Ju Ji Hoon, one of the most sought-after leading men in South Korea, was not always as popular as he is today. In fact, in a recent interview, the actor revealed that he used to get a lot of hate comments which even led to him deactivating his social media.
Yup, you read that right! Before we came to know him as Lee Chang in Netflix’s zombie thriller series Kingdom, Ji Hoon’s first breakthrough leading role was also as a crown prince in the hit 2006 K-drama Goong, more popularly known in the Philippines as Princess Hours. The MBC drama, which also starred Yoon Eun Hye, was Ji Hoon’s acting debut—and while it was a hit both in Korea and abroad, the lead actor opened up about how “a lot of people didn’t like [him]” back then.
On the December 9 episode of tvN’s “You Quiz on the Block” where Ji Hoon made a guest appearance, he looked back on his first acting project as prince Lee Shin on Princess Hours. “As Princess Hours was based on such a popular comic book, everyone had high expectations for the drama,” he said. “A lot of people didn't like me though. They wrote so many hate comments about me online, especially on my social media.”
In an article by SBS Star, the actor reportedly revealed that one of the primary reasons for the hate was his skin color. He said, “The comments were like, 'Leave Princess Hours. We don't want to see you on it anymore,' 'How are you a prince? You don't have the right skin color for it. You are too dark,' 'Are you from the countryside or something?' and things like that.”
“Princess Hours was my debut project, and those words were not too easy to hear,” he added. “I had to delete my social media in the end.”
While it may sound like an unhappy memory, the actor ultimately pulled through and became one of the most recognized actors in South Korea. His role as prince Lee Shin on Princess Hours has also been known as one of his most iconic portrayals.