Han modeling for Marie Claire Korea in 2017.
September 18, 1981
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Revised Romanization||Han Ye-seul|
Han Ye-seul (Hangul: 한예슬; born Leslie Kim on September 18, 1981) is an American-born South Korean actress. She made her acting debut in the sitcom Nonstop 4 (2003), and has since played leading roles in television dramas such as Couple or Trouble (2006), Tazza (2008), and Birth of a Beauty (2014), as well as the films Miss Gold Digger (2007) and Penny Pinchers (2011).
Leslie Kim was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended Cerritos High School and graduated from Cerritos College with an associate degree in Computer Graphics. She is fluent in both English and Korean.
She began her modeling career in South Korea after winning the SBS Supermodel Contest in 2001. Under the stage name Han Ye-seul, she made her acting debut in the popular sitcom Nonstop 4 in 2003. Han quickly rose to fame, and she renounced her U.S. citizenship in 2004 and became a naturalized South Korean citizen to continue establishing herself in Korean entertainment. Her performances in Forbidden Love (2004) and That Summer's Typhoon (2005) received poor reviews, with critics dismissing her as primarily a commercial model and not a real actress.
Han proved her detractors wrong with Couple or Trouble (also known as Fantasy Couple, 2006), a remake of Overboard written by the Hong sisters. Playing a spoiled heiress who becomes an amnesiac after a yacht accident, Han was praised for her comic timing and the series was a hit.
She further embraced the screwball comedy genre with her first film Miss Gold Digger (2007). Despite the film's lackluster box office, Han's portrayal of an advertising executive who juggles four different men in order to catch the ideal husband won her several Best New Actress accolades from local award-giving bodies, including the prestigious Grand Bell Awards and Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Han next starred in Tazza (2008), a TV adaptation of Huh Young-man's manhwa of the same name about gamblers and card sharks. This was followed up with the Lee Kyung-hee-penned Will It Snow for Christmas?, a melodrama about childhood sweethearts who reunite as adults in 2009.
Spy Myung-wol controversy
In 2011, Han was cast as the titular character in Spy Myung-wol, as a North Korean agent on a mission to kidnap a top South Korean Hallyu star, who ends up falling for him. The series gained notoriety when Han failed to show up for her scheduled filming on August 14–15 and instead flew to Los Angeles on August 16; it was the first instance of a leading actor abruptly leaving in the middle of a Korean drama shoot. Her then-agency SidusHQ cited conflicts with television director Hwang In-hyuk over her hectic working conditions, and that exhaustion had compromised her judgment. Han's absence effectively halted production, and the KBS network lambasted her actions as "unilateral, irresponsible and will not be tolerated," while Lee Kim Productions threatened legal action. After extensive press coverage, Han returned to Korea and continued filming Spy Myung-wol on August 18. Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, she apologized but maintained that her demands had been legitimate, stating "I want to believe that I did the right thing." Han drew harsh criticism from TV industry professionals and viewers, but some fans defended her, saying the stressful Korean drama live-shoot system was at fault.
Romantic comedy film Penny Pinchers was released two months after Spy Myung-wol finished airing. In it, Han shed her glamorous image to play an extremely frugal woman who considers love a frivolous expense and teaches an unemployed playboy the art of penny pinching.
In late 2014, she made a successful comeback in Birth of a Beauty, where Han played a warm-hearted ajumma who overcomes her husband's infidelity by undergoing a head-to-toe makeover involving plastic surgery and weight loss. This was followed with leading roles in romantic comedies Madame Antoine: The Love Therapist (2016) where she plays a fake fortune teller, and 20th Century Boy and Girl (2017).
On 2 May 2011, Han hit a man surnamed Do on the hip with the wing mirror of her Porsche while driving into the parking lot of her home in an apartment building in Samseong-dong. Do sustained minor injuries and Han's lawyers offered him ₩5 million in compensation, but Do claimed that she had fled the scene. Her then-agency SidusHQ denied this, saying she had apologized and checked if he was okay, but did not step out of her vehicle. After an investigation, police cleared Han of the hit-and-run allegations.
In January 2015, the FSS included Han in a list of people who were found to have violated the foreign currency-related law by failing to report their asset acquisition, such as real estate overseas, to relevant authorities. This referred to a commercial building in Koreatown, Los Angeles that Han had bought in 2011, but her then-agency KeyEast issued a statement that the omission had been a technical mistake, because Han had transferred the building's ownership to a company in which she was the major shareholder and was unaware that she should report it.
|2007||Miss Gold Digger||Shin Mi-soo|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens||Susan Murphy/Ginormica (voice, Korean dubbed)|
|2011||Penny Pinchers||Gu Hong-sil|
|2003||Nonstop 4||Han Ye-seul||MBC|
|Nonstop 5||Han Ye-seul (cameo)||MBC|
|2005||That Summer's Typhoon||Han Eun-bi|
|2006||Couple or Trouble||Anna Jo / Na Sang-shil|
|2008||Tazza||Lee Nan-sook / Mi-na||SBS|
|2009||Will It Snow for Christmas?||Han Ji-wan|
|2011||Spy Myung-wol||Han Myung-wol||KBS2|
|2014||Birth of a Beauty||Sara / Sa Geum-ran||SBS|
|2016||Madame Antoine: The Love Therapist||Go Hye-rim||JTBC|
|2017||20th Century Boy and Girl||Sa Jin-jin||MBC|
|2004||MBC Gayo Daejejeon||MBC||Host|
|Inkigayo (Popular Music)||SBS|
|2006||MBC Drama Awards||MBC|
|2007||She's Olive: Han Ye-seul in L.A.||O'live||Herself|
|2008||SBS Drama Awards||SBS||Host|
|2009||46th Grand Bell Awards|
|2010||4th Asian Film Awards||N/A|
Music video appearances
|2004||"You Are Different"||Han Ye-seul||Track 6 on Nonstop 4 OST|
|"Say It"||Shinhwa feat. Han Ye-seul||Track 11 on Winter Story 2004–2005|
|2005||"Memory"||Han Ye-seul||Track 2 on That Summer's Typhoon OST|
|2007||"Make Me Shine"||Han Ye-seul||Track 1 on Miss Gold Digger OST|
|2009||"Love Class"||Mighty Mouth feat. Han Ye-seul||Track 2 on Love Class EP|
Awards and nominations
|2001||SBS Supermodel Contest||Juliet Award||N/A||Won|
|2004||6th Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best OST||"You Are Different" - Nonstop 4||Nominated|
|MBC Entertainment Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Sitcom/Comedy||Nonstop 4||Won|
|2006||MBC Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress||Couple or Trouble||Won|
|Popularity Award, Actress||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Oh Ji-ho||Won|
|2007||43rd Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|Most Popular Actress (TV)||Won|
|2008||3rd Asia Model Festival Awards||Model Star Award||N/A||Won|
|44th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress (Film)||Miss Gold Digger||Won|
|45th Grand Bell Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|BMW Popularity Award, Actress||Won|
|29th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|31st Golden Cinematography Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|7th Korean Film Awards||Best New Actress||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama||Tazza||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|2009||45th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|2014||SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Birth of a Beauty||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Joo Sang-wook||Won|
|2015||15th Huading Awards||Best Global Actress in a TV series||Won|
|2016||9th Korea Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Madame Antoine: The Love Therapist||Nominated|
- Park, Ah-reum (17 September 2014). "Han Ye Seul Joins Bae Yong Jun, Kim Soo Hyun and More at Keyeast". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Han Ye-seul continues working with Keyeast". Kpop Herald. 21 September 2016.
- "Han Ye-seul signs with new agency". Korea JoongAng Daily. 4 July 2018.
- Yang, Sung-jin (12 December 2007). "Herald Interview: Han Ye-seul, a bilingual beauty, eyes foreign entertainment markets". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Han Ye-seul (한예슬)". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "An Eclipse for Han Ye-seul?". Korea JoongAng Daily. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, In-kyung (13 January 2012). "Han Ye Seul to Rejoin Her Former Manager's Agency". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Actors/Actresses Who Debuted from Sitcoms". Hancinema.
- "Actress Han Ye-Seul's New Sexy Looks". The Seoul Times.
- "When Stars Bank on Advertising Only". The Chosun Ilbo. 5 September 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Han Ye Seul Wins Over Detractors as Amnesiac Heiress". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Yang, Sung-jin (18 December 2007). "Movie Review: Gold Digger buffs Han's charm, but misses". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Yang, Sung-jin (26 December 2007). "Christmas blues besiege three Korean actresses". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- Lee, Hyo-won (29 June 2008). "Daejong Film Fest Showcases Trends". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- D'Sa, Nigel (1 July 2008). "The Chaser Top Winner at Grand Bell Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Blue Dragon Award Goes to Sports Drama". The Chosun Ilbo. 21 November 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- D'Sa, Nigel (26 November 2008). "Forever Wins Korea's Top Blue Dragon". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Han, Sang-hee (8 July 2008). "Movie-Based Dramas to Fill TV Screens". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "SBS drama Will It Snow On Christmas? is all about love". 10Asia. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Han, Sang-hee (1 December 2009). "New Drama to Bring Warmth This Christmas". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Oh, Jean (5 July 2011). "Eric comes back with TV rom-com". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Hwang, Hyo-jin (7 July 2011). "Preview: KBS TV series Spy Myung-Wol". 10Asia. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kwon, Mee-yoo (10 July 2011). "Drama explores inter-Korean love story". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Han Ye-seul Walks Away from Soap Opera Flop". The Chosun Ilbo. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "AWOL Actress Willing to Return to Set". The Chosun Ilbo. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kim, Yoon-mi (16 August 2011). "Actress Han under fire for abandoning role". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Do, Je-hae (16 August 2011). "Actress Han Ye-seul returns from LA". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Chung, Ah-young (16 August 2011). "After much ado, actress Han to return to drama". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "AWOL Soap Actress Returns". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Choung, Hyuk-min (19 August 2011). "Han mends fences with KBS, not crew". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Jin-ho (19 October 2011). "Han Ye Seul at Love and Cash Press Conference". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Jin-ho (2 November 2011). "Love and Cash Director Praises Han Ye Seul". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Sunwoo, Carla (20 November 2012). "Han Ye-seul talks about her off-year". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Yun, Chloe (2 October 2013). "Han Ye Seoul gets on the stage as BEDNI creative director". BNTNews. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Min-ji (30 October 2014). "Han Ye Seul Had a Tough Time Returning After Three Years". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Sung-eun (1 October 2014). "Han Ye-seul makes comeback". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Han Ye-seul returns to acting". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 November 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Min-ji (18 January 2015). "Interview: Han Ye Seul Shares Boyfriend Teddy's Reaction to Her Acceptance Speech". enewsWorld. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Han Ye-seul, Sung Joon in new JTBC drama". The Korea Times.
- "Han Ye-seul and Kim Ji-seok to star in "Boy and Girl from the 20th Century"". Hancinema.
- "Actress Charged in Hit-and-Run Accident". The Chosun Ilbo. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kim, Jessica (6 May 2011). "Han Ye-seul to be questioned for hit-and-run charge". 10Asia. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kim, Rahn (20 May 2011). "Actress Han cleared of hit-and-run allegations". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kim, Jessica (20 May 2011). "Actress Han Ye-seul cleared of hit-and-run charges". 10Asia. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Im, Woo-jung (25 November 2013). "Han Ye-seul and Teddy in a relationship". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Lee, Sun-min (26 November 2013). "Teddy, Han Ye-seul admit to dating". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "New couples emerge, others break up in 2016 celebrity dating scene". Yonhap.
- Bae, Hyun-jung (13 January 2015). "FSS detects celebrities' illicit overseas asset deals". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Kim, Jae-won (13 January 2015). "Chaebol scions, SM chief and actress in W130 bil. illegal FX deals". The Korea Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "Rain's Love Story music video to be released today". 10Asia. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- "2008 Asia Model Awards Model Star Award (Korea) Joo Ji Hun & Han Ye Seul". AMFOC.
- "Filmmakers Honored at Golden Cinematography Awards". Hancinema. KBS World. 23 December 2008.
- Kim, Min-jin (1 January 2015). "Four couples win best couple prize in SBS Drama Awards". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Sung, So-young (20 January 2015). "Kim, Han take awards at Hwajeong". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 23 January 2015.