24 January 1937|
Changnyeong, Japanese Korea
(now South Gyeongsang, South Korea)
|Died||18 May 2002
|Partner(s)||Kim Jong-il (1968–2002; her death)|
|Revised Romanization||Seong Hye-rim|
Early life and education
Song was born in Changnyeong when Korea was under Imperial Japanese rule. She entered Pyongyang Movie College in 1955, but left the following year to give birth to a daughter. She later re-enrolled and graduated, having her film debut in 1960. She became a popular actress in the 1960s, appearing in movies including Onjŏngryŏng (Chosŏn'gŭl: 온정령) and Baek Il-hong (Chosŏn'gŭl: 백일홍).
Most accounts of Song are drawn from the memoirs of her sister, Song Hye-rang. Her former friend Kim Young-soon published her memoir I Am Song Hye-rim's friend, and revealed that she and her family were sent to a concentration camp for ten years after she found out Hye-rim's secret, which resulted in the death of her children and parents and her husband being taken away and never seen again before she managed to defect to South Korea in 2003.
Song began dating Kim Jong-il in 1968, after divorcing her first husband; she is believed to have been his first mistress. In 1971, she gave birth to Kim Jong-nam, who at one time was believed to be favoured to succeed Kim Jong-il. The birth of her son is said to have been kept secret from Kim Il-sung until 1975.
Defection and death
Starting in the early 1980s, Song travelled to Moscow frequently for medical care. In 1996 Song was reported to have defected to the West, but intelligence officials in South Korea denied the story. She is reported to have died on 18 May 2002. Some reports say she died in Moscow.
- 北 김정남 생모 '성혜림의 묘'를 찾아
- "North Korean defector says Kim Jong Il stole her life". Los Angeles Times.
- "A N.Korean life shattered by Kim Jong-il's secret". Reuters. 3 February 2010.
- "North Korean Defector Reveals The Horrifying Conditions Inside Secretive State's Concentration Camps". The Huffington Post. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
- Lee (2005), par. 6
- Empas (n.d.)
- Lee (2005), sect. 4 par. 1
- Michael Rank (18 February 2012). "North Korean secrets lie six feet under". Asia Times Online.
- "김정일의 동거녀 성혜림과 고영희". DailyNK. 15 July 2005. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
- "성혜림". Empas 인물검색. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
- Lee, Ki-dong (이기동) (26 January 2005). "김정일, 외모닮은 김정운 칭찬". Choongang Monthly Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2007.