Song-Song couple split

Third party behind divorce?

Park Bo-gum recently starred in the romance drama Encounter with Song Hye-kyo, leading to speculation that he is the reason for the split.
Park Bo-gum recently starred in the romance drama Encounter with Song Hye-kyo, leading to speculation that he is the reason for the split.PHOTO: TVN

Soon after news broke that South Korean actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo were taking steps to divorce, rumours began to swirl about a third party, with the superstars' television shows and luxury house coming under intense scrutiny too.

Song Joong-ki shocked fans on Thursday when he announced that he and his Descendants Of The Sun co-star Song Hye-kyo were filing for divorce after 18 months of marriage.

The pair, known as the Song-Song couple, had captured hearts with their fairy-tale romance after meeting on the set of the 2016 hit drama series.

They announced in July 2017 that they would tie the knot on Oct 31 that year, after previously denying that they were dating.

South Korean and Chinese media outlets quickly speculated that South Korean actor Park Bo-gum could be the reason behind the divorce as he recently starred in the TVN drama Encounter with Song Hye-kyo. The romance drama aired from last November to January.

Taiwan's Apple Daily also alleged in a February report that Song Joong-ki was having an affair with his wife's make-up artist.

On Thursday, hours after the rumour started to spread online, Park's agency, Blossom Entertainment, told local media outlets it is false.

A statement, released to The Korea Herald, said: "Park Bo-gum, who recently starred in the drama with Song Hye-kyo, is unexpectedly mentioned in the rumour. It is offensive that Park's name is mentioned in the divorce.

"The agency will take strong action against groundless rumours regarding Park. Rumours about Park Bo-gum and Song Hye-kyo are absolutely not true."

According to The Korea Herald, some people suggested that Song Hye-kyo must be responsible for the divorce as it was Song Joong-ki who announced it. However, others disputed the speculation.

The Korea Herald also noted that it is unusual for celebrities to voluntarily announce their divorce. They tend to lie low until news of it breaks instead.

The divorce announcement's timing was also considered odd, the publication added, because when productions are still running, celebrities tend not to comment on their personal lives.

Song Joong-ki's new fantasy drama series, Arthdal Chronicles, is halfway through its 18-episode run.

Immediately after the divorce was made public, the share price of the production company behind the show, Studio Dragon, dropped. But it almost recovered as of 2pm on Thursday.

The share price was 100 won (12 Singapore cents) lower than the previous day's closing price of 69,700 won.

Meanwhile, a house in the posh neighbourhood of Hannam-dong in Seoul, known to be owned by Song Joong-ki, has drawn media attention again.

In May 2017, The Korea Herald reported that Song Joong-ki had bought a luxury house in Hannam-dong in January.

After the couple announced their engagement in July that year, there was speculation that the newlyweds would move into the house, The Korea Herald reported.

A report by Korean newspaper Ilyo Sinmun said the house has been empty for months, sparking claims that the couple have been separated for a while.

"Most of the residents in the area leave out garbage bags in front of their houses for pick-up, but I haven't seen any trash in front of Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo's house," a local resident was quoted as saying.

But another newspaper, Hankook Ilbo, reported that the house was never used as a marital home.

"The house was empty from the beginning. Song Joong-ki moved into where Song Hye-kyo had been living. They never said the house was their home," the report said, quoting a close acquaintance of the couple.

On Thursday, Song Hye-kyo's agency, United Artists Agency, said in an official statement that the couple's split is due to differences in personality.

"The reason for the divorce is differences in personality, and because the two were unable to overcome their differences, they were forced to come to this decision," it said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'Third party behind divorce?'. Print Edition | Subscribe