Even though a member’s departure can be a sensitive topic among fans, it is actually common in the K-pop industry that members of a group come and go. Nothing lasts forever, and your favorite member in a boy-band won’t be staying forever in their group. Take Hangeng from Super Junior, for example, who left after filing a lawsuit against SM Entertainment. The same goes for Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong from TVXQ. The list can go on. Fans have every right to be upset, but they also have to understand that when a member from a group chooses to leave, it’s what they believe is best for them.It doesn’t mean you can’t see them again, just because they’re not in the group. Usually, they end up pursuing a solo career for themselves and still manage to rise in the industry. In this article, Channel-Korea will be providing you a list of former boy-band members who have worked hard after their departure from their groups, whether by being an actor, a producer, a solo artist, or something else! So, stay tuned!
Former Super Junior Member, Kim Ki-bum
In contrast to Hangeng, who left because of a dispute with SM, Kim Ki-bum split from his group after his contract was up. But, since his debut, Kim Ki-bum has only been involved in three Super Junior albums, the last being the album Sorry Sorry in 2009. After releasing Sorry Sorry, Kim Ki-bum decided to go on a temporary hiatus and pursue a career as an actor, starring in several dramas. Apparently, the 31-year-old idol never returned to join SuJu and, instead, announced his plan to leave after his contract expired in 2015. Even so, apparently there are many ELF, the name for Super Junior fans, who claim not to be hurt by Kim Ki-bum’s decision. Some say that Kim Ki-bum did not really intend to join Super Junior, but there were also those who said that he had worked hard since his debut with Super Junior. “Didn’t he enter Super Junior only for a project? He worked hard over the contract and left nothing wrong,” commented the netter. “Kim Ki-bum has worked hard since his debut, there is no reason to curse at him. I hope he succeeds now,” added another. “We already knew that he would go. He participated in all the shows and concerts before leaving, too,” another exclaimed. After his contract with SM ended, he signed with Clover Entertainment and continued to pursue an acting career. In 2017, Kim Ki-bum starred in the Chinese film My Kitchen Lover, released on August 25th. He also confirmed on November 8th, 2018, that he would be in the new SBS Plus variety show, Two Feet Life. He had the opportunity to reunite with one of his former group-mate, Kim Hee-chul, through the Matching Survival 1 + 1 program, which aired on Wednesday, September 9th, 2019. In the KBS program, Kim Ki-bum was a guest star on Heechul’s show. Heechul apparently felt emotional when he saw Kim Ki-bum. “It’s been a long time (since we last met). I guess I’ll cry,” Heechul said. After greeting each other happily, Kim Ki-bum shared his current activities. “I think I’ve only been home all year,” said Kim Kibum. The meeting between Heechul and Kim Ki-bum also became a topic of discussion among South Korean netizens.
Former WINNER Member, Nam Tae-hyun
After undergoing years of training, Nam Tae-hyun debuted as a member of Winner in 2014. Unfortunately, he left both Winner and their agency, YG Entertainment, two years later. To this day, not a few fans still regret Nam Tae-hyun’s decision to leave Winner, considering he has extraordinary musical ability. The 1994-born singer discussed the reason he left Winner during an interview with Ilgan Sports. “There are many internal problems because it’s a business that involves a lot of people working together,” Nam Tae-hyun said about his reasons for leaving the group. “First of all, I did not fit into the lifestyle in the group. At that time I suffered mentally.” “I feel I shouldn’t explain in detail the reasons why I left YG in every interview or through the media,” he continued. “But what I can say clearly is that my discharge was not the result of a certain incident day. That also means I didn’t make a big problem or anything.” “I had mental problems throughout the promotion period, there were differences in opinions in music and I did not fit into the group’s lifestyle. In general, there were many reasons, so there were still 5 years left on my contract but I decided to leave YG Entertainment,” he said. Nam Tae-hyun revealed that leaving YG was a difficult decision. “To be honest, leaving YG was a loss in my life. Everyone around me tried to stop me from leaving, but I was suffering mentally and I couldn’t help it. Not because of YG, but it was the situation,” he said. He was also asked about rumors that Winner’s personnel did not get along with each other. Denying the rumors, he said that, according to him, Winner is a team that has no problems between members. “I used to be called ‘Evil Maknae’. I’m the only one who has a strong personality. The members always talk and behave. Winner is a very good group. In my view, there may be differences and conflicts in music, but no one doesn’t get along.” After leaving Winner, Nam Tae-hyun formed a four-member rock band called South Club, and made their debut on June 27th, 2017, with their first EP, 90. Check out their latest music video, I’m Crazy, below!
Not only in is he part of a band, he also made a solo debut with the song Part.1 BLACK, which was released on December 18th, 2018. Check out the music video, below!
Former TEEN TOP Member, L.Joe
With a heavy heart, Teen Top had to give up one of its personnel, L.Joe, in 2017. L.Joe, whose real name is Lee Byung-hun, canceled his employment contract with TOP Media, and the label that sheltered him announced his resignation from the group, which was formed in 2010. Reported by Koreaboo, L.Joe was upset because many production houses contacted him to appear on television series. However, his agency seemed to deliberately reject the offers. After a long negotiation, TOP Media finally agreed, if L.Joe’s payment was raised to seven times the first offer. Feeling deterred from performing like a real artist, on February 9, 2017, L.Joe announced that he submitted a termination of the contract with TOP Media, which was due to expire in January, 2018. Since he left Teen Top, L.Joe has starred in many Korean dramas, such as Let’s Eat 3, A Pledge of God, Nokdu Flower, and Class of Lie, where he played as a student who gets bullied. In Ji Chang-wook’s latest drama, Melting Me Softly, he also took a cameo appearance as a staff member for a variety show.
Former INFINITE Member, Hoya
Hoya surprised fans with the news of his decision to leave INFINITE in August, 2017. Lee Ho-won, or known as Hoya, revealed the boy-band’s activities that were quite interesting. After his departure from INFINITE, he flew to the United States to travel and study. According to him, it was a sufficient learning experience. Apparently, after his decision to stay away from the group, he ventured to speak openly about the previous situation he had faced and his opinions about becoming part of an idol group. “I think I’m a doll. I can’t even tell you what I think. I just think if I have to dance and sing like a handsome idol, always have a good story, and always laugh,” Hoya said, as quoted by Koreaboo, Saturday, January 20th, 2018. Now that he has left his agency, he has the freedom to do many things that he wanted to do as an idol, but he still cannot do it. He even had plans to create a dance school together with the dancers. “I also have music that I really want to do. I think I can’t do it and it makes sense to end my activities as a singer.” After his departure from Infinite, Hoya made his musical debut in Hourglass, a play based on the mega-hit Korean drama Sandglass in 2017. In the same year, he starred in MBC’s cop drama, Two Cops. Hoya produced his solo debut with his first mini-album, Shower, on March 28, 2018. Check out his song Eyes On Me below!
He was then cast in Devilish Charm, a romantic comedy-drama. In the midst of everything, He also came to the Immortal Song 2 broadcast on August 4, 2018, and eventually won the episode by winning the highest scores. He has also become a dance coach/mentor in the KBS variety program, Dancing High, which focuses on teaching and mentoring dance to teenagers in Korea. He also published a digital single, Baby U, with Kriesha Chu in the music video, on September 12, 2018. Check out the music video of Baby U below!
On February 7, 2019, by announcing it through a post two days before the deadline, Hoya enlisted for military service. Let’s pray for him to come back safely!
Former 2PM Member, Jay Park
Jay Park was the leader of the famous South Korean boy-band 2PM, but, in 2009, he decided to leave the boy-band which raised his name. The reason for his departure is that he was accused of harassing the world of K-Pop by saying unpleasant things on social media. Finally, he chose to return to the country where he grew up, the United States. Even so, Jay Park was still considered part of JYP Entertainment – the agency that houses 2PM – so, in 2010, the work contract was finally terminated. Park actually admitted he was sad to have to leave 2PM. Unfortunately, he had to take this dramatic step so that the controversy about him in the K-Pop world would not spread any more. You could say, the steps taken by Jay Park were to reduce the action of angry fans. “At that time, more and more people were talking about this problem, and the confusion and misunderstanding became widespread,” he said. Park is sad to have disappointed his band-mates at 2PM. He also felt guilty about his parents. “I apologize for the mistakes I made at that time.” Finally, he returned to Seattle, Washington. Once there, he tried not to take money from his parents, so he was forced to work odd jobs, including working in a tire repair shop. Not long after, he finally reappeared in the music world by showing up on YouTube with a channel called Jayparkaom. He initially only covered other people’s songs, but his fans have missed the figure of Jay Park. He did it all for the sake of his fans. Since then, he became active again in the entertainment world by presenting his latest song. He also became the founder and CEO of the independent hip hop record labels AOMG and H1ghr Music, and produces many great songs. Check out his collaboration with Yultron, with On Fire below!