Seo In Guk has opened up about the story behind his military exemption.
The actor and singer enlisted in the army in March 2017 to fulfil his mandatory service, but was exempted from duty due to osteochondral lesions, which are isolated cartilage/bone lesions that can cause chronic pain in the ankle.
Seo In Guk became surrounded by controversy after the exemption, with some people speculating that he had taken advantage of his condition to avoid service and citing that he had delayed his enlistment twice before in the past due the same condition. His agency at the time, Jellyfish Entertainment, responded to say that Seo In Guk had not neglected treatment on purpose to be exempted, and that he was adamant to serve.
On October 4, Seo In Guk wrote the following message on his fan cafe about the matter:
“In regards to my enlistment in the army, firstly, I did request a delay of my enlistment. I was ambitious about my work, but it was also because I had already received a recommendation of surgery for the painful area and was simultaneously undergoing pain treatments. But because I wanted to go to the army, even though I delayed my enlistment, I didn’t apply for a re-examination and also didn’t bring any materials with me when I enlisted. It was simply that at the first interview, the platoon leader directed me to let them know in advance if I had any illnesses. On the day we were examined, they asked for anyone who had an illness to raise their hand, and I said I had a bit of discomfort in my leg.
“I hadn’t even imagined that I would end up going to the hospital because of this. I had X-rays taken as soon as I got to the hospital, and then received a consultation. I didn’t even imagine that I would have to leave the army because of this issue. I think this is clearly my mistake.
“As an actor and a singer, I wanted to confidently serve as an active-duty soldier and fulfil my military duty. So even after the results came out, I kept requesting the hospital to let me stay in the army. I wanted to somehow stay, because if I were to leave in that situation, I would be embarrassed. However, the hospital said that because I was not well enough to receive military training, they couldn’t do anything but send me out.
“There’s been a lot that I wanted to say during this time, but I was afraid that speaking to the fans like this would make everything seem like an excuse. I was surprised when I saw the things that people were suspicious about, and I thought that I understood why they thought that way. But I saw that words that were different than my own point of view began to spread, and so I thought that I should definitely tell the truth because I was worried that my fans who care for me and support me might be upset.
“I’m so sorry too that you are upset because of me. I wanted you to only have good memories about me, and it hurts me too to think that you might be hurt. I will keep worrying over how to comfort you about that time. I’ll work hard so that there are only good things in the future. I will do my best so that I can do something in return to make up for the feelings of my fans.
“I hope that you understand my sincerity, and I hope that you enjoy the rest of your holidays.
“PS. If you were really hurt, I’m truly sorry. I will definitely heal your hurting heart.”
Seo In Guk recently left Jellyfish Entertainment, and has now signed with a new agency.