Wonho Opens Up About His Love For MONSTA X and Monbebe, Takes Responsibility For His Past, And More

Former MONSTA X member Wonho sat down for an exclusive interview with Dispatch to discuss everything that has happened to him.

In February, Dispatch met Wonho for an exclusive interview as he was undergoing investigations into claims that he had used marijuana in 2013. On March 14, Starship Entertainment released an official statement that the investigation had concluded and Wonho had been cleared of all charges. The interview took place before the final decision, and Wonho stated, “I did not smoke marijuana. The investigation is underway. When my innocence is proven, please tell my story. I want to apologize, and I want to clear misunderstandings. I want to ask for forgiveness.”

Wonho spoke of an impoverished childhood. Growing up, he explained that he was bullied by the other children in class for being poor, and his parents constantly fought about money. Wanting to escape, Wonho got to know an older male figure in his neighborhood and started hanging out with him. He explained that afterwards, the bullying had stopped, and he preferred that his classmates were uncomfortable with him. But as the situation did not improve at home, he ran away and started hanging out with a new group of friends who got into trouble with the law. But Wonho took responsibility for his past actions as he said, “I don’t want to blame them. Because it was my choice. It may sound like an excuse, but I was immature. It was my fault. I was in the wrong. I’m sorry.”

In his second year of high school, he met Jung Da Eun. He explained, “We became close friends quickly. We worked as fitting models together. She helped me a lot, and she supported me a lot in my dreams to become a singer.” It was in his twenties that Wonho says he changed and tried to right his wrongs by working hard. He said, “I saw other kids practicing like crazy. They all had ‘dreams.’ I was embarrassed. I’d only lived my life with resentment. That’s when I made a promise to myself. That I wouldn’t waste my life anymore.” Wonho added, “I danced and sang all night with my fellow trainees. It wasn’t hard. I finally had hope that ‘I, too, have a future.’ I was happy. I was happy in that group setting. I learned so much in those four years.”

Wonho also cautiously opened up about the rumors and allegations that changed his life in 2019. He said, “I was at fault, but there were also misunderstandings. Of course, I realize we can’t turn back time. Not everyone who grows up in an environment like mine ends up on the wrong path. When I was on probation, I did a lot of self-reflection.” He was upfront about admitting to his wrongdoings but strongly denied ever using drugs. He said, “I admit that I had issues in the past. But this really isn’t it. I’ve never used marijuana. I explained this clearly to the police.”

Everything led to the announcement that Wonho would be leaving MONSTA X in October 2019. He said, “We worked really hard on the new album. I hated thinking that MONSTA X would fall because of me. I thought the only way for the team to survive is if I left as soon as possible. I wanted to minimize the damage as much as I could.”

He also spoke fondly of Monbebe [MONSTA X’s official fanclub name] as he said, “I can say this with confidence, after meeting Monbebe, I completely changed. I finally learned what it feels like to be loved. I wanted to be better every day.” According to Wonho, his life consisted of work, exercise, and connecting with fans. Even on overseas tours, he would hold live broadcasts with fans that would last three to four hours. He said, “It was the first time I had felt such warm emotions. So I didn’t want to disappoint them. I only wanted to do things our fans would like. I wanted to repay their love. But…”

Wonho explained that he felt like leaving the group was the least painful option for fans. He said, “There were many things I promised to them. That I would always be by their side. I’m sorry that I had to leave like this. I’d lived with only them in my mind.” But he explained that he felt like he had no other options. “In the past, I lived as Lee Ho Seok and in the present, I lived as Wonho. Does Wonho really have no responsibility in what Lee Ho Seok has done? I have to shoulder that responsibility. I hurt people with my past. I wanted to minimize that pain.”

Wonho explained that he didn’t leave his house for a while in case he caused any more damage. He said, “I still can’t forget our fans. I am full of regret. Just feeling like I should have done better for them? I just wanted to say I’m sorry, which is why I did this interview.”

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