Lee Bo-young

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Lee Bo-young
Lee Bo-young 2017.jpg
Lee Bo-young at the press conference for Whisper (2017)
Born (1979-01-12) January 12, 1979 (age 39)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma mater Seoul Women's University (B.A. in Korean Literature)
Occupation Actress
Years active 2002–present
Agent Fly Up Entertainment
Ji Sung (m. 2013)
Children 1
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Bo-yeong
McCune–Reischauer I Poyŏng

Lee Bo-young (Hangul이보영; born January 12, 1979) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for starring in the television dramas My Daughter Seo-young (2012), I Can Hear Your Voice (2013) and Whisper (2017).


Lee Bo-young began her career in the industry with winning the Daejeon entry for the Miss Korea beauty pageant in 2000.[1] Having majored in Korean literature at Seoul Women's University, she originally dreamed of becoming a news presenter. She was one of 15 finalists in MBC's annual recruitment drive in 2002, but ended up not getting the job.[2] Instead, she turned to modeling, and was chosen as the exclusive advertising model for Asiana Airlines, considered a gateway to stardom.

Lee made her acting debut in 2003, and among her early roles were in People of the Water Flower Village (2004) opposite Song Il-gook,[3] and as the antagonist in Save the Last Dance for Me (2004).

In 2005, Lee played her first leading role in the daily drama My Sweetheart, My Darling,[4] followed by the Silla-set historical epic Ballad of Seodong with Jo Hyun-jae. She spent the next several years in television dramasMr. Goodbye with Ahn Jae-wook, Queen of the Game with Joo Jin-mo, and Becoming a Billionaire with Ji Hyun-woo[5] — but none struck a chord with audiences or critics.

Lee Bo-young in 2009

After playing the love interest in My Brother (2004) and A Dirty Carnival (2006), Lee was cast in her first major big screen role in Once Upon a Time (2008). The heist comedy is set during colonial rule in the 1940s, and she and Park Yong-woo played notorious swindlers out to steal a diamond from the Japanese army.[6]

Her two films released in 2009 were both melodramas. In More Than Blue, Lee plays the soulmate of a terminally ill man (Kwon Sang-woo), but their love ends in a tragedy undercut with a poetic sparseness.[7][8] While in I Am Happy, Lee played a nurse who falls for a patient in the psychiatric ward (Hyun Bin), and in each other they find consolation to see them through their harsh and miserable reality.[9]

Lee returned to television in 2010, playing a seductress in the quirky cable drama Harvest Villa opposite Shin Ha-kyun.[10] She then had a guest arc as the president's daughter in spy series Athena: Goddess of War,[11] followed by post-divorce romance series Hooray for Love with Lee Tae-sung,[12] and revenge drama Man from the Equator (2012) with Uhm Tae-woong.[13]

She then played the titular character in My Daughter Seo-young, a career woman who is angry at her father (Chun Ho-jin), whose gambling addiction led to her mother's death, yet she struggles to keep the family together and make ends meet. Lee said playing Seo-young required a greater depth of emotion than any of her previous roles, which left her drained but also feeling a greater sense of achievement.[2] The family drama was the biggest hit yet of Lee's career; it dominated the weekly ratings chart for 22 straight weeks, and recorded a series high of 47.6% on its last episode, the highest Korean drama rating in 2013.[14]

Her follow-up series I Can Hear Your Voice (2013) was also popular during its run.[15] In it, Lee played a materialistic public defender who testified on behalf of a boy with supernatural abilities (Lee Jong-suk) a decade ago after she witnessed the boy's father being murdered.[16] Critics said with her stubborn and argumentative character, Lee was able to break free of her previous calm and elegant image.[17] She won several awards for her performance, including the Daesang ("Grand Prize"), the highest honor at the SBS Drama Awards.[18][19] Lee was named Actress of the Year by Gallup due to the success of her works.[20]

In 2014, Lee played a mother who travels back in time two weeks before her daughter's kidnapping and murder in God's Gift - 14 Days.[21][22]

In 2017, Lee starred in SBS's legal thriller Whisper.[23] She took the role of a section chief of criminal division who gets dismissed from the police and later on disguise herself and work as an undercover at a law firm.[24]

In 2018, Lee starred in the Korean adaption of the Japanese drama Mother, playing the titular character.[25][26][27]

Other activities[edit]

Lee is active in environmental causes, including the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.[28][29] She and husband Ji Sung also makes donations to charitable causes regularly.[30][31]

While on acting hiatus in 2015 during her pregnancy, she published the book Time of Love, a collection of essays on 23 books with themes of love, consolation and growth that have impacted Lee throughout her childhood and adulthood; they include The Little Prince, José Mauro de Vasconcelos's My Sweet Orange Tree, and Alain de Botton's Essays in Love.[32]

Lee was confirmed to host 2017 SBS Drama Awards together with Shin Dong-yup.[33] Previously, Lee has emceed the same award ceremony in 2013 together with Lee Hwi-jae and Kim Woo-bin.

Personal life[edit]

Lee met actor Ji Sung on the set of 2004 TV series Save Last Dance for Me, and they confirmed their relationship in 2007.[34][35][36][37] On August 2, 2013, they announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45] They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on September 27, 2013.[46][47][48] Their first child, daughter Kwak Ji-yoo was born on June 12, 2015.[49][50]



Year Title Role
2004 My Brother Mi-ryung
2006 A Dirty Carnival Hyun-joo
2008 Once Upon a Time Haruko / Choon-ja
2009 More Than Blue Eun-won ("Cream")
I Am Happy Soo-kyung

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
2003 Escape from Unemployment Cha Mi-rim SBS
Long Live Love Se-ryung
2004 People of the Water Flower Village Yoo Yeo-kyung MBC
Jang Gil-san Kwi-rye SBS
Save the Last Dance for Me Yoon Soo-jin
2005 Encounter Choi Eom-ji MBC
My Sweetheart, My Darling Yoo In-young KBS1
Ballad of Seodong Princess Seonhwa of Silla SBS
2006 Mr. Goodbye Choi Young-in KBS2
Queen of the Game Kang Eun-seol SBS
2010 Becoming a Billionaire Lee Shin-mi KBS2
Harvest Villa Yoon Seo-rin tvN
Athena: Goddess of War Jo Soo-young
(guest appearance, episodes 3-5)
2011 Hooray for Love Kang Jae-mi MBC
2012 Man from the Equator Han Ji-won KBS2
My Daughter Seo-young Lee Seo-young
2013 I Can Hear Your Voice Jang Hye-sung SBS
2014 God's Gift - 14 Days Kim Soo-hyun
Pinocchio Hye-sung car navigation
(voice cameo, episode 3)
2017 Whisper Shin Young-joo
2018 Mother Su-jin tvN

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2007 She's Olive - Lee Bo-young
from Grasse to Paris
O'live TV
2013 eat CITY - Lee Bo-young's Italian Cafe

Music video appearances[edit]

Year Song title Artist
2011 "Crying, Calling" Zia & 4Men

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Ballad of Seodong Won
KBS Drama Awards Best New Actress My Sweetheart, My Darling Won
2006 14th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actress A Dirty Carnival Won
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Queen of the Game Won
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Mr. Goodbye Nominated
2007 3rd Andre Kim Best Star Awards[51] Female Star Award N/A Won
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Once Upon a Time Nominated
2009 4th Andre Kim Best Star Awards[52] Female Star Award N/A Won
2010 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Becoming a Billionaire Nominated
2011 MBC Drama Awards[53] Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Hooray for Love Won
2012 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress My Daughter Seo-young,
Man from the Equator
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Man from the Equator Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama My Daughter Seo-young Nominated
Best Couple Award with Lee Sang-yoon Won
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Drama Star - Female My Daughter Seo-young,
I Can Hear Your Voice
6th Korea Drama Awards[54][55] Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk I Can Hear Your Voice Won
6th Style Icon Awards Top Ten Style Icons Nominated
2nd APAN Star Awards[56] Top Excellence Award, Actress My Daughter Seo-young,
I Can Hear Your Voice
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk I Can Hear Your Voice Won
26th Grimae Awards[57] Best Actress Won
SBS Drama Awards[18] Daesang (Grand Prize) Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
Producer's Award Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards[58] Best Actress (TV) Won
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries God's Gift - 14 Days Nominated
2017 1st The Seoul Awards Best Actress (Drama) Whisper Nominated
SBS Drama Awards[59] Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Monday-Tuesday Drama Won
2018 54th Baeksang Arts Awards[60] Best Actress (TV) Mother Nominated
13th Seoul International Drama Awards[61] Best Actress Won
6th APAN Star Awards[62] Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated


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  2. ^ a b "Lee Bo-young Discovers Joy of Acting". The Chosun Ilbo. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  3. ^ "Start off your Sunday Mornings... in a Warm Garden Village". The Dong-a Ilbo. 30 December 2003. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  4. ^ "Lee Bo-young Tries Her Skills as Sweet Darling". KBS Global. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  5. ^ "Gays, girls, gobs of cash hit airwaves". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  6. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (29 January 2008). "Once upon a Time shines bright". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  7. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (13 January 2009). "Kwon Sang-woo Resumes Romantic Role". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
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  9. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (16 November 2009). "Hyun Bin's Happy is unhappy". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  10. ^ Yoon, Hee-seong (5 March 2010). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Bo-young". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
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  12. ^ "Shin Ae-ra, Lee Bo-young, Seo Young-hee take over the screens". Hancinema.
  13. ^ Jeon, Ji-young (7 May 2012). "Um Tae Woong and Lee Bo Young Begin Romance". KBS Global. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  14. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (4 March 2013). "My Daughter Seo Young Concludes with the Warmth of Family". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
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  18. ^ a b Lee, Cory (2 January 2014). "Lee Bo-young Grabs 1st Top Prize at the 2013 SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  19. ^ Park, Sunghee (2 January 2014). "2013 SBS Drama Award, Lee Bo Young, To Win the Grand Award". BNTNews. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
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  22. ^ Lee Sun-min (9 January 2014). "Lee Bo-young confirms role in 'God's Gift'". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  23. ^ Chung Jin-hong (27 January 2017). "SBS drama 'Whisper' announces cast of stars". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  24. ^ "Lee Bo-young Returns to TV with New Crime Thriller". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Actress Lee Bo-young Will Be Playing Another Strong-willed Mother Role in 2018". Hancinema. TV Report. 26 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Lee Bo-young finds a new voice as a 'Mother'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 31 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Lee Bo-young Reflects on Role as Mother". The Chosun Ilbo. 24 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Lee Bo-young to Promote UN Environmental Conference". The Chosun Ilbo. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  29. ^ Kim, Tae-gyu (1 July 2011). "Desertification happening just next to us". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  30. ^ "Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young Secretly Donate W100 Million for Sick Children". The Chosun Ilbo.
  31. ^ "Lee Bo-young's big donation revealed". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  32. ^ Jin, Min-ji (6 June 2015). "Lee Bo-young reviews books". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-06-09.
  33. ^ Hwang, Sul-hee (22 Nov 2017). "SBS 측 "신동엽·이보영, 2017 연기대상 MC 유력"". My Daily. Retrieved 2017-11-24.
  34. ^ Park, So-yeon (18 November 2009). "Ji-sung's girlfriend Lee Bo-young not ready for marriage". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  35. ^ Hong, Lucia (31 May 2012). "Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young deny June wedding rumor". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  36. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (1 June 2012). "Lee Bo-young, Ji Sung agencies dismiss rumors of wedding plans". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  37. ^ "Celebrity Couple Attend Psy's Concert". The Chosun Ilbo. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  38. ^ An, So-hyoun (2 August 2013). "Lee Bo Young and Ji Sung to Get Married in September". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  39. ^ Lee, Sun-min (3 August 2013). "A hand-written engagement". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
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  46. ^ "Star couple Lee Bo-young and Ji Sung pose at their wedding at a hotel in Seoul on Friday". The Chosun Ilbo. 28 September 2013. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  47. ^ Lee, Hye-ji (27 September 2013). "Actors Ji Sung, Lee Bo-young Tie the Knot (2)". 10Asia. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  48. ^ Kim, Byung-kwan (27 September 2013). "Ji Sung and Lee Bo Young Tie the Knot". enewsWorld. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  49. ^ Sung, So-young (25 November 2014). "Lee Bo-young is 10 weeks pregnant". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  50. ^ Jin, Min-ji (15 June 2015). "Lee Bo-young has a baby girl". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
  51. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (1 May 2007). "Top Stars Win Andre Kim Awards". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  52. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (29 November 2009). "Stars Shine at Andre Kims Atelier". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
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  54. ^ Im, Woo-jung (3 October 2013). "Lee Bo-young wins 2013 Korea Drama Awards". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
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  56. ^ "Song wins top Star award". Korea JoongAng Daily. 18 November 2013.
  57. ^ "이보영 신혼생활 묻자 "아침 잘 해주고 있어" 함박웃음". JTBC (in Korean). December 19, 2013.
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  59. ^ "Ji Sung receives grand prize while wife receives best actress award". The Korea Times. 2 January 2018.
  60. ^ "제54회 백상예술대상, TV·영화 각 부문별 수상 후보자 공개". JTBC (in Korean). 6 April 2018.
  61. ^ "Lee Bo-young wins best actress at drama awards". The Korea Times. 4 September 2018.
  62. ^ "이병헌·손예진·아이유 APAN스타어워즈 노미네이트". Star News (in Korean). 27 September 2018.

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