Koo Hye-sun

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Koo Hye-sun
180531 유니클로 리조트웨어 컬렉션 구혜선.jpg
Koo Hye-sun in 2018
Born (1984-11-09) November 9, 1984 (age 36)
Incheon, South Korea
Other namesGoo Hye-sun
Alma mater
  • Actress
  • singer-songwriter
  • director
  • artist
Years active2002–present
AgentMimi Entertainment
(m. 2016; div. 2019)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGu Hye-seon
McCune–ReischauerKu Hyesŏn

Koo Hye-sun (Korean: 구혜선; born November 9, 1984[1]) is a South Korean actress, singer-songwriter, director and artist. She gained widespread recognition in the television dramas Pure in Heart (2006), The King And I (2007), Boys Over Flowers (2009), Take Care of Us, Captain (2012), Angel Eyes (2014) and Blood (2015).


As actress[edit]

Koo Hye-sun entered the entertainment industry after gaining popularity on the Internet as an ulzzang. She used to be a trainee under SM Entertainment, before switching over to DSP Media and preparing to debut in a girl group called Ria. But after it didn't work out she then signed under YG Entertainment. Originally set to debut as a singer (supposedly in a three-member girl group with 2NE1's Park Bom and Sandara Park), YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk advised Koo to pursue acting rather than music. She made her debut in a CF for Sambo computers and then made her television debut in the KBS horror series Anagram, and continued to appear in one-act dramas. Her performance as Hye-jin in the 2004 MBC sitcom Nonstop 5 attracted the audience's attention.[citation needed]

In December 2008

Koo soon rose to fame in the 2006 television drama Pure in Heart and surprised critics with her performance in the historical drama The King and I.[2] She then starred in the historical drama Strongest Chil Woo.[3]

Koo rose to fame for her role as Geum Jan-di in the mega hit KBS2 drama Boys Over Flowers opposite Lee Min-ho,[4] which gained her pan-Asia popularity.[5]

After a year in limbo with no broadcasting slot, her first pre-produced drama The Musical finally aired in September 2011.[6][7][8] Koo next starred as a female pilot in the SBS series Take Care of Us, Captain,[9][10][11][12] followed by Absolute Darling, the Taiwanese drama adaptation of the manga Absolute Boyfriend.[13][14]

After two years break from acting career, Koo appears in MBC channel's two-part documentary drama Heo Nanseolheon. She took part in the program's narration and production as well.[15]

Koo then made a small screen comeback acting in SBS's weekend drama Angel Eyes in 2014. She played a legally blind woman who gets her vision back in an operation and decides to embrace life with passion by becoming an emergency rescue worker.[16]

In February 2015, Koo starred in KBS's vampire drama Blood. She plays an arrogant genius physician who entered medical school at a young age of 17.[17] Blood suffered low ratings in Korea and was criticized for her acting.[18][19] On November 6, 2015, Koo was confirmed to be starring in a Chinese drama The Legendary Tycoon which tells the life story of Run Run Shaw, a self-made entertainment mogul from Hong Kong.[20][21]

Koo was cast in the MBC's weekend drama You're Too Much alongside Uhm Jung-hwa.[22] However, she left the show after two weeks due to health reasons.[23]

In June 2019, Koo signed with HB Entertainment, same agency as her ex husband Ahn Jae-hyun.[24]

As singer-songwriter[edit]

In recent years, Koo has displayed her vocal talents through soundtrack releases as well as digital singles. In 2005, she released her first single "Happy Birthday to You" for Nonstop 5. In 2006, she released the track "Sarang Ga" ("Love Story"), which became the title song of Pure in Heart. In 2012, Koo released her first self-composed soundtrack, titled "Fly Again" for SBS's Take Care of Us, Captain, which she stars in.[citation needed]

In July 2009

Koo released her first album Breath in 2009, an album of new-age music which included her composed song for her friend and singer, Gummy, entitled "Around the Alley".[citation needed] She then released her self composed and written digital single "Brown Hair" in 2010, with the music rearranged by bossa nova pianist Choi In-young.[25] In 2012, Koo released "It's You" and its music video. She not only wrote the music and lyrics of "It's You", but also filmed and edited the music video.[26] In 2014, Koo released her 5th digital single "Happy", which is also a remake to Seo In-guk's song "Were We Happy".[27][28] She released another self-written single titled "Must" the same year, which also serves as the soundtrack of her film My Daughtr.[29]

In 2015, she released a second album titled Breath 2, which serves as a follow up to her 2009 album Breath.[30] The title track "After 10 Years 100 Years" is a remake of the OST from the film The Peach Tree. Koo held her first concert the same year.[31]

In 2016, Koo released the song "Written and Erased", which is a collaboration song of Koo with The Blind.[citation needed] On April 28, she released her first regular album And Spring that consist of 11 tracks including her singles "Stupid", "Brown Hair", and "It's You."[32]

As director[edit]

Koo made her debut as a director through her short film The Madonna. The film which was centered around the topic of assisted suicide, debuted at the 2009 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.[33] The film was featured in several film events, including the Asiana International Short Film Festival and the Pusan Asian Short Film Festival where it won "Audience Award" category.[34] The Madonna also won the "Spotlight Award" at the 12th Short Shorts Film Festival which was held in Tokyo from June 10 through 20, 2010.[34] She shared that the reason of herself making film was "It's not like I dreamed of becoming a filmmaker since I was young. I'm interested in many things, including music, art and literature, and I thought I could incorporate all those things by making a film."[33]

The following year, Koo directed her first feature-length film Magic.[35][36] The film was invited and screened at the 6th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) from August 12 to 17, 2010[37] and the 23rd Annual Tokyo International Film Festival.[38] She continued directing short films such as You (2010) Fragments of Sweet Memories (2012),[39] as well as trailers for film festivals. Fragment of Sweet Memories was selected as one of Korea's outstanding 3D films, and was shown at the Cinemountain in Busan Cinema Center during the International 3D Festival (I3DF), which Koo serves as the promotional ambassador of.[40][41] The film was also selected as a finalist for the Seoul Senior Film Festival, and received citation from the Mayor Park Won-soon.[citation needed]

In 2011, Koo established her own company, Koo Hye-sun Film, under which she would produce and film her projects.[42] Her second directorial feature The Peach Tree was the first film made under her newly established production company.[43][44][45][46] She also wrote the theme song and novel version of the film.[47] On October 25, 2012, she was awarded the Minister Commendation at the 14th Annual Republic of Korea Design Award for The Peach Tree.[48]

In 2013, Koo directed a short film for Samsung Galaxy S4, as part of the project "Story of Me and S4".[49][50] The same year, she served as the jury for the 9th Jecheon International Music and Film Festival.[51]

In 2014, Koo released her fifth directed film, Daughter.[52] Not only did she took part in producing, script-writing and directing of the movie, she also plays the main character as a mother who gives her daughter an oppressive corporal punishment.[53] The film aims to address and make known to society the problems of child abuse. Daughter was invited to Busan International Film Festival.[54]

In 2021, her short film Dark Yellow had a special screening at 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival on July 11. She addressed a press conference and met with the audience. She also acted in the film as a woman working at a flower shop.[55]

As artist and an ambassador[edit]

Aside from her acting and directional works, Koo participates in a wide range of projects, including writing and drawing as well as ambassador activities. In recognition of her versatility and talents, Koo was voted as the Best Female Artist in the Entertainment Industry in 2012.[56] She also received the Korea Fulfillment Award, and the Ministry Award for "sharing happiness" for her charitable acts.[57][58]

In May 2013

In 2009, Koo published her first illustrated novel Tango (탱고), centered around a 20-something young girl who goes through two separate relationships to finally mature into a woman. The book was a bestseller, selling 30,000 copies within a week.[59] Its release coincided with her first solo art exhibition, also titled "Tango" which was held in July 2009 at La Mer Gallery and attracted a total of 10,000 visitors. The exhibition featured around 40 of Koo's illustrations, some from her novel.[60] She held her second art exhibition in 2012, titled "Afterimage" at the Hangaram Design Arts Center in the Seoul Arts Center.[61] She donated all proceeds from the sale of her artwork toward purchasing "clean cars" (germ-free automobiles) for the Korea Leukemia Patient Group.[62][63][64]

From 17–31 August 2013, she held exhibition entitled "Anything That Leaves Yearning Is All Beautiful".[65][66] The same year, Koo attended the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair.[67] The illustration poster of her cat 'Mango' will be sold at this exhibition, where the profit will be donated to charity organization ‘Community Chest Hong Kong’.[68][69] Koo was also appointed as the 2013 Cheongju International Craft Biennale (CICB) ambassador,[70] as well as the ambassador for ArtisTree, an organization to encourage arts.[71]

Personal life[edit]

On March 11, 2016, Koo was confirmed to be dating her Blood co-star Ahn Jae-hyun since April 2015.[72] The couple officially registered their marriage at the Gangnam district office on May 20, 2016 and married on May 21, 2016.[73] They announced that instead of holding a wedding party, they would donate the money to the pediatric ward of Severance Hospital.[74] The pair appeared in the reality show Newlywed Diary produced by Na Young-seok, which showcased their married life.[75]

In August 2019, it was reported Ahn requested a divorce from Koo.[76] On August 18, 2019, Koo posted an image of text messages between her and her husband Ahn Jae-hyun discussing divorce to her Instagram account. Another image was posted with a caption that explained she wanted to preserve her marriage, while Ahn did not. The posts were later deleted.[77][78] Koo suffered numerous malicious comments on social media every time she criticized Ahn publicly.[79] Ahn submitted an application to the Seoul Family Court on September 9, 2019 for divorce against Koo, and it was delivered to Koo on September 18, 2019.[80]

On September 1, 2019, Koo revealed in Instagram post that she would be taking a break from the entertainment industry to resume college.[81]


As actress[edit]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2007 August Rush Girl on couch (Cameo) American production
2008 Baby and I Han Joon-soo
2014 Daughter San Also director and screenwriter

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes Ref.
2004 Nonstop 5 Hye-sun MBC
Drama City – Anagram Nurse KBS2
2005 Drama City – Everybody Cha Cha Cha
Ballad of Seodong Eun-jin SBS
2006 Pure in Heart Yang Guk-hwa KBS1
2007 The King and I Queen Je-heon/Yoon So-hwa SBS
2008 Strongest Chil Woo Yoon So-yoon KBS2
2009 Boys Over Flowers Geum Jan-di
2010 Ku Cine Herself Mnet
2011 The Musical Go Eun-bi SBS
2012 Take Care of Us, Captain Han Da-jin
Absolute Darling Guan Xiao Fei GTV Chinese drama
2014 Heo Nanseolheon Heo Nanseolheon MBC Documentary narrator [82]
Angel Eyes Yoon Soo-wan SBS
2015 Blood Yoo Ri-ta/Yoo Chae-yoon KBS2
2017 You Are Too Much Jung Hae-dang MBC up until Episode 6, replaced by Jang Hee-jin


Year Title Network Notes Ref.
2012 The Hospice for the Children Who Live for Today SBS [83]
2013 Prime MBC I Love Wood segment [84]
2014 Miracles in December KBS1 Angel Bread segment [85]
2016 Rookie KBS2

Reality show[edit]

Year Title Role Episode Network Notes
2017 The Lovebirds [ko] Cast Episode 1-6 tvN with Ahn Jae-hyun

Music video[edit]

Year Song Title Artist
2002 "We Make a Good Pair" Sung Si-kyung
2004 "The Reason I Close My Eyes" Taebin
2006 "Forget You" Soul Star
2007 "Yesterday Is Different from Today" Kim Ji-eun
2010 "Touch Your Heart" Fahrenheit
"Brown Hair" Koo Hye-sun
2012 "Marry Me"
2013 "With Laughter or with Tears" Seo In-guk
"It's You" Koo Hye-sun
2014 "She's So High"[86] Beatburger
"Floral Rain" Koo Hye-sun
2015 "After 10 Years 100 Years"
"A Day Without Sound"

As director[edit]

Feature film[edit]

Year Title Credited as Cast Ref.
2010 Magic Director,
Im Ji-kyu
Seo Hyun-jin
Kim Jung-wook
2012 The Peach Tree Director,
music director
Cho Seung-woo
Ryu Deok-hwan
Nam Sang-mi
2014 Daughter Director,
Koo Hye-sun
Shim Hye-jin

Short film[edit]

Year Title Credited as Cast Ref.
2009 The Madonna (aka The Cheerful Caretaker) Director,
Seo Hyun-jin
Kim Myung-soo
Jun Tae-soo
2010 You Director,
Nam Sang-mi
Choi Il-hwa
2012 Fragments of Sweet Memories (3D) Director,
music director
Yoo Seung-ho
Choi Il-hwa
Ryu Young-jae
Yang Hyun-mo
Yang Kyung-mo
Seo Hyun-jin
2013 White Dog (Samsung Galaxy S4) Director,
singer of theme song
Cristina Fernandez Lee
Moon Mason
Koo Hye-sun
2018 Mystery Pink Director, Screenwriter Seo Hyun-jin
Yang Dong-geun
Yoon Da-kyoung
Hyun Seung-min
Park Jeong-uk
2021 Dark Yellow Director, Screenwriter Ahn Seo-hyun
Im Ji-kyu
Yeon Je-hwan
Yoon Hyuk-jin


Year Event Cast Ref.
2009 7th Asiana International Short Film Festival Seo Hyun-jin
2011 13th International Women's Film Festival in Seoul Koo Hye-sun
2013 14th Persons with Disabilities Film Festival [93][94]
2014 10th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival Koo Hye-sun, Seong Seung-han, Choi In-young [95]



Year Album Label Notes Ref.
2009 Breath YG Entertainment Singer, composer [96]
2015 Breath 2 [30]
2016 And Spring [32]
2020 Breath 3 YG Plus Composer
2021 Breath 4


Year Title Album Label Notes Ref.
2005 "Happy Birthday to You" Nonstop 5 OST EMI Singer [97]
2006 "Sarang Ga (Love Story)" Pure in Heart OST YG Entertainment [98]
2010 "Brown Hair" Singer, composer [99]
2012 "Fly Again" Take Care of Us, Captain OST Pony Canyon Composer
"Marry Me" YG Entertainment Singer, composer [100][101]
2013 "Flying Galaxy" [102]
"It's You" [26]
"Happy" [28]
2014 "Floral Rain"
"Must" [29]
2015 "A Day Without Sound" Singer [103]
2016 "Written and Erased" In collaboration with The Blind
"Winter Story" for Newlywed Diary [104]
"Summer Day"


Year Concert Artist
2009 With You Koo Hye-sun participated in Isao Sasaki's concert
Over the Rainbow Koo Hye-sun, Isao Sasaki
2015 Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring Koo Hye-sun, Choi In-young
2021 New Age Piano Concert Koo Hye Sun, Choi In-young


Year Title Notes Ref.
2009 Tango Novel [59][60]
2010 Koo Hye-sun's The Story Behind the Making of "Magic" Non-fiction
2012 The Peach Tree Novelization
2017 Koo Hye Sun's Music Collection Music Book
2018 Koo Hye Sun's Scenario Collection Scenario Book
2019 Heart Shaped Tears Novel
I am Your Pet Non-fiction

Art exhibitions[edit]

Year Title Location Notes Ref.
2009 Tango La Mer Gallery, South Korea Solo exhibition [60]
2012 Red Bull Collective Art Gwanggyo Gallery, Cheonggyecheon Participation [105]
Afterimage Hangaram Design Arts Center, Seoul Arts Center Solo exhibition [61]
2013 Harbor City Gallery, Hong Kong [67]
Anything That Leaves Yearning Is All Beautiful Korean Cultural Center in Shanghai [65][106]
2016 Dark Yellow MBC Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul Participated in "We, 颜(Face)" the DMC Festival 2016 [107]
2017 Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul Solo Exhibition [108][109]
2018 Mystery Pink
Non Existence Galerie 89, Paris
2019 A World Without You, Stillness For Me Jinsan Gallery, Seoul
2020 Voyage: Again and Again
2021 Koo Hye Sun's New Age Under Seo Tai-ji Lyrics Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul



  • 2012: Goodwill Ambassador for International 3D Festival[40]
  • 2013: Promotional Ambassador for Cheongju International Craft Biennale[70]
  • 2013: Promotional Ambassador for Artistree[71]
  • 2013: Honorary Ambassador for 14th Persons with Disabilities Film Festival[110]
  • 2015: Honorary Ambassador for Seoul 2015 International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) World Games[111][112]
  • 2015: Honorary Ambassador for Korean Leukemia Association[113][114]
  • 2016: Honorary Ambassador for Social Contribution Donation Bank[115][116]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2006 KBS Drama Awards Best New Actress[117] Pure in Heart Won
Popularity Award, Actress Nominated
Best Couple Award with Seo Ji-seok Nominated
2007 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (TV) Nominated
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award[118] The King and I Won
2008 KBS Drama Awards Netizen Award, Actress Strongest Chil Woo Nominated
Best Couple Award with Eric Mun Nominated
2009 26th Pusan Asian Short Film Festival Audience Award The Madonna Won
4th Andre Kim Best Star Awards Best Female Star[119] Boys Over Flowers Won
6th Yahoo! Taiwan Asia Buzz Awards Best Asian Actress[5] Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama[120] Won
Netizen Award, Actress Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Min-ho[121] Won
14th Asian Television Awards Best Drama Actress Nominated
3rd Mnet 20's Choice Awards Hot Drama Star (Female) Nominated
2010 12th Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia Spotlight Award[34] The Madonna Won
23rd Tokyo International Film Festival Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film Magic Nominated
2011 5th Mnet 20's Choice Awards Hot 20's Voice N/A Nominated
2012 31st Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival Orbit Competition The Peach Tree Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Take Care of Us, Captain Nominated
Korea Fulfillment Awards Grand Prize (Daesang)[57] N/A Won
14th Annual Republic of Korea Design Award by Ministry of Knowledge Economy Design Merits Division-Minister Commendation Award[48] N/A Won
2013 Ministry of Health and Welfare 2nd Happiness Sharing Talent Award[58] N/A Won
2014 Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Grand Prize in Gender Equality N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Angel Eyes Nominated
Best Couple Award with Lee Sang-yoon Nominated
Asian Drama Awards Pilipinas Best Actress of the Year 2014 Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Sang-yoon Nominated
6th Seoul Senior Film Festival Best Young Director N/A Won
2015 KBS Drama Awards Netizen Award, Actress Blood Nominated
Best Couple Award with Ahn Jae-hyun Nominated


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