but said, “I paid her as much as she requested.”
Chosun Ilbo said the quotes came from Seo Taiji’s closest friends who spoke directly with the singer. According to the report, Seo Taiji has “admitted to his marriage and divorce from Lee Ji Ah, but is very frustrated with the ongoing alimony and asset division lawsuit.” Seo Taiji flew to the U.S. in 1996 immediately following his supposed “retirement” from K-Pop, and got married to Lee Ji Ah in October of 1997, the report said. The two split up in July, 2000 and finalized all paperwork for the divorce in January, 2006, but it’s still unclear why the couple took so long to officially end their relationship.
An official close to the situation explained to Chosun Ilbo, “The reason he didn’t file for divorce in 2000 (when they actually separated) was because he was too busy with his comeback to Korea. Both parties had already agreed to split up by then so they didn’t really care about taking official steps for a divorce.” Seo Taiji in fact made his comeback to K-Pop in August of 2000 with his sixth album, and first solo album, “Ultra-Mania.”
If Seo Taiji’s comments are indeed true, that means Lee Ji Ah has filed for an alimony lawsuit twice and the prescription period for asset division has also expired. However, Lee Ji Ah’s legal representatives claim that the divorce was effective beginning February of 2009, and the divorce agreement only states that she “waives spousal support,” not the entire case for alimony or asset division. Which side is telling the truth? That we don’t know, but I can tell things are about to get real ugly.