2014 in Review: Love, Loss, and Lawsuits

2014 was certainly a dynamic year in the world of Korean entertainment! There were many budding relationships and marriages that popped up in 2014, as well as some great comebacks by much-beloved musicians. On the other hand, it was also one of the most difficult years in recent memory, with many tragic losses and disappointing lawsuits that seemed to never stop. With 2015 right around the corner, let’s take a look back at some major news topics of 2014 that made us laugh and cry.

Relationships and Marriages

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Starting on a positive note, many more celebrities were open about their romantic relationships in 2014, with some even getting married!

The romantic relationships of the Girls’ Generation members were particularly spotlighted throughout 2014. YoonA and Lee Seung Gi‘s relationship kicked off the year as it was revealed on New Year’s Day. Following suit, SM Entertainment confirmed Sooyoung and actor Jung Kyung Ho‘s relationshipTiffany and 2PM‘s Nichkhun‘s relationship, and finally, Taeyeon and Baekhyun‘s relationship.

Among all the celeb weddings that took place in 2014, Super Junior‘s Sungmin and Kim Sa Eun‘s wedding was particularly notable as Sungmin became the first married member of Super Junior and one of the very few currently-active idols to be married.

Legendary Comebacks

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2014 saw a variety of music legends triumphantly returning to the music scene. Most notable was the iconic Seo Taiji, who shed his usual mysterious facade and seemed eager to appeal to a younger audience, with his immensely successful collaboration with IU and appearances on variety shows, something he has never done previously.

One of the most popular idol groups of the early 2000s, g.o.d, also reunited, releasing various singles to much acclaim. They also held a series of successful, sold-out concerts where fans were able to relive the golden days. g.o.d was recently voted the artist of the year by their fellow musicians.

Male duo Fly to the Sky also had a much-awaited comeback after a five year hiatus, topping numerous charts with their comeback single “You You You.” Project group S (Kangta, Shin Hyesung, Lee Ji Hoon) also made a return to the music scene after a 11-year long hiatus.

Next page: Tragic Losses

Tragic Losses 

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Unfortunately, 2014 was a year filled with losses, from the Sewol Ferry incident that shocked the nation to the deaths of beloved stars in the industry.

Earlier in January, Super Junior‘s Leeteuk suffered a tremendous loss, as his father and grandparents passed away under tragic circumstances. Leeteuk has had a difficult year since then, as he admitted recently that he wishes he could erase 2014 from his memories.

Group Cool‘s Yoo Chae Young passed away after a brave battle with stomach cancer in July. And perhaps one of the most shocking moments of 2014 for K-pop fans was when we lost EunB and RiSe of Ladies’ Code in a fatal car accident. As they were much adored and young, only a year into their budding career, the news of their passing was extremely difficult for many fans to take in.

The death of rock legend “The Devil” Shin Hae Chul took the nation by surprise in October, as it was a such a sudden loss. Losing actress Kim Ja Ok to cancer in November was another difficult blow for many. The year didn’t stop there, with the news of singer Joanne passing away after a car accident in LA.

Next page: Lawsuits and Accusations

Lawsuits and Accusations

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Popular actor Kim Hyun Joong admitted to physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend after a lawsuit that was extensively covered in the mediaLee Byung Hun caused a storm when he reported two women for blackmailing him, one of whom was Glam‘s Dahee, and the accused then claimed that he was romantically involved with one of them.

Next page: Idols vs. Agency

Idols Speak Out

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Many idols spoke up about their unfair management in 2014, with some even suing their agency. EXO‘s Kris and Luhan both left their group, suing SM Entertainment in the process. They both similarly claimed that SM treated them unfairly in cases that are still ongoing.

B.A.P decided to sue their agency as a group for their “slave contract” with TS Entertainment.

Although it did not end in a lawsuit, the series of confusing tweets by ZE:A‘s leader Moon Junyoung in September caused concern for many fans as he accused his CEO and company Star Empire of maltreatment.

Idols Leaving, Left and Right

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Idols leave their groups all the time, but in 2014 we saw some more unlikely members leave their group. EXO’s Kris and Luhan leaving left many EXO-L’s worrying for the other members of the popular boy group, with rumors going around about who will be the next one to leave. Although some fans may have seen it coming, Jessica leaving Girls’ Generation broke many Sones’ hearts, while Lee Joon and Thunder‘s departure from MBLAQ was a painful one for A+. Earlier in the year in January Lee Sem and Eunji left Nine Muses when the nine-member girl group was just beginning to become more and more popular. Nine Muses’ leader Ryu Sera also left in June.

Idols Diss It Out

The “Control Beat” diss battle of 2013 continued to show its influence into 2014, as idol rappers took it into their hands to diss each other. After the alleged disses of iKON‘s BobbyVIXX‘s Ravi and M.I.B‘s Sims spoke out against him, releasing their own diss tracks.

Next page: Controversies Regarding Substances

Controversies Over Substances

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Drug and alcohol issues have always been prevalent in the entertainment industry, but there were some very notable incidents that caught the public’s attention. 2NE1 member Park Bom‘s 2010 drug incident resurfaced, resulting in her leaving her variety program “Roommateand taking time off of public events. Rookie rapper Kemy of girl group A.KOR targeted Bom for the controversy in a diss track.

G-Dragon was heavily criticized for his drug references on Instagram by the public.

Long-running variety program “Infinity Challenge” also had a particularly difficult year as it saw two of its members Gil and Noh Hong Chul step down due to drunk driving.

Next page: Unexpected Variety Stars

Unexpected Variety Stars

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The variety world was an interesting one in 2014, as unlikely stars rocketed to fame with their variety show stints.

Perhaps the biggest stars of 2014 were Song Il Gook‘s triplets Daehan, Mingook, and Manse, who charmed their way into everyone’s hearts with their appearances on the show “Superman Returns.” Proving their immense popularity, they managed to sell over 125,000 copies of their 2015 calendar which was created for charity.

It was also the year of the foreigners in the variety TV scene, as “NonSummit” became the hottest variety show in town (and consequently, caused quite a stir when panel member Enes Kaya was caught in a cheating scandal), while foreigner celebs like Henry Lau of Super Junior-M, Jackson of GOT7, and Kangnam of M.I.B rose to fame through their appearances on variety shows.

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With many of the lawsuits still ongoing with some trial dates scheduled for next year, 2015 may prove to be yet another controversy and surprise-filled year. Let’s hope that in 2015, there won’t be as many tragedies as we had in 2014.

What do you think, Soompiers? What stood out to you the most in 2014?