June 11, 1975
Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Busan Sooyoung Elementary Dukmoon Girl's High SchoolBusan Women's College - Aerobic Dance
|Years active||1994–present UB|
|Revised Romanization||Choe Ji-u|
|Revised Romanization||Choe Mi-hyang|
Choi Ji-woo (born Choi Mi-hyang on June 11, 1975) is a South Korean actress. She is known for starring in the television melodramas Beautiful Days (2001), Winter Sonata (2002), Stairway to Heaven (2003), The Suspicious Housekeeper (2013) and Temptation (2014) and the romantic comedy series Twenty Again (2015) and Woman with a Suitcase (2016).
Choi Mi-hyang was first discovered when she won a talent audition organized by MBC in 1994, then made her acting debut in the drama series War and Love in 1995. Afterwards, she adopted the stage name Choi Ji-woo.
She was cast in her first major role in 1996 film The Gate of Destiny, but due to her limited acting skills, she was replaced in the middle of filming. In the next couple of years Choi continued to star in both TV dramas and films, including The Hole (the Original version of Hollywood thriller Hush), as well as the romantic comedies First Kiss with Ahn Jae-wook and The Romantic President with Ahn Sung-ki. But it was her portrayals on TV of tragic heroines with a pure and innocent image—notably in Truth opposite Ryu Si-won and Beautiful Days opposite Lee Byung-hun—that boosted her rising popularity.
In 2002, she reunited onscreen with Bae Yong-joon (she previously had a supporting role in his 1996 drama First Love) that she would star in her most famous, iconic role. Directed by Yoon Seok-ho as the second installment of his "season dramas," Winter Sonata became a phenomenal hit throughout Asia and has been credited as one of the initiators of the Korean Wave. As a result, Choi gained wide pan-Asian recognition, especially a huge following in Japan where she acquired the nickname Ji-woo Hime ("Princess Ji-woo"). In 2009 she and Bae reprised their roles as voice actors for Winter Sonata Anime. She continues to be a lucrative star and brand in Japan, fetching high licensing/broadcasting rights for her dramas and selling out concerts and merchandise (tvN's E News compiled a list of the top Hallyu stars in Japan based on their approximate gross incomes for the first half of 2011, and Choi was #5 with approximately US$2 million).
After the success of her 2003 melodrama Stairway to Heaven with Kwon Sang-woo, Choi again attempted to break into film. She played a terminally ill heroine in Now and Forever, and a more risque character in sex comedy Everybody Has Secrets ("The Original Version of Irish film About Adam). Both films were poorly received by critics and audiences in South Korea, but performed well at the Japanese box office.
Choi then spent the next few years overseas, shooting the Chinese drama 101st Proposal with Sun Xing, and the Japanese drama RONDO opposite Yutaka Takenouchi. She returned to Korean television in 2007 in Air City alongside Lee Jung-jae; her role was the Chief Operating Officer of Incheon Airport.
In 2009, she starred opposite Yoo Ji-tae in the drama Star's Lover, playing a top actress who falls in love with an ordinary man. Choi received ₩48 million per episode, the highest salary for a Korean actress at the time (her record was later broken by Go Hyun-jung's ₩55 million for the 2010 drama Daemul).
That same year, she set up her own management agency called C,JW Company with her brother as CEO. She also joined the ensemble cast of semi-improvisational mockumentary Actresses, arguably her most significant film yet.
During the press conference for the 2011 series, Can't Lose, co-starring Yoon Sang-hyun, featuring a lawyer couple facing their own divorce suit, she was asked if she worried about shedding her pure and innocent image. Choi said, "I've had the same image for 15 years. Isn't it time for me to break out? I was a melodrama queen and now I want the title of romantic comedy queen." She added that she had gained more fans after showing her cheerful, easygoing side as a guest on the reality show 2 Days & 1 Night.
Later that year, she became the host of Choi Ji-woo's Delicious Korea on food lifestyle cable channel O'live TV alongside fashion designer Jung Kuho. The 5-episode show, which aired from November 23 to December 21, 2012, aimed to promote Korean cuisine and culture to the world, and the two hosts traveled through South Korea and introduced little-known regional food to the viewers.
She next headlined the 2013 remake of the hit 2011 Japanese drama Kaseifu no Mita. In The Suspicious Housekeeper, Choi played the titular character, an icy and stoic yet amazingly capable housekeeper who comes to work for a recently widowed father and his four children. Despite the difficulty of not being able to react to her costars, Choi said she chose the role because she "was really charmed by the way the heroine refrains from letting her emotions show."
In February 2014, Choi signed with the talent agency YG Entertainment. She then reunited with previous costar Kwon Sang-woo in Temptation; she played a rich woman who makes a dangerous offer to a married man.
Choi joined the fourth season of travel-reality show Grandpas Over Flowers in 2015, where she and Lee Seo-jin backpacked through Greece with veteran actors Lee Soon-jae, Shin Goo, Park Geun-hyung and Baek Il-seob. She was next cast in Happy Facebook, a film about three couples and Choi's first big-screen project in six years.
This was followed by the cable series Twenty Again, where she played a woman who became a wife and mother at 19 then decides to experience campus college life for the first time at age 38 when she becomes a university student alongside her 20-year-old son.
Choi majored in aerobic dance at Busan Women's College. She later enrolled in Hanyang University's Department of Theater and Film and completed her first year; however she had to withdraw from college studies due to her hectic work schedule.
|1995||War and Love||MBC|
|1996||MBC Best Theater "사랑, 그 하나만으로도"||MBC|
|First Love||Kang Seok-hee||KBS2|
|Three Guys and Three Girls||(guest appearance)||MBC|
|1997||Happiness Is in Our Hearts||Seon Kyung-ah||SBS|
|1999||Love In 3 Colors||Eun Ji-soo||KBS2|
|Love Story||Min-jung (episode 2: "Message")||SBS|
|Mr. Duke||Jang Soo-jin||MBC|
|2001||Beautiful Days||Kim Yeon-soo||SBS|
|2002||We Are Dating Now||(cameo, episode 15)||SBS|
|Winter Sonata||Jeong Yoo-jin||KBS2|
|2003||Stairway to Heaven||Han Jung-seo||SBS|
|2004||Full House||Herself (cameo, episode 3)||KBS2|
|101st Proposal||Li Shao Rong||BTV|
|2007||Air City||Han Do-kyung||MBC|
|2008||Star's Lover||Lee Ma-ri||SBS|
|2009||Winter Sonata Anime||Jeong Yoo-jin (voice)||SKY PerfecTV!|
|2011||Fuyu no Sakura 冬のサクラ||Inaba Tatsuki's Korean girlfriend
(cameo, episode 2)
|Can't Lose||Lee Eun-jae||MBC|
|2012||City Lovers||female CEO||AHTV|
|2013||The Suspicious Housekeeper||Park Bok-nyeo||SBS|
|2015||We Broke Up||(cameo)||Naver TV Cast|
|Twenty Again||Ha No-ra||tvN|
|2016||Woman with a Suitcase||Cha Geum-joo||MBC|
|First Seven Kisses||Goddess||Naver TV Cast|
|1996||The Adventures of Mrs Park||Eun-jin|
|1997||Hallelujah||Bar madam (bit part)|
|1998||Alien||Kim's daughter (voice)|
|First Kiss||Song Yeon-hwa|
|1999||Nowhere to Hide||Kim Ju-yeon|
|2002||The Romantic President||Choi Eun-soo|
|2004||Everybody Has Secrets||Han Sun-young|
|2005||Shadowless Sword||Female martial arts gosu -Special Participation|
|2006||Now and Forever||Han Hye-won|
|2016||Like for Likes||Joo-Ran|
|1996||"Endless Love"||Kim Jung-min|
|1998||"Scenery"||Goo Bon-seung and Jang Dong-gun|
|"Na Na Na"||Yoo Seung-jun|
|1999||"For Your Soul"||Jo Sung-mo|
|2003||"The Young Prince's Dream"||Cha Tae-hyun|
|SMAPxSMAP - Bistro SMAP||Guest||Fuji TV|
|2005||SMAPxSMAP skit "Old Maid"||Guest||Fuji TV|
|2006||Masahiro Nakai's SMAP Friday||Guest||TBS|
|The Tunnels' Thanks to Everyone||Guest||Fuji TV|
|2007||Sanma no Manma||Guest||Fuji TV|
|2008||Line to the Law Center||VTR appearance||NTV|
|2011||2 Days & 1 Night||Guest, "Actress Special" (episodes 193-195)||KBS2|
|Saturday Across Generations||Guest||KBS2|
|Healing Camp, Aren't You Happy||Guest||SBS|
|2012||Choi Ji-woo's Delicious Korea||Host||O'live TV|
|Running Man||Guest (episodes 126-127)||SBS|
|2013||MBC Human Documentary - Love||Narration||MBC|
|2014||Three Meals a Day||Guest (episodes 7-8)||tvN|
|2015||Grandpas Over Flowers||Cast member (season 4)||tvN|
|Three Meals a Day - Season 2||Guest (episodes 10-11)||tvN|
Awards and nominations
|1995||Korea's Isabelle Adjani Contest||N/A||N/A||Won|
|1996||KBS Drama Awards||Best New Actress||First Love||Nominated|
|1997||18th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actress||The Hole||Nominated|
|1998||34th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress (Film)||Won|
|21st Golden Cinematography Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|1999||14th Golden Disk Awards||Golden Video Best Actress||For Your Soul||Won|
|20th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nowhere to Hide||Nominated|
|2000||37th Grand Bell Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|MBC Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress||Mr. Duke||Won|
|2001||SBS Drama Awards||Top 10 Stars||Beautiful Days||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actress||Won|
|2002||38th Baeksang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actress (TV)||Winter Sonata||Won|
|Model Line Best Dresser Awards||Swan Award||N/A||Won|
|KBS Drama Awards||Popularity Award||Winter Sonata||Won|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress||Won|
|2003||Andre Kim Best Star Awards||Female Star Award||N/A||Won|
|26th Golden Cinematography Awards||Most Popular Actress||The Romantic President||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top 10 Stars||Stairway to Heaven||Won|
|Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Won|
|2004||40th Baeksang Arts Awards||Most Popular Actress (TV)||Won|
|4th Proud Korean Awards
(Journalists Federation of Korea)
|2005||41st Baeksang Arts Awards||Hallyu Special Award||N/A||Won|
|The Motion Pictures Association of Korea||Hallyu Special Award||N/A||Won|
|2006||Dior Timeless Beauty Awards||Recipient||N/A||Won|
|2009||International Cultural Industry Exchange Foundation Awards||Recipient||N/A||Won|
|4th Seoul International Drama Awards||Inducted into the Star Hall of Fame||N/A||Won|
|36th Tourism Day||Presidential Commendation||N/A||Won|
|SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Star's Lover||Nominated|
|2010||World Tourism Cities Forum||Top Popularity Award||N/A||Won|
|2011||MBC Drama Awards||Best Couple Award with Yoon Sang-hyun||Can't Lose||Nominated|
|2012||7th Asia Model Festival Awards||Asia Star Award||N/A||Won|
|Seoul International Social Work Conference||Social Welfare Award||N/A||Won|
|2013||SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||The Suspicious Housekeeper||Nominated|
|2014||7th Korea Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Temptation||Nominated|
- "Choi Ji-woo talks being replaced". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 December 2011.
- "Producer Yun Seok-ho, the creator of Yonsama and the hallyu frenzy". KBS Global. 17 January 2005.
- "Is it all over already? Gloomy signs overshadow rosy statistics of Hallyu". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. 11 July 2005.
- "Pure Love: Tear-Jerking Love Stories Enthrall Japanese Women". Web Japan. 14 October 2004.
- "Bae, Choi to Voice Winter Sonata Cartoon". The Korea Times. 30 May 2008.
- "A reunion in 7 years: Yonsama and Jiwoohime". 10Asia. 29 September 2009.
- "Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo reunite for Winter Sonata anime". 10Asia. 2 February 2010.
- "Love Letter Starring Choi Ji-woo and Cho Han-sung to Open Next Year". KBS Global. 5 August 2005.
- "Yeonriji ("Now and Forever") Depends Heavily on Ji-woo Hime". The Korea Times via Hancinema. 13 April 2006.
- "Sexy Secret Has Little to Tell". The Korea Times. 29 July 2004.
- "Sex and Laughter in a Game of Love". The Dong-a Ilbo. 29 July 2004.
- "Choi Ji-woo to Co-Star with Takenouchi Yutaka". KBS Global. 4 July 2005.
- "Actress Choi Ji-woo Stars in Joint Korean-Japanese TV Drama". KBS Global. 20 December 2005.
- "TV Drama Rondo Starring Choi Ji-woo Suffers Low Viewer Ratings". KBS Global. 24 February 2006.
- "This is Who I am". W Korea (in Korean). June 2007.
- "Celebrity's Sweetheart Knocks on Viewers Hearts". The Korea Times. 2 December 2008.
- "Mega drama duo signals hot winter". The Korea Herald. 1 December 2008.
- "Koh Hyun-jung, highest paid Korean actress". The Korea Times. 12 April 2011.
- "Ko Hyun-jung Sets New Soap Opera Earnings Record". The Chosun Ilbo. 12 April 2011.
- "Actresses Choosing To Be Managed By Family". KBS World. 10 December 2010.
- "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 1)". 10Asia. 23 November 2009.
- "Actresses is a miracle achieved, says Koh (Part 2)". 10Asia. 23 November 2009.
- "Choi Ji-woo Can't Lose in romantic comedy" Archived October 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. The Korea Times. 23 August 2011.
- "Choi Ji-woo Thrilled About Shaking Off Old Image". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 August 2011.
- "Choi Ji-woo to return to Chinese TV series in 9 years, teaming up with Qin Hao". 10Asia. 27 June 2012.
- "Choi Ji Woo Stars in Her First Chinese Drama in Nine Years". enewsWorld. 27 June 2012.
- "Choi Ji-woo returns to Chinese drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. 28 June 2012.
- Lim, Youngjin (2012-10-29). "최지우, 요리프로 MC발탁..디자이너 정구호와 호흡".
- "Choi Ji-woo Will Introduce Korean Food as TV Host". 10Asia. 30 October 2012.
- "Choi Ji Woo to Look Far and Wide for Delicious Korean Foods in a Documentary". enewsWorld. 3 November 2012.
- "Choi Ji-woo to Play Housekeeper in an Upcoming Drama". 10Asia. 31 July 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30.
- "Choi Ji-woo to Play Housemaid in a New Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. 10 August 2013.
- "Choi Ji-woo to play modern-day Mary Poppins". The Korea Herald. 16 September 2013.
- "Suspicious role challenged Choi". Korea JoongAng Daily. 5 December 2013.
- "Choi Ji Woo Signs with YG Entertainment". enewsWorld. 26 February 2014.
- "Actress Choi Ji-woo joins YG Entertainment". The Korea Herald. 27 February 2014.
- "Actress Choi Ji-woo Joins YG Entertainment". 10Asia. 26 February 2014.
- "Hallyu icon joins YG Family". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 February 2014.
- "Look who's back together: Kwon Sang-woo, Choi Ji-woo re-united in SBS drama Temptation". The Korea Times. 11 July 2014.
- "Choi Ji-woo joins grandpas on tvN show". K-pop Herald. 16 February 2015.
- "Choi Ji-woo is real gem in Grandpas over Flowers". The Korea Herald. 24 March 2015.
- "Hallyu star joins Grandpas Over Flowers". The Korea Times. 25 March 2015.
- "Korea's 4 favorite Grandpas return". Korea JoongAng Daily. 27 March 2015.
- "Choi Ji-woo returns to film". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 June 2015.
- "Choi Ji Woo Confirmed for New tvN Drama". enewsWorld. 9 July 2015.
- "Choi Ji-woo to play a college student Actress". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 10, 2015.
- "Innocent Cougars?". The Korea Times. 28 December 2009.
- "Choi Ji-woo and Lee Jin-wook breakup". 10Asia. 28 April 2011.
- "Hallyu actress Choi Ji-woo publicly seeks for a date". WorknPlay. 26 December 2011.
- "Choi Ji Woo to make a guest appearance in winter drama, Fuyu no Sakura". Tokyo Hive. 9 January 2011.
- "Choi Ji-woo Takes Lead in ALI's New Music Video". 10Asia. 31 January 2013.
- "Top Stars Win Andre Kim Awards". The Korea Times. 1 May 2007.
- "Choi Ji-woo Named Korea's Greatest Acting Beauty". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 August 2006.
- "Star Hall of Fame Celebrates Choi Ji-woo". The Chosun Ilbo. 20 August 2009.
- "Dramas, Stars to Compete at Seoul Intl Drama Awards". The Korea Times. 25 August 2009.
- "Actress Choi Ji-woo to receive President's honor". 10Asia. 24 September 2009.
- "Asia Model Awards". KBS World. 18 January 2012.
- "Choi Ji-woo, Kara win Asia Star at 2012 Asia Model Awards". The Korea Herald. 19 January 2012.
- "Choi Ji Woo receives Seoul City Social Welfare Award". StarN News. 7 September 2012.