15 K-Drama Love Triangles That We Still Can’t Get Over
One of the most popular and common K-drama tropes that you can see in almost every K-drama is the love triangle. It’s one of the best tropes for various reasons; there’s always a swoon-worthy second-lead and it’s also dramatic, which we obviously love. There have been a fair share of epic love triangles in the K-drama world and though it was hard trying to narrow the list down, here it goes. Here’s a look at just 15 of the many K-drama love triangles that we still can’t get over!
1. “Reply 1988” – Choi Taek, Jungpal, and Sung Deok Sun
“Reply 1988” starred Hyeri as Sung Deok Sun, Park Bo Gum as Choi Taek, and Ryu Jun Yeol as Jungpal. These three characters were childhood friends who grew to develop feelings for each other. We had two extreme characters both trying to win Deok Sun’s heart; there was the innocent, but genius Choi Taek and the mean, but flirty best friend, Jungpal.
“Reply 1988” had one of the most heart-wrenching and epic love triangles of all time. It was also one of the K-dramas where you really couldn’t predict who the leading lady was going to end up with. The ending of the series sparked a heated debate about who Deok Sun should have ended up with, and the producer got a lot of that slack. This love triangle is without a doubt one of the most epic love triangles in K-drama history!
Start watching “Reply 1988”:
2. “Fated To Love You” – Lee Gun, Kim Mi Young, Daniel
“Fated To Love You” starred Jang Hyuk as the charismatic Lee Gun alongside Jang Nara as Kim Mi Young. In what happens to be fate and chance, the two end up spending a night together. Mi Young gets pregnant, and the two end up in a forced marriage. In what appears to be an unhappy marriage, Daniel (Choi Jin Hyuk), the neighborhood coffee shop owner, ends up falling in love with Mi Young. When Lee Gun realizes his feelings for Mi Young are real, he realizes that he’s in competition with the artsy and passionate Daniel.
How can we forget that epic proposal scene from Daniel? This series involved an intense love triangle where Daniel had just as much of a chance of being with the leading lady as the main lead. The love and sincerity in which Daniel showed his feelings for Mi Young made this love triangle so unforgettable.
Start watching “Fated to Love You”:
3. “My Girl” – Sol Gong Chan, Joo Yoo Rin, Seo Jung Woo
“My Girl” tells the story of Sol Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook), a typical rich boy who meets a girl named Joo Yoo Rin (Lee Da Hae). The two sign a contract to be long-lost relatives in order for Gong Chan to inherit his dying grandfather’s fortune. Gong Chan is a bit of jerk and couldn’t care less for Yoo Rin, but he ends up falling for her. Rounding out this love triangle is a playboy named Seo Jung Woo (Lee Joon Gi).
This love triangle is memorable mainly for Lee Joon Gi’s character, who ends up falling head over heels in love for Yoo Rin. It’s touching seeing him turn around and become so soft for the woman he loves, and his advances for her throughout the series are really romantic and fun to watch.
4. “Boys Over Flowers” – Goo Joon Pyo, Geum Jan Di, Yoon Ji Hoo
This classic K-drama starred Lee Min Ho as Gu Joon Pyo, the rich high school student who happens to fall in love with poor girl named Geum Jan Di, played by Ku Hye Sun. Although Gu Joon Pyo doesn’t care about Jan Di at first, he ends up getting intrigued by her fierce and fiery personality.
The love triangle comes into play when one of Joon Pyo’s good friends, Yoon Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun Joong) ends up smitten with Jan Di. He becomes the shoulder to lean on while she struggles with fitting into high school life. Fans of the series were totally in love with Ji Hoo and his sweet and charming ways!
Start watching “Boys Over Flowers”:
5. “Don’t Dare To Dream” – Lee Hwa Shin, Pyo Na Ri, Go Jung Won
“Don’t Dare To Dream,” starring Jo Jung Suk, Gong Hyo Jin, and Go Kyung Pyo, portrays the life of people working in the broadcasting field. Gong Hyo Jin plays Pyo Na Ri, a girl who wants to become a broadcaster and had a crush on Lee Hwa Shin (Jo Jung Suk) for several years. Lee Hwa Sin, on the other hand, finds Pyo Na Ri rather annoying.
It isn’t until Hwa Sin’s best friend, Go Jung Won (Go Kyung Pyo), falls hard for Pyo Na Ri that he takes an interest in her. Na Ri becomes torn between the two best friends as they both try and win over her heart. It’s an epic battle, as the two even end up in a fist fight over her. Regardless of the outcome, the charm of Go Kyung Pyo is undeniable and it gave viewers a hard case of second-lead syndrome.
Start watching “Don’t Dare to Dream”:
6. “She Was Pretty” – Kim Hye Jin, Ji Sung Joon, Kim Shin Hyuk
Starring Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin and Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon, “She Was Pretty” is about childhood friends who meet again when they are older. When Hye Jin reunites with Sung Joon, she finds out that he is technically her boss. In fact, Hye Jin, Sung Joon, and Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Siwon) all work in the same company and end up entangled in a love triangle.
Fans couldn’t seem to get enough of the charming ways of Shin Hyuk. He was willing to accept Hye Jin for who she was even before her make-over and had a love for her that was so innocent and pure. His upfront honesty in his feelings for her were endearing to say the least and made this triangle so memorable and hard to get over!
Start watching “She Was Pretty”:
7. “I Need Romance 2” – Joo Yeol Mae, Yoon Seok Hyun, Shin Ji Hoon
“I Need Romance 2” starred Jung Yu Mi and Lee Jin Wook respectively as Joo Yeol Mae and Yoon Seok Hyu, two people who were lovers for years until they decided to break up. They have a deep-rooted history together, so they still remain friends and even live next door to each other. Yeol Mae then meets Shin Ji Hoon (Kim Ji Suk), the charming coffee shop owner, who sweeps her off her feet.
This love triangle was pretty unforgettable, as Shin Ji Hoon was a second-lead that many wanted Yeol Mae to end up with. He was loyal, passionate, romantic, and very understanding of Yeol Mae despite her fickle heart. The love triangle was also pretty entertaining to see on screen as Lee Jin Wook and Kim Ji Suk are best friends in real life!
Start watching “I Need Romance 2”:
8. “Stairway To Heaven” – Cha Song Joo, Han Jun Seo, Han Tae Hwa
This classic K-drama series tells the tale of childhood loves. Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo star as two lovers, separated at a young age, who meet again when they are older. But Jung Seo (Choi Ji Woo) doesn’t remember Song Joo (Kwon Sang Woo) because of an accident. The two are brought together, but Han Tae Hwa (Shin Hyun Joon) cannot bear to let his feelings for Jung Seo go. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her to himself. This love triangle is particularly memorable because it was so heartbreaking. People couldn’t help but feel bad for both the male leads involved in the love triangle, especially considering how much they were willing to sacrifice for Song Joo.
9. “Kill Me Heal Me” – Cha Do Hyun, Oh Ri Jin, Shin Se Gi
Who would think a love triangle could involve another one of your personalities? This unique K-drama involved Cha Do Hyun (Ji Sung), a man who suffers from multiple personality disorder as a result of a traumatic event that happened when he was a child. One of his personalities, Shin Se Gi, is in love with Oh Ri Jin (Hwang Jung Eum) and is willing to take care of her even if it means taking over the main personality.
It seems like a weird concept that one of the personalities of someone with multiple personality disorder would be in love with the same girl, but it worked in this K-drama. Shin Se Gi totally won us over with his bad boy charm as well as innocent love for Ri Jin. Even though we knew that Se Gi’s feelings for Ri Jin were doomed, it was a love triangle that was oddly super romantic.
Start watching “Kill Me Heal Me”:
10. “You’re Beautiful” – Hwang Tae Kyung, Go Mi Nam, Kang Shin Woo, Jeremy
“You’re Beautiful” is a classic K-drama starring Jang Geun Suk as Hwang Tae Kyung and Park Shin Hye as Go Mi Nam. Go Mi Nam joins Tae Kyung’s rock group in replacement of her twin brother, but as the other group members catch on that Mi Nam is actually a girl, they start to develop strong feelings for her.
This one is not really a triangle, but more like a square. It’s still worth a mention, especially because Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa) and Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki) were just too adorable to pass up. Mi Nam was a lucky girl as she had three charming fellows trying to win her over.
Start watching “You’re Beautiful”:
11. “Autumn In My Heart” – Yoon Joon Seo, Yoon Eun Seo, Han Tae Seok
“Autumn In My Heart” starred Song Seung Hun and Song Hye Kyo as Yoon Joon Seo and Yoon Eun Seo, two characters who were brought up as siblings but aren’t blood-related. Eun Seo returns to her biological mother and the two are separated until they’re older.
Eun Seo by chance happens to meet Han Tae Seok (Won Bin) who is Joon Seo’s best friend, and the intense love triangle commences when Joon Seo is reunited with Eun Seo. Tae Seok’s love and devotion for Eun Seo despite her intense feelings for Joon Seo really stole the show. There are even several lines spoken by him that have remained popular throughout the years.
12. “Heirs” – Kim Tan, Cha Eun Sang, Choi Young Do
“Heirs” starred Lee Min Ho as a chaebol named Kim Tan while Park Shin Hye starred as the poor school girl, Cha Eun Sang. Kim Tan and Cha Eun Sang meet in the States but reunite by chance when they return to Seoul. They end up attending the same high school with Tan finding out that Eun Sang is actually the daughter of his house maid. As Tan starts to fall in love with her, a bully in the school named Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin) also happens to be fall for Eun Sang, and the two male students end up going head-to-head in a battle to fight for Eun Sang’s heart.
What made this love triangle so unforgettable was how much bad boy Young Do was willing to do for Eun Sang and how deep his affections for her really ran. This was one of those K-dramas where many people grew very fond of the second-lead and his romantic gestures. He definitely stole the show!
Start watching “Heirs”:
13. “Sandglass” – Park Tae Su, Yoon Hye Rin, Baek Jae Hee
Considered to be one of the most watched K-dramas of all time, “Sandglass” is about a rich heiress named Yoon Hye Rin, played by Go Hyun Jung who falls in love with a gangster named Park Tae Su (Choi Min Soo). Their love story is heartbreaking as it involves two star-crossed lovers who are unable to ever really be together because of their status.
In the drama, Hye Rin has a body guard named Baek Jae Hee (Lee Jung Jae) who won the hearts of many females across South Korea. His unwavering love for Hye Rin was so romantic. Although people were heartbroken for the love that was shared between Hye Rin and Tae Su, they couldn’t help but feel sad for the unrequited love of Jae Hee who was willing to put his life on the line for Hye Rin.
14. “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” – Do Bong Soon, Ahn Min Hyuk, In Kook Doo
“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” was the hit rom-com K-drama that starred Park Bo Young as the super strong Do Bong Soon and Park Hyung Sik as the chaebol Ahn Min Hyuk. The two first meet by fate when Bong Soon saves Min Hyuk’s life, and are brought together again when he hires her to be his personal bodyguard.
Although Ahn Min Hyuk begins to develop strong feelings for Bong Soon, her heart still hangs onto her longtime friend, Guk Doo (Ji Soo). As Min Hyuk continues to pursue Bong Soon, Bong Soon grows torn between the two men in her life. As viewers watched Bong Soon struggle to choose between the two, we were just as torn as she was. I mean, how can you choose between Park Hyung Sik and Ji Soo?
Start watching “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
15. “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” – Wang So, Hae Soo, Wang Wook
“Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” starred IU as Hae Soo, a damsel in distress who travels back in time to the Goryeo era and meets a family of princes. Several of the brothers end up falling for her, so it’s not exactly a love triangle per se, but Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) and Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) are the two brothers who stood a chance at winning Hae Soo over.
“Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” had a somewhat unique love triangle in the sense where the second-lead, Wang Wook was able to win over the affections of Hae Soo before Wang So did. They have a short and quick romance, but then Hae Soo gets betrayed by Wang Wook and is left in the dark. Wang So, who had feelings for Hae Soo before, steps in and they both end up falling in love with each other.
This love triangle was a heartbreaking one. Mainly because viewers were heartbroken for both Wang So and Wang Wook by the end of it. It’s a devastating tale that can not be easily forgotten.
Hey Soompiers, what is your favorite K-drama love triangle of all time? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She can often be seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in desserts. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” “Encounter,” “Memories Of Alhambra,” and “Clean With Passion For Now”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen and Song Joong Ki‘s next drama