Kim Hee-chul

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Kim Hee-chul
11월 9일 채널A '싱데렐라' 제작발표회 현장.jpg
Heechul in 2016
Native name 김희철
Born (1983-07-10) July 10, 1983 (age 34)
Hoengseong, Gangwon-do, South Korea
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • presenter
  • actor
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • drums
Years active 2005–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised Romanization Gim Hui-cheol
McCune–Reischauer Kim Hŭich'ŏl
Heechul Sign.png

Kim Hee-chul (born July 10, 1983), better known by the mononym Heechul, is a South Korean singer, songwriter,[1] presenter, and actor. He is a member of South Korean boy group Super Junior and has further participated in its subgroup, Super Junior-T as well as project groups M&D with Kim Jung-mo and Universe Cowards with Min Kyung-hoon.

As of 10 June 2018, he has 4 programs being broadcast: Knowing Bros, Life Bar, My Daughter's Men and Super Junior's Super TV.

Life and career[edit]

1983-2005: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Kim Hee-chul was born in Hoengseong County, Gangwon Province, on July 10, 1983.[2][3] He has one older sister, Kim Hee-jin.[4] Kim graduated from Sangji University with a bachelor's degree in informatics through Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education.[2][3]

In 2002, he searched the internet for entertainment companies and found out that SM Entertainment was having open auditions.[5] He moved to Seoul with his friends in order to take part in the auditions. Being unfamiliar with the area, he got lost and missed the open Starlight Casting System audition.[6] They told him that it was too late, but according to him, took one look at his face and changed their minds.[6] He was casted and signed a contract with SM Entertainment and became an official trainee, being trained in areas of singing, acting, dancing, and other performing talents such as hosting and modeling.[6]

He was initially placed in a four-member group called "Four Seasons" along with Jaejoong, Yunho and Kangin.[7] The project group was dropped when Yunho and Jaejoong joined TVXQ in early 2003.[8] He was preparing to debut as the main vocalist of Trax, but during his trainee days he had frequent clashes and misunderstandings with the person in charge at SM at the time.[9][10] He became frustrated and abandoned his Trax debut and returned to his hometown in Gangwon Province.[9][10] Later with Trax's Jungmo and Jay, TVXQ's Yunho and Donghae encouragement and positivity, he returned to SM.[9][10] He joined other trainees under SM Entertainment to form the group "Super Junior 05", the first generation of Super Junior.[11]

His first acting role was in the second season of teen drama Sharp 2, co-starring labelmates Go Ara and Kibum on 2005 before the debut of Super Junior.[12] That same year, he appeared as an extra in the KBS2 TV series Loveholic and was a regular MC for the cable music show Show! Music Bank Tank.[13] He also appeared in advertisements.[14]

2005–2010: Debut with Super Junior, Super Junior-T and solo activities[edit]

Super junior debut

On November 2, 2005, "Super Junior 05" made their official debut as a twelve-member group on SBS' Popular Songs, performing their first single "TWINS".[15][16] Their debut album SuperJunior05 (Twins) was released on December 5 and debuted at number three on the monthly MIAK K-pop album charts.[17]

In March 2006, SM Entertainment began to recruit new members for the next Super Junior generation. However, plans changed and the company declared a halt in forming future Super Junior generations. Following the addition of the thirteenth member Kyuhyun, the group dropped the suffix "05" and became officially credited as Super Junior.[18] The re-polished group's first CD single "U" was released on June 7, 2006, which was their most successful single until the release of "Sorry, Sorry" in March 2009.[19]

Apart from Super Junior's activities, Heechul has acted in several television dramas. In 2005 he landed his first leading role in Rainbow Romance (2005–06) then played a supporting role in Bad Family (2006),[20] Golden Bride (2007–08) and Loving You a Thousand Times (2009–10).[21][13] He also appeared as a radio DJ on SBS Power FM Youngstreet with Park Hee-von until mid-2006.

On February 23, 2007, he debuted as part of Super Junior sub-group, Super Junior-T, performing trot single "Rokuko!!!".[22] and made his film debut in Attack on the Pin-Up Boys.[23] He co-hosted SBS' weekly live music show as a substitute for Andy of Shinhwa, going on to become a permanent host with Ku Hye-sun (April 23, 2006 – February 18, 2007), Jang Keun-suk (February25 - October 7, 2007) and Song Ji-hyo (November 11, 2007 – May 4, 2008).[13]

In May 2008, the SM Art Company was formed with Pyo In-bong as co-CEO, aiming to produce musical and theatre works. Its first production was of Xanadu, playing the role of Sonny in rotation with Kim Seong-gi, Hong Ji Min, Kim Hee Won, Lee Gunmyung and bandmate Kangin. The production ran between September 9 - December 28, 2008 at the Doosan Art Center, Yonkang Foundation, Seoul.[24][25] Casting was carried out via a reality television programme, To Be Kangin and Heechul.[26] He also became a regular on the TV Programmes 8 vs 1 (2008), Good Daddy (2008–09) and Band of Brothers (2009).[13]

In November 6, 2009, he released his first solo single, "First Star", as part of the OST for the drama Loving You a Thousand Times. The song is written by Song Jong-ho and composed by Choi Myung-hoon.[27]

On 26 February 2010, Heechul and Leeteuk set to appear as a guest at label mate Girls' Generation's Into the New World encore concert in Seoul, was replaced by bandmates Eunhyuk who was diagnosed with H1N1 influenza, but was hence had to pull out.[28] In 2010, he returned as a radio DJ for the first time in four years[29] on SBS' Heechul's Young Street from March 29, 2010 until mid-2011. In May 2010, he was added along with Jang Dong-min during a recording as the eighth member of the family on the series Family Outing 2,[30] but the show was cancelled two months later due to low ratings.[31] The same year, his popularity skyrocketed when he became a regular cast member in Radio Star, the main segment of MBC's Golden Fishery when Shin Jung-hwan was caught gambling.[32]His effort gained positive viewers' recognition and he won Best Newcomer Award at the 11th MBC Entertainment Awards.[33]

2011–2015: M&D, military enlistment and League of Legends[edit]

In February 2011, he was cast in his debut Chinese drama Melody of Youth with a supporting role.[34]

In June 2011, he formed a project group with label mate Jungmo of TRAX called M&D (meaning "Midnight and Dawn" or "Miari and Dangae-dong", after the members' hometowns). They released their debut single, "Close Ur Mouth". Heechul wrote the lyrics and directed the music video for the song, while Jungmo produced and performed the instrumental. Their first live performance was at Mnet’s summer awards ceremony 20’s Choice on July 7.[35]

Kim Hee-chul carried out mandatory military service from September 1, 2011 to August 30, 2013.[36] He served as a public service worker for 23 months after undergoing four weeks of basic training at the Nonsan military camp in Chungcheongnam-do.[37] At the time that he enlisted, he had been appearing on KBS' Secret[38] as well as the Radio Star, for which bandmate Kyuhyun took over the role.[39]

Shortly after he had completed his military service, Kim Jang-hoon released a duet titled "Breakups are So Like Me" with heechul. During live performances of the song on Music Bank and Show! Music Core, his part was performed by bandmates Yesung, Eunhyuk and Shindong.[40] Also he wrote the lyrics of Orange Caramel's "Shanghai Romance" on October 13, 2011, which peaked at number eight on the Gaon Digital Chart.[41]

On January 26, 2012, he hosted his radio program Kim HeeChul's SungDong Cafe every Friday at the office of District Seong-dong, where he was serving his two-year mandatory military service.[42][43]

Heechul in 2013

In September 2013, he became a regular cast member on the JTBC's Ssulzun[13] it was his first project after releasing from his mandatory military enlistment but on July 2014, he posted a photo in his personal Instagram account and poured his heart and thoughts regarding his last appearance in the program.[44] In Heechul’s last recording for the show, he mentioned about having the pressure of talking about the people close to him.[44]

In January 2014, he appeared on the Global Edition of MBC reality television program We Got Married,[45] as an on-screen couple with Taiwanese girl group member Puff Guo. That year, he also played the role of a detective in the tvN drama Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit.[46][47][48][49] He returned to the Super Junior's line-up for the August performance at Music Bank, marking the first time he, Leeteuk and Kangin have been together in the line-up since they each completed their military service.[50]

In February 2015, the famous LoL team SK Telecom T1 sponsored a special match titled the Celebrity League of Legends Invitational Event Match. SKT T-LoL invited various celebrities to join in a match against professional LoL gamers. The celebrity team including Heechul ultimately lost. He also appeared on OnGameNet’s Pandora TV LoL Champions on November 27, 2013 as a Special Commentator and Guest player.[51]

In 2015, he became MC on entertainment programs such as The Demand of Luxurious Food, A Style For You, MAPS, Knowing Bros[52][53] and Korean-Chinese program All the Way With You, The first Chinese variety that he was in charge since his debut in Korean entertainment in 2005.[54] The same year, M&D released their first EP, Cottage Industry with the title track "I Wish" digitally on April 16 and physically on April 20.[55] The title track was also written and composed by the duo, which peaked at number two on the Gaon album Chart.[56]

2016-present: Knowing Bros, Universe Cowards and mainstream success[edit]

With Super Junior on a temporary hiatus for much of 2016 due to the enlistment of four other members, he returned to hosting. In March 2016, Heechul was confirmed to become a temporary host for Weekly Idol until October 5, when Jeong Hyeong-don ended his 11-month break from television activities.[57][58][59] On April 15, 2016 he released a duet with Wheein for SM Station. The single "Narcissus" was written by him and produced by Jungmo, and it was his first collaboration with a female artist.[60][61] In early July 2016, M&D returned as "Kim Heechul & Kim Jungmo", with a second EP, Goody Bag, and trot-rock title track "Ulsanbawi" on July 12.[62]

In August 2016, he attended the "League of Legends Pro League 5th Anniversary" in China, which included the Regional Final with four Chinese teams competing for a spot in the World Championship. He also competed in a Korea vs. China celebrity showmatch in commemoration.[63] On October 9, he appeared on OnGameNet as a special commentator for the LoL World Championship.[64] In November 2016, Heechul began participating in SM Entertainment's League of Legends tournament 2016 S.M. Super Celeb League, where he and labelmate Baekhyun played the game with both professional players and fans from South Korea and China.[65]

In fall 2016, Heechul and Buzz member Min Kyung-hoon released a duet titled "Sweet Dream". The two stars are known as "Universe Cowards" when they promote music, which is a name they came up with for a Knowing Bros project group.[66] The song proved successful, topping the South Korean Gaon Digital Chart an achievement known as "all-kill", making him the first Super Junior member to achieve "all-kill" in 2016.[67] In 2017, "Sweet Dream" won a Best Rock Song at the MelOn Music Awards.[68]

His career as a MC made a breakthrough after appearing on Knowing Bros and Weekly Idol.[69] The success of Knowing Bros in Korea brought him a new range of fans and is a large part of why the show is so popular.[70] He was named as one of the Top 3 Idol MC's of 2016.[70] After appearing on the show, he earned more recognition and received roles from other shows as MC — such as Phantom Singer, Game Show and Lipstick Prince.[71][72][73][74]

Following the success of "Sweet Dream", in February 2018, Universe Cowards returned with "Falling Blossoms". It was composed by Lee Sang-joon and Cha Jil-won and features lyrics written by Min,[75] which peaked at number 15 on Gaon Digital Chart. Billboard described it as "soft pop-rock tune that grows to a soaring, emotional cacophony" and complimented how their music video was one of the most inclusive music videos South Korea’s seen in some time.[75]

He later became the host of a number of popular variety programs such as Life Bar (Season 2), My Daughter's Men and Super TV with his Super Junior members.[76][77]

In the media[edit]

On October 9, 2010, he created a personal Facebook account which received 5,000 friend requests within five minutes. He became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter for four days after the account's creation.[78] he also took the ninth place in the "2010 Twitter Trend Analysis" in People Category.[79] on March 28, 2011, the 3rd Shorty Awards, announced their results for the winners and runner-ups. in particular, Heechul placed 3rd in the "Best Celebrity on Twitter" category, also stood strong in the other category.[80][81]

In July, 2011, Lady Gaga appeared on 9th’s episode on KBS2’s Entertainment Weekly for an exclusive interview and mentioned that she was amazed by Heechul's imitation of her. He's appeared “Lady HeeHee” throughout Super Show 3, as well as SM Town in Paris.[82] Lady Gaga has seen his imitation and praised him, saying: “He looks amazing!”.[83]


He is an endorser of a wide range of brands in and outside South Korea.[84] He has become one of the most in demand endorsers after his hit show Knowing Bros and his famous Picks Miwon CF.[85][86] In 2017, he was selected as a model for G-Market with AOA's Seolhyun.[87] In 2018, he was chosen to be the model for Mistral with Min Kyung-hoon.[88]

Personal life[edit]

Car accident[edit]

On August 10, 2006, Heechul was involved in a car accident while heading back to Seoul from Mokpo after attending the funeral of fellow Super Junior member Donghae’s father.[89] The tires malfunctioned while his car attempted to switch lanes.[90] Heechul fractured his left leg in five places, including his femur, knee, and ankle, requiring him to be in surgery for ten hours and seven iron rods to be inserted.[91][92][additional citation(s) needed] He also sustained other injuries, including a tear in his tongue which required stitches.[93]

Heechul was advised to stop all activities for a period of twelve weeks.[94] He was released from the hospital on September 14, 2006 but he continued to receive out-patient care.[95] He returned to the hospital to have a second surgery to remove some of the iron rods in his leg on October 10,[96] and briefly returned to work in late October to film the final three episodes of an MBC's Rainbow Romance while still in a cast and on a wheelchair.[97] He made his comeback on November 25 of the same year during the Mnet KM Music Festival.[98] Six months following the accident, Heechul officially returned to individual activities such as variety show appearances and hosting appearances.[99]

In 2007, Heechul started to perform regularly despite still having a few rods that the doctors had attached to his leg.[99][100] In late April and May 2007, he had recovered enough to be able to take part in Super Junior’s strenuous dance routines. The remaining rods in his leg were removed in 2008.[100]


He's still receiving treatment, and can no longer dance on live stages, often only making sporadic appearances at the latter half of the song.[101][102] It also contributes to him being a sub-rapper and vocals instead of a lead dancer.[103][104][105]

In March 2018, it was reported that Heechul would not be participating in music show performances of Super Junior latest comeback promotions due to health concerns, but would still participate in other promotions as normal.[106][107]


Title Year Peak chart positions Sales

"Breakups are So Like Me"
(with. Kim Jang-hoon)
2011 33 95 Non-album single
"Sweet Dream"
(with. Min Kyung-hoon)
2016 1 * S.M. Station Season 1
"Charm of Life"
(with. Shindong, Eunhyuk, Solar)
2017 N/A S.M. Station Season 2
"Falling Blossoms"
(with. Min Kyung-hoon)
2018 15 14 Non-album single
Soundtrack appearances
"Can It Be Love?"
(with. Kibum)
2006 * * N/A Rainbow Romance OST
"A Family"
(feat. Cast of Bad Family)
Bad Family OST
"Don't Walk Away"
(with. Kim Seong-gi, Hong Ji Min, Kim Hee-won)
2008 Xanadu OST
"First Star" 2009 Loving You a Thousand Times OST
As featured artist
"King Wang Zzang"
(Defconn feat. Heechul)
2010 N/A Non-album single
"You Are A Miracle"
(Feat. Various Artists)[A]
2013 32
(Eve feat. Heechul)
2016 * N/A Romantic Show
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
"*" denotes the chart did not exist at that time.
  • Notes
  1. ^ "You Are A Miracle" was a Single for SBS Gayo Daejun 's Friendship Project.


Music videos[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s)
"Breakups are So Like Me" 2011 Kim Jang-hoon
"Sweet Dream" 2016 Min Kyung-hoon
"Charm of Life" 2017 Shindong, Eunhyuk, Solar
"Falling Blossoms" 2018 Min Kyung-hoon
As featured artist
"King Wang Zzang" 2010 Defconn
"You Are A Miracle" 2013 Various Artists
"Melody" 2016 Eve
As actor
"Flying Girl" 2007 Magolpy
"Let You Go" 2010 TraxX
"Shady Girl" 2010 Sistar


Year Title Notes ISBN Ref.
2013 The ZZINPANG Family Webtoon [113][114]
2017 MY RAMEN-FUL LIFE - 今日、ラーメン食べに行こう!北海道編 Photobook ISBN 978-4835632193 [115]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2007 1st Mnet 20's Choice Awards Best Pretty Boy N/A Won [116]
2011 3rd Shorty Awards Best Celebrity Nominated [117]
11th MBC Entertainment Awards Best Newcomer Award Radio Star Won [33]
2015 12th Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards (China) Asia Beauty Icon Award N/A Won [118]
2016 5th JTBC Awards
(Determined through viewers votes)
Crazy Person Award Knowing Bros Won [119]
Best Entertainer Won
Best Couple Award with Min Kyung-hoon Won
2017 6th Gaon Chart Music Awards Song of the Year (November) with Min Kyung-hoon "Sweet Dream" Nominated [120]
9th Melon Music Awards Best Rock Song with Min Kyung-hoon Won [68]


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