As the saying goes, Winter Sonata walked so the K-dramas we know and love now could run. In case you didn’t know, this series was a certified blockbuster during the early 2000s as it started the Hallyu Wave in Asia. In fact, it was so popular that they even made an anime series and stage musical adaptation after it!
As the series nears its 20th anniversary, Winter Sonata continues to be available for streaming via iFlix and Amazon Prime. And if this classic melodrama still has a special place in your heart (just like us!) and you’re wondering where the cast are now, you’ve come to the right place.
Here's what the cast members of Winter Sonata have been up to:
1. Bae Yong Joon as Kang Joon Sang and Lee Min Hyung
Bae Yong Joon retired from acting after 2007 and established his own entertainment agency, KeyEast. If you’ve watched Dream High, Yong Joon actually co-produced the series along with Park Jin Yeong of JYP Entertainment! News from The Investor Korea reports that he sold his entire stake share to SM Entertainment back in 2018. At present, he is managing SM’s marketing team and serves as an advisor for the global strategy of his agency. Fun fact! His agency houses famous actors like It’s Okay Not To Be Okay’s Kim Soo Hyun, and Train to Busan’s Ahn So Hee.
Husband to actress Park Soo Jin and a father of two, it’s also apparent that Yong Joon has been solely focused on his lovely family ever since he left acting!
2. Choi Ji Woo as Jeong Yoo Jin
Along with her other K-drama mega hit Stairway To Heaven, the ever gorgeous actress continues to be active in the industry! Recently, she did a fantastic cameo in the 13th and 15th episodes of Crash Landing On You. In 2018, Choi Ji Woo also tied the knot with her non-show biz husband. After she gave birth to her firstborn, she was selected as a model (along with her adorable baby girl!) for the Korean lifestyle brand, Mongdies, last October 2020.
3. Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang Hyuk
Thanks to Winter Sonata, Park Yong Ha rose to fame in Japan and decided to focus on becoming a musician. His single album, Say Goodbye, and full-length album, Love, were released in 2008. Both made it to the Top 10 of the Oricon Albums Chart.
Unfortunately, Yong Ha passed away on June 30, 2010. He commited suicide in his home, which was deemed a great tragedy in the industry during that time. Prior to his death, he was suffering from the pressures brought on by his career, and his father’s cancer diagnosis. In 2011, his good friend Kim Jae Joong of JYJ included a song dedicated to him in the album, In Heaven. On his first death anniversary, Japan prepared a film concert titled Park Yong-ha Films 2004-2010: We Love Yong-ha in remembrance of his phenomenal acting and musical performances throughout his lifetime.
Here’s Yong Ha singing Winter Sonata’s heart wrenching OST, My Memory.
4. Park Sol Mi as Oh Chae Rin
Park Sol Mi met her now husband, actor Han Jae Suk, on the set of the 2010 historical drama The Great Merchant. Together, they have two daughters. She is still actively doing various promotions and commercials in Japan while balancing her acting career and family life in Korea. Last 2019, Sol Mi made a cameo in the legal drama My Lawyer, Mr. Joe 2: Crime and Punishment. Currently stuck in quarantine like the rest of us,the actress also shared in her Instagram that she had been marathoning Kathniel films like She’s Dating the Gangster to Can't Help Falling in Love. OMG!
5. Lee Hye Eun as Kong Jin Sook
Within the year of Winter Sonata’s release, Lee Hye Eun also got married to her non-show biz husband. Ever since then, she’s been laying low and has been putting all her attention on her only son who’s now in middle school! Her recent acting projects include the 2017 film Come, Together for which she was nominated as Best Actress at the Wildflower Film Awards. She also appeared in the 2018 drama 100 Days My Prince as one of the village people.
6. Ryu Seung Soo as Kwon Yong Gook
Like his co-stars, Ryu Seung Soo became a husband to his non-show biz wife and a father to two children. The couple appeared on the Korean TV show Same Bed Different Dreams 2: You Are My Destiny in 2018, where they showed off their married life. He continues to be active in his career, guesting in variety shows like Let’s Eat Dinner Together, and acting in dramas such as OCN’s 2020 suspense thriller, Tell Me What You Saw.