SINGAPORE - K-pop star Wonho of the rising boy band Monsta X has confirmed, to the shock of fans around the world, that he will leave the group.
The announcement on Thursday (Oct 31) comes after a string of allegations levelled at him and fellow bandmate Shownu by former idol trainee Han Seo Hee and television personality Jung Da Eun.
Jung, Wonho's former roommate, has accused him of owing her money, and stealing her items and selling them.
Han further alleged that Wonho, whose real name is Lee Ho-seok, was in juvenile detention as a teenager.
Following the news, South Korean tabloid Dispatch also reported that Wonho, 26, had smoked marijuana with Jung back in 2013. The consumption of marijuana for recreational use is banned in South Korea.
Monsta X's management agency Starship Entertainment released a statement on Thursday which said they had decided to "part ways amicably" with Wonho after a long discussion.
It added that they respect Wonho, whose decision was made to "make sure the recent chain of events doesn't distract from all of the exciting things that are happening for Monsta X now and what lies ahead in the future".
The company also said that it will continue to pursue legal action against "malicious and distorted claims related to this matter".
Wonho later posted a picture of a letter he wrote to fans, apologising to his staff, Monsta X members and fans.
According to a translation by K-pop news site Soompi, he wrote: "I was immature and have made big and small mistakes, but after becoming a trainee and making my debut, I stayed on track and worked hard to avoid being ashamed of myself."
Monsta X debuted in 2015.
Another member Shownu, 27, was also affected as Han accused Shownu of having an affair with a married woman.
Starship Entertainment addressed these rumours and confirmed that Shownu was in contact with the woman in question before she got married. They added that he was not aware that she had gotten married earlier this year in August and only found out when the woman's husband contacted the agency to clarify matters. The agency says that Shownu has not contacted the woman since he found out about her marriage.
Monsta X released their newest song Someone's Someone last month and will continue promotions as a six-piece band.
In response to Wonho's departure from the group, Jung, who has been blamed for the band's troubles, said on Instagram that "(Wonho's) life was already destroyed by himself wayyyyyyyy long ago".
Fans are taking Wonho's departure badly - many are upset with Starship Entertainment for severing ties with Wonho instead of protecting him. Some are concerned that despite the band's shake-ups they have to continue promotions this week.
A Korean hashtag which translates to Wonho I Love You has been trending worldwide and another - #WonhoComeback - has been trending in Singapore.
Prior to their current spate of troubles, Monsta X had been a steadily rising star in the crowded K-pop industry - they signed with the Los Angeles-based label Epic Records this May. The group also made a cameo in the highly-rated Cartoon Network animated series We Bare Bears, the first K-pop group to do so.