Hyun Bin: Stardom After the Army—Still a Hero to His Fans

Hyun Bin, Korean Superstar

Hyun Bin, Binnie to his fans, is adored in many nations for his charm, good looks (natural: no plastic surgery!), acting ability and humility. And he picks good roles.

In some ways, you could argue, Hyun Bin is iconic of Korean stardom. He has the looks, the smile, the charm, the modesty, the “princely” bearing that wears so well in Cinderella stories—which, after all, is one of the attractive themes in Korean Drama. As Korean Drama continually finds new fans around the world, stars like Hyun Bin become world stars, no longer just “K-Stars.”

Hyun Bin, also known as Binnie among his fans, is considered as one of the handsomest and hottest Korean stars worldwide. His looks plus his acting talent moved more women to fall in love with him; he has one of the biggest bases of hardcore fans in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, all of Asia, and around the world.. Aside from dominating ratings in Korean drama, he was also cast in numerous films, product promotions, and music videos.

The Rise to Stardom
Hyun Bin is near-universally known as the epitome of Korean stars, but Korean fans and other fans across the globe probably first became really aware of him in the run-away ratings champ, “My Name is Kim Sam Soon,” opposite fellow star Kim Sun Ah. Bringing in a 53.4% share by episode 16, the series has been bested by only a couple of dramas. In the series, Hyun Bin played Jin Hyeon, an angsty and arrogant French restaurant owner who looks for the best pastry chef he can find. Landing the job was Kim Sam Soon, played by Kim Sun Ah, a tough-as-nails and pastry chef with great talent in baking—and who appeared to have indulged in too many of her own cakes. Judged too old and “chubby” by characters in the drama, the Cinderella story that follows is classic “plain-poor-plump girl steals prince’s heart”, but with truly comic flair and personality. Fans couldn’t get enough of Hyun Bin.

Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won created a sensation in Secret Garden.

Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won created a sensation in Secret Garden.

Secret Garden Phenomena
Secret Garden is Hyun Bin’s most famous role, played alongside co-star Ha Ji Won, who also gained popularity for different dramas like Hwang Jin Yi. In this Korean fantasy romance drama, their characters, they begin hating each other, mysteriously changed bodies, resorted to a comical bickering relationship—and, of course, fell in love. Secret Garden made tacky track suits fashionable. Hyun Bin and Ha’s chemistry made a lot of people fall in love with both of them and led to Secret Garden’s high ratings, dozens of awards for everyone, Secret Garden parody fever, and a near cult status.

Military Service and Global Heartbreak
Secret Garden and Hyun Bin were at the height of their popularity when the actor broke the news that he was enrolling in military service. As a mandatory service, it took the actor away from his fans for an agonizingly long 21 months.

The news resulted in global heartbreak. Fans cried, but kept him alive in forums and fansites. Media followed his career in the marines.  The actor himself was said he would miss his fans, and sounded as if he meant it.

A Sensational Comeback
Many actor’s careers couldn’t endure a 21 month hiatus, especially in the highly volatile “next greatest sexy superstar” environment of Korean drama. However, fans hung on like pitbulls, showing undying love for Hyun Bin. When he finally discharged, crowds met him. The actor broke into tears, as charming and popular as ever..

Comeback is also not an issue for  Binnie. Several months after his return, after a popular fan tour, and weighting many options, he accepted his first sageuk-themed movie, The King’s Wrath. By now, fans across the globe look forward to his return to the big screen, especially in a movie that is his first historical-themed show.

Through fans’ support this eternally popular star didn’t lose any shine off his superstar status.

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