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Seoul, South Korea
Birth Sign
Seoul, South Korea

Lee Bo-young is a South Korean film and television actress. Initially aspiring to be a news presenter, she was chosen as one of the fifteen finalists in MBC’s 2002 annual recruitment drive. However, she was not hired and pursued a career in modeling. Soon afterwards, she was hired as the exclusive advertising model for Asiana Airlines, which paved the way for her acting career. Lee made his television debut in 2003 with the drama ‘Escape from Unemployment.’ In 2004, she made her feature film debut in ‘My Brother,’ a family drama. While her early work failed to garner either critical acclaim or public adoration, everything changed with the release of ‘My Daughter Seo-young’ (2012), in which she starred as the titular character. The show was a huge success, cementing Lee’s position in the industry. She has maintained her momentum in the years since, starring in several hit shows and winning numerous awards. As a responsible member of society, she is aware of her social responsibilities and is particularly active in environmental charities. In 2011, she starred in Zia & 4Men’s music video for the song ‘Crying, Calling’.

Childhood & Adolescence

Lee Bo-young was born in Seoul, South Korea, on January 12, 1979. She was crowned Miss Korea in Daejeon and the surrounding South Chungcheong Province when she was about 21 years old. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Korean Literature from Seoul Women’s University.

With the goal of becoming a news presenter, she auditioned for and was selected as one of the 15 finalists for MBC’s 2002 recruitment drive. However, she was unsuccessful in obtaining the job and chose to pursue modeling instead.

Her time in the fashion industry proved fruitful, as she not only gained experience, but also paved the way to stardom with her appointment as Asiana Airlines’ exclusive advertising model.

Career of Lee

Lee Bo-young made her acting debut in the television series ‘Escape from Unemployment’ in 2003. She then starred in another SBS drama, ‘Long Live Love’. In 2004, she appeared as the antagonist in ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ and a year later landed her first lead role in ‘My Sweetheart, My Darling.’

She followed it up with ‘Ballad of Seodong,’ a period drama. Based on Seodong-yo, one of Korea’s oldest folk songs and the country’s first hyangga, the series follows a commoner who falls in love with the rival kingdom’s Princess Seonhwa (Lee).

‘My Brother,’ a 2004 film, served as her feature film debut. She portrayed Jo Mi-ryeong, a high school student who is both the male protagonists’ love interest. Her second film, ‘A Dirty Carnival,’ was a neo-noir action thriller released in 2006.

In 2008, she co-starred in the major heist comedy film ‘Once Upon a Time’ with Park Yong-woo. She and Park portrayed a pair of swindlers in 1940s Korea attempting to defraud the Japanese authorities of a priceless diamond.

The film was nominated for a Grand Bell Award for Best Costume Design. In 2009, she appeared in two back-to-back melodramas, ‘More Than Blue’ and ‘I Am Happy’.

Lee returned to television in 2010 with ‘Harvest Villa,’ in which she starred opposite Shin Ha-kyun as a seductress, and ‘Becoming a Billionaire,’ a romantic comedy series in which she starred as the female lead.

She then appeared as a guest star on ‘Athena: The Goddess of War’. Later in her career, she appeared in the post-divorce romantic comedy series ‘Hooray for Love’ (2011).

She chose Kim In-brilliant young’s revenge drama ‘Man from the Equator’ (2012) as her next project, in which she plays the object of attraction for two men caught in a whirlwind of betrayal and vengeance.

In ‘My Daughter Seo-young,’ critics lauded her portrayal of Lee Seo-young, a career woman who harbors profound rage toward her father (Chun Ho-jin) and blames him for her mother’s death. The show’s series finale received a peak viewership rating of 47.6 percent, the highest of any Korean drama in 2013.

Her subsequent television appearance, ‘I Can Hear Your Voice’ (2013), was a critical success in its own right. The supernatural legal drama follows a materialistic and pragmatic public defender whose life is turned upside down when she meets Park Soo-ha (Lee Jong-suk), a boy endowed with supernatural abilities. Critics lauded her for venturing beyond her comfort zone and adopting a brash, argumentative persona.

She portrayed a mother who travels back in time to save her murdered young daughter in ‘God’s Gift-14 Days. The American remake, ‘Somewhere Between,’ premiered on ABC on July 24, 2017, starring Paula Patton.

Lee starred opposite Lee Sang-yoon in the legal thriller ‘Whisper’ in 2017. It was a 17-episode series that aired on SBS from March 27 to May 23, 2017. She is set to appear in ‘Mother,’ a Korean adaptation of the same-named Japanese show.

Additional Works of Lee

In 2015, Lee published ‘Time of Love,’ a collection of essays on 23 books with varying themes of love, consolation, and growth that have influenced her life over the years. Essentially a collection of reviews, these books include ‘My Sweet Orange Tree’ by José Mauro de Vasconcelos, ‘The Little Prince’ by Alain de Botton, and ‘Essays in Love’ by Alain de Botton. She worked on this book during her pregnancy-induced hiatus from acting.

Awards and Accomplishments

Lee Bo-young received her first award in 2005, a New Star SBS Drama Award, for her performance in ‘Ballad of Seodong.’ In the same year, she received the KBS Drama Award for best new actress for her performance in ‘My Sweetheart, My Darling’.

She won the 44th Baeksang Arts Awards’ Best New Actress Award for ‘Once Upon a Time’ in 2008. She won the 2011 MBC Drama Awards’ Excellence Award for Actress in a Miniseries for ‘Hooray for Love’.

Lee won the Grand Prize (Daesang) at the 6th Korea Drama Awards in 2013 for her roles in ‘My Daughter Seo-young’ and ‘I Can Hear Your Voice’. In the same year, she won another Grand Prize at the SBS Drama Awards for her performance in ‘I Can Hear Your Voice’.

Private Life Lee

Lee Bo-young met actor Ji Sung in 2004 on the set of the romantic drama ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ in which both of them starred, though she was not his primary love interest. A relationship developed quickly, but it took them three additional years to come out and publicly discuss it.

Their engagement was announced on August 2, 2013. They tied the knot on 27 September at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel. On June 12, 2015, Lee gave birth to their first child, a daughter they named Kwak Ji-yoo.

Aware of today’s severe environmental issues, Lee has served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador for years, participating in various charity events, volunteering in Mongolia, and promoting a clean environment through promotional campaigns.

In June 2011, she was appointed goodwill ambassador for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s tenth Conference of the Parties. On 10 October, the event took place. She and her husband both donate regularly to a variety of charities and fundraisers.

Estimated Net Worth

Lee Bo-young is one of the wealthiest television actresses and is ranked among the most popular television actresses. Lee Bo-net young’s worth is estimated to be around $2 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


Lee is represented by Fly Up Entertainment.