9 K-Dramas Where The Leads Faked Their Romance Only To Make It Real

How often have you heard about faking it till you make it? Projecting scenarios with self-confidence and conviction, before you know it, your intent has taken shape in reality. And some of the best K-drama characters are perfect examples of this. They start a fake and sometimes contractual relationship, only to find themselves down the rabbit hole of love and longing. Here are nine such K-dramas where the main couples were faking their relationship, only to realize they had indeed got into what they had been avoiding all along.

Lie to Me

Gong Ah Jung (Yoon Eun Hye), a government employee, lies to her manipulative friend that she is engaged to be married to a rich man in order to save face about her non-existent love life. But to her horror, the lie snowballs into a situation beyond her control. As the news spreads, everyone assumes her fiancé is none other than the wealthy president of World Hotel Hyun Ki Joon (Kang Ji Hwan). As the rumors gain momentum, Ki Joon plays along with Ah Jung on the condition that she speaks out the truth. But when he realizes that Ah Jung has no intention to come clean, Ki Joon decides to take legal action against her. But before that, she needs to fulfill a contract with him. Given the craziness of their situation, who would have thought that the two would fall for each other madly and deeply? And the plot twist in the tale is the arrival of Ki Joon’s ex-fiancée, who wants him back.

“Lie to Me” is a fun ride with its own dramatic moments. The fun sparring between the two leads finally leads to scorching chemistry.

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Full House

Naive Ji Eun (Song Hye Kyo) is an aspiring scriptwriter who gets tricked into a vacation by her two so-called friends, and she ends up losing her home. Homeless and woebegone, she does not realize that the new owner is none other than the man whom she had run into on her vacation, Young Jae (Rain), a famous actor with a cocky charm and who is absolutely intolerant toward Ji Eun. Young Jae wants to win over the subject of his affection Hye Won and thinks a fake relationship with Ji Eun would serve the purpose. So the two enter into a contractual marriage, only to realize they have some serious sparks between them.

“Full House” is a fluffy and breezy rom-com. It’s a treat to watch both Song Hye Kyo and Rain so young and raw. Both the actors have a comforting screen presence, which translates into a relatable chemistry between their characters. It’s a no-fuss show, so grab the popcorn and enjoy the antics on screen!

“A Business Proposal”

This drama is a heady office romance which comes packed with all the classic romance tropes. Shin Ha Ri (Kim Sejeong) is a food researcher and is in love with her friend, who is a chef. Young Seo (Seol In Ah), a rich heiress and also Ha Ri’s best friend, is constantly avoiding being set up on blind dates by her father. She asks Ha Ri to fill in for her on one such blind date. The date in question is Kang Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop), the CEO of Go Food, who is as disinterested in dating as much as he is in marriage. But he is just going along with it so as to ward off his grandfather’s demands for getting settled. When Tae Moo meets Ha Ri, he is pretty intrigued and asks her to enter into a contractual relationship with him. The couple finds themselves in several situations, including the big reveal that Tae Moo is Ha Ri’s boss. As some serious sparks fly, it does not take much time for the fake to translate into a full blown passionate love affair.

“A Business Proposal” ticks all the boxes as an wholesome entertainer. Kim Sejeong is perfect as Ha Ri with an appealing screen presence, and her comedic timing is on point. Ahn Hyeo Seop is a charmer as Tae Moo, and his versatility as an actor comes to the fore again. Plus, the sizzling chemistry between the two leads is fire—this is a show that can be watched over and over again.

Coffee Prince

The OG when it comes to the gender-bender trope, “Coffee Prince” retains a timeless appeal. When the drop-dead handsome rich boy Choi Han Gyul (Gong Yoo), who shies away from responsibility of any kind, decides to avoid his grandmother’s matchmaking endeavors, it’s the start of a slippery slope for him. Han Gyul, who runs a coffee shop “Coffee Prince,” has only employed men to attract customers. Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye), a young woman who hustles between many jobs, is often mistaken for a boy and is one of his employees. Han Gyul asks Eun Chan to pose as his gay partner so as to avoid being set up on blind dates by his grandmother. What follows next is a rollercoaster as Han Gyul, unbeknownst of Eun Chan’s true identity, is attracted to her. As he questions his sexual orientation, Eun Chan, who is massively infatuated by him, struggles to tell him the truth.

“Coffee Prince” is the perfect brew. Though it’s a laugh out loud rom-com, it also raised several questions on gender stereotypes as well as same sex relationships and social mindsets. Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye are in sync from their comedic timing to their fiery chemistry. And Gong Yoo’s seductive charm made him a favorite actor of all time.

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Her Private Life

Sung Duk Mi (Park Min Young) leads a double life. She is a super efficient and talented curator at an art gallery by day. But there is a secret she holds close to her heart: being a devout fangirl of K-pop idol Cha Shi An (ONE). She is the devoted manager of a Shi An fan site, and her world revolves around her idol. Her universe gets rocked with the arrival of the gallery’s new art director, the suave Ryan Gold (Kim Jae Wook). The two are at constant loggerheads until he discovers Duk Mi’s secret. After Duk Mi is attacked by a bunch of high schoolers for being Shi An’s secret girlfriend, Ryan Gold steps in to masquerade as her boyfriend, and the two start fake dating. They are on thin ice, since the attraction between them is pure fire, and before you know it, all thoughts of Shi An are out of Duk Mi’s head.

“Her Private Life” is for all you romantics at heart as Kim Jae Wook immortalized Ryan Gold as one of K-drama’s most sought-after boyfriends of all time. He is pure gold as an understanding partner who never judges his girlfriend but is always attentive to her needs. Also, if you end up re-watching the many kiss scenes between the couple, I cannot blame you, since their chemistry did set the screens on fire.

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“Love to Hate You”

Nam Kang Ho (Yoo Tae Oh) is the ultimate romantic fantasy on screens, but in real life, this king of romance is the polar opposite. Kang Ho is suspicious of women after having his heart badly broken by his ex-girlfriend. Romancing his co-stars on screens is so repulsive to him that he resorts to taking calming pills before any romantic interlude on screens. But things change when he meets a badass man-hating lawyer named Yeo Mi Ran (Kim Ok Bin). Mi Ran loves them and leaves them, and she has no intentions of ever having a committed relationship. She enters into a contractual relationship with Kang Ho to squash rumors surrounding his personal life, and what starts off as hate at first sight develops into an intense romance. The two are a volatile combination, but can they survive the wave of scandals which are all set to erupt around them?

“Love to Hate You” is refreshing. Even though the show is as cliched as it can get, it still also breaks away from them. You get a badass female lead who is unapologetic and comfortable with who she is and is happy to defy stereotypes. Kim Ok Bin as Mi Ran is uninhibited and a natural. And Yoo Tae Oh as the cynical and brooding superstar will win your heart as the supportive boyfriend who is never the one to judge his girlfriend or her choices. Watch it for the laughs and of course for the fiery chemistry between the two leads.

Fated to Love You

An unanticipated one night stand between a wealthy chaebol and a timid office worker sends things amok. Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) and Kim Mi Young (Jang Nara) share a passionate encounter one night, which results in Mi Young getting pregnant and in a contractual marriage with Lee Gun. However, the two are unsure about their feelings, and Mi Young is way too timid in comparison to Lee Gun’s overpowering personality. The two part ways after an unfortunate accident. Years later, Mi Young is back, now self assured and a popular artist. She also has a supportive friend and a prospective partner in Daniel Pitt (Choi Jin Hyuk), who is also an artist. But fate has other things in store as Lee Gun and Mi Young once again find themselves facing each other. And they realize that what they actually had in the brief time they were together was not something fake but very real.

In “Fated to Love You,” the dynamics of the relationship between the two leads is nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster with plenty of heart-wrenching moments. And Jang Hyuk and Choi Jin Hyuk’s love-to-hate bromance gives some respite from the angst playing out.

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“Marriage, Not Dating”

Gong Ki Tae (Yeon Woo Jin) is a confirmed bachelor with no intentions to be weighed down by relationships, least of all marriage. However, his meddlesome family does not think the same and are on his case to settle down. He meets Jang Mi (Han Groo) by accident, and her presence itself irks him – after all, she broke his friend’s heart. She does not like him either, and given her past record of failed relationships, she is not big on men. Ki Tae soon sees her in a new light and finds her the perfect foil to get his family off his back. He presents her as his future wife. But can these two pull off their plan and not get entangled in anything else?

“Marriage, Not Dating” is your typical fare, and the drama features the classic “love to hate you” trope, where the leads only end up hating to love so much that it hurts. It is a hilarious watch, with several clichés that many so love in K-dramas.

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Because This Is My First Life

Nam Se Hee (Lee Min Ki) is a socially awkward man who does not date, dotes on his cat, and has spent his life savings in buying a house. But his finances are stretched, his mortgage is steep, and his job as an IT specialist leaves him with barely any disposable income. Ji Ho (Jung So Min) is an aspiring drama writer but is homeless ever since her brother and his pregnant partner moved into her apartment, and her lack of finances overwhelms her. Se Hee and Ji Ho enter into a contract and decide to live together—she gets a home, and he gets a flatmate plus someone to look after his cat. As these two get thrust into an unexpected situation as a fake couple, is there room for romance?

“Because This Is My First Life” has an unhurried pace, which complements the temperament of its reticent characters. Through the lens of Ji Ho one questions if marriage really is a means to an end, whilst Nam Se Hee in his strait-laced way addresses how personal choices need to be individualistic and not determined by society. Lee Min Ki as the straight-faced and stiff Se Hee will make your heart warm up to him, and Jung So Min as the sprightly yet cautious Ji Ho complements him well.

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Hey Soompiers, which one of these couples is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min HoGong YooCha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram

Currently watching:You Are My Glory

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