Lee Yo-won

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Lee Yo-won
Lee Yo-won in 2017.jpg
Lee Yo-won in 2017
Born (1980-04-09) April 9, 1980 (age 37)
Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Education Dankook University - Theater and Film
Occupation Actress
Years active 1997–present
Agent Management Koo
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)[1]
Spouse(s) Park Jin-woo (m. 2003)
Children 3
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Yo-won
McCune–Reischauer I Yowŏn

Lee Yo-won (born April 9, 1980) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Queen Seondeok in the eponymous hit period drama.


Lee Yo-won was a sophomore in high school when she won a modeling contest and first appeared as a model in the November 1997 issue of fashion magazine Figaro. This led to commercials, then to minor roles in television series and movies. Though she started getting recognized by the public after the box-office success of anarchic comedy Attack the Gas Station (1999), her first notable acting role was in controversial TV drama Blue Mist (2001), where she played a young woman in her 20s who becomes romantically involved with a married man in his 40s.[2]

Critical darling Take Care of My Cat (2001) followed shortly, for which she received several newcomer awards. In a later interview with Elle Korea in 2009, she cited the film as her most memorable work.[3]

But after starring in a number of big-screen star vehicles that weren't received well by audiences and critics, Lee felt mentally and physically exhausted.[4] After finishing the historical drama Daemang (lit. "The Great Ambition", 2002), she made the surprising announcement that she was temporarily retiring from the entertainment scene.

Lee made a successful acting comeback in 2005, as the lead actress in period drama Fashion 70's, which she chose because she wanted to work with TV director Lee Jae-gyu (who had previously directed Damo), and because it was not a typical love story, but depicted a woman's success in life and career.[5] A supporting role followed in romantic comedy When Romance Meets Destiny.[4]

Lee Yo-won at the 49 days press conference in 2011.

In 2007, Lee played the titular character in hit medical drama/romance Surgeon Bong Dal-hee,[6] though her next series, melodrama Bad Love was less successful in the ratings. She then switched to more serious fare as part of the ensemble cast of May 18, a film about the Gwangju massacre and one of the highest grossing Korean films of all time.[7][8]

Tired of playing fragile characters, Lee portrayed Queen Seondeok of Silla in the massively popular period drama Queen Seondeok (2009).[9] Her follow-up, fantasy melodrama 49 Days (2011) in which she played dual roles as a woman possessed, also resonated with audiences.[10][11] Afterwards she appeared in Horse Doctor (2012) about a Joseon-era veterinarian turned royal physician,[12] and Empire of Gold (2013) which revolved around a power struggle over a chaebol.[13]

On the big screen, Lee said after her enjoyable experience working with Jeong Jae-eun on Take Care of My Cat, she wanted to work with other female directors, so she starred in Anna Lee's romantic mystery The Recipe (2010) and Bang Eun-jin's crime thriller Perfect Number (2012). In contrast, she was cast in the only female starring role in Kang Woo-suk's Fists of Legend (2013), about middle-aged men who join a televised mixed martial arts tournament/reality show.[14]

In 2016, Lee made a successful comeback to the small-screen with the quirky romantic-comedy Ms. Temper and Nam Jung-Gi. Her role as a hot-headed career woman was well-received, with many citing it as her "rediscovery role". She then participated in another film, titled Yes, Family, playing a reporter who is the oldest among-st four siblings. Lee also starred in the MBC drama Night Light, alongside Jin Goo and Uee.

Personal life[edit]

Lee married businessman and professional golfer Park Jin-woo on January 10, 2003.[15][16] The couple have two daughters & one son (born in Dec 2003, May 2014 and May 2015).[17][18][19][20]



Year Title Role
1998 Scent of a Man young Eun-hye
1999 Attack the Gas Station Ggal-chi
2001 Take Care of My Cat Shin Hye-joo
2002 A.F.R.I.K.A. Lee Ji-won
Surprise Party Wang Ha-young
2005 When Romance Meets Destiny Go Yun-kyung
2007 May 18 Park Shin-ae
2010 The Recipe Jang Hye-jin
2012 Perfect Number Baek Hwa-sun
2013 Fists of Legend Hong Gyu-min
2017 Yes, Family Oh Soo-kyung

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Network
1998 I Hate You, But It's Fine Lee Bit-na SBS
1999 March Jung Yo-won SBS
School 2 Kim Yeon-jin KBS2
2000 Tough Guy's Love Heo Ji-hye KBS2
2001 Blue Mist Lee Shin-woo KBS2
Pure Heart Han Se-jin/Kang Hyun-joo KBS2
2002 The Great Ambition Yoon Yeo-jin SBS
2005 Fashion 70's Han Deo-mi SBS
2007 Surgeon Bong Dal-hee Bong Dal-hee SBS
Bad Love Na In-jung KBS2
2009 Queen Seondeok Princess Deokman/Queen Seondeok MBC
2011 49 Days Song Yi-kyung SBS
2012 Horse Doctor Kang Ji-nyeong MBC
2013 Empire of Gold Choi Seo-yoon SBS
2016 Ms. Temper and Nam Jung-Gi Ok Da-jung JTBC
Night Light Seo Yi-kyung MBC

Music video[edit]

Year Song title Artist
1998 "Please Baby Don't Cry" Deep
1999 "Will You Forgive Me" A4
"To Her Lover" K2
2000 "I Love You" Position
2001 "I Wish You Happiness (Joy Project - 1 Year of Love)" WHY
2002 "울고 싶어지는 오후" Ji Seo-ryeon
2006 "Liquor" Vibe
2007 "Ice Doll" SeeYa
"Love's Greeting"
2009 "I'm Terrible in Love" Shin Seung-hun
2012 "Love Is All the Same" Yangpa

Variety shows[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2015 Running Man SBS Guest, Ep. 259

Variety shows[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2015 Running Man SBS Guest, Ep. 295


Year Song title Notes
2009 "Bidam (A Sad Story)" Track from Queen Seondeok Special OST Part 2

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2001 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best New Actress Take Care of My Cat Won
Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Actress Won
Director's Cut Awards Best New Actress Won
KBS Drama Awards Popularity Award Blue Mist Won
2002 Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress Take Care of My Cat Won
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award The Great Ambition Won
2005 SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Fashion 70's Won
Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama Won
2007 Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actress May 18 Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Best Couple Award (with Lee Beom-soo) Surgeon Bong Dal-hee Won
Netizen Popularity Award Won
Top 10 Stars Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Bad Love Nominated
2009 Grimae Awards Best Actress Queen Seondeok Won
Korea Visual Arts Festival Photogenic Award Won
MBC Drama Awards Best Couple Award (with Kim Nam-gil) Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress Won
2010 Asia Model Festival Awards Special Award for Asian Drama Won
2011 Seoul International Drama Awards Outstanding Korean Actress 49 Days Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Won
Producers' Award, Actress Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Nominated
2012 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Horse Doctor Nominated
2013 Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Empire of Gold Nominated
SBS Drama Awards[21] Top 10 Stars Won
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Won


  1. ^ "Lee Yo-won Talk Talk Talk". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  2. ^ Shin, Yong-ho (10 June 2001). "Lee Transforms, Playing Vixen or Angel". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  3. ^ Yoon, Tae-hee (15 December 2009). '선덕여왕' 이요원, 패션화보도 '여왕포스'. 10Asia (in Korean). Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  4. ^ a b "Lee Yo-Won Talks 광식이 동생 광태 (When Romance Meets Destiny)". Film2.0 via Twitch Film. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  5. ^ Suh, Jung-bo (12 May 2005). "Weekend Date: Lee Yo-won". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  6. ^ "Dr. Drama". The Dong-a Ilbo. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Lee Yo-won Conjures the Spirits of May 18". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  8. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (10 July 2007). "May 18 Remembers Heroes of Gwangju". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  9. ^ Han, Sang-hee (9 May 2009). "New Epic Drama to Bring Rivalry, Love to TV". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  10. ^ Lee, Ga-on (8 June 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Yo-won - Part 1". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  11. ^ Lee, Ga-on (8 June 2011). "INTERVIEW: Actress Lee Yo-won - Part 2". 10Asia. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  12. ^ Nam, Woo-jeong (25 September 2012). "Horse Doctor Lee Yo Won talks about her relationship with Cho Seung Woo". StarN News. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  13. ^ Cho, Suyoun (24 January 2013). "Heroine of a hit series Empire of Gold Lee Yo won meets fashion magazine ELLE". BNTNews. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  14. ^ Hong, Lucia (16 May 2012). "Lee Yo-won to play a producer in Kang Woo-suk's new film". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-03-19. 
  15. ^ "Lee Yo-won said that she became more muscular thanks to her husband". The Dong-a Ilbo via Hancinema. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  16. ^ "Actress Lee Yo-won ties knot with businessman" (in Korean). Naver. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  17. ^ "Lee Yo-Won and Family First Time Appearance Captured by Media Camera after 9 Years Marriage". Dispatch (in Korean). 9 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Actress Lee Yo-won gives birth to her 2nd child". AJU Business Daily. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  19. ^ "Actress Lee Yo Won belatedly revealed to have given birth to her second child". Allkpop. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  20. ^ "Actress Lee Yo Won revealed to have given birth to her third child". Allkpop. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-19. 
  21. ^ "SBS Drama Awards 2013 Winners". Hancinema. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 

External links[edit]