After ChoA announced that she would be leaving AOA, many rumors broke out as to her reasoning why. Although she stated clearly that she has been struggling with depression and insomnia and wanted to spend the next few years doing “normal” things like other people of her age, it seems people just can’t accept that this is the real reason why.
News reports, and even one of her fan sites, started spreading rumors that she would be announcing her engagement tomorrow. This news comes after countless other rumors that she has been on an extended break from the group due to a pregnancy and more. Now, Sports Seoul published pictures of her and a friend returning from a trip to Japan with the headline, “ChoA, traveling with her boyfriend… They were steamy even before the dating rumors.”
In the actual news articles, they go on to say the proof is in the pictures. “This is the way someone leans against their lover,” they stated as they intimated that the two had spent a romantic weekend away with each other. What they forgot to mention? ChoA was in Japan with both of her sisters as well during the same trip. A fact which ChoA quickly set them straight on with her statement on Instagram (translation courtesy of Allkpop)
“I know that the more you all show interest in me, the more rumors there will be. I am not pregnant, I did not get an abortion, nor am I leaving the group because of a marriage. There are a lot of celebrities who date publicly, and if I want to, I can just do the same and continue promoting, so I don’t know why my departure from the group is being associated with dating rumors. I’m the type to not have very many friends, so it’s true that he has been a big strength to me recently. If we continue to build our relationship, there is nothing wrong with dating, so I will be as honest as necessary and will continue to have a budding relationship with him. I decided my departure after a lengthy amount of thought, so please do not associate it with other issues.
Up until now, they have been pressuring me by saying that they will make the photos go public, but now [that the photos are out], I feel rather relieved. I will add another photo to accompany the photos and articles from today, and would like to explain myself.
It looks like I went on a couple vacation with just the two of us, but it was my first overseas trip with my older and younger sister. My younger sister, who is in her first year of middle school, likes to draw and likes animation, so I chose Japan in the hopes that the trip might help her future just a little bit. I’m the only one who can speak broken Japanese, and it was our first family trip to Japan, so I had to be in charge of everything, but for me, who has never been to Japan other than for schedules, it was very difficult for me to reserve things in Japanese and find attractions, so I asked an acquaintance whom I’ve known for the past 3 years. He led us as a guide on days when my family’s trip overlapped with his, and because on our way back, it was late and we had a lot of luggage, he helped us and bid us off, and that was when we were photographed, just the two of us.
Last time, during my first dating scandal, the reporter asked me about a situation where I was photographed with a phone camera, so I explained the above to them, so I can’t understand why they used such a scandalous headline, making it seem as if we went on a trip just the two of us.
Also, I have made known my inner thoughts about leaving the group to my label since a while back. Even last year, they asked me to think it through again while resting for a long time, so I did that. In the end, after asking my label CEO’s permission, I finally wrote my SNS post. Before I uploaded it, I shared the contents with my label, and erased content that the label did not want to go up on the post.
My stance on my departure is the same as my SNS post from yesterday, and I hope that the controversies that have come up after my departing SNS post will not affect the [AOA] members negatively. I apologize once again for delivering bad news to you all and worrying you this morning.”
Despite her clear statement, many still refuse to believe her. Worse still, many just tell her to come clean with the truth as if she owes the public details on her private life. In addition, Sports Seoul has published more pictures online with statements like, “This is definitely the behavior of lovers,” and “Is this how you treat an acquaintance?” Despite their extreme article titles and angry response to her statement with their alleged “proof,” there is nothing incriminating or inappropriate in the photos and even the media outlets goes on to admit that she did travel with her sisters as well. But the important question is “Why?”
What stands out in this case is that ChoA is a person struggling with depression and people continue to spread vicious rumors about her— whether it’s from news sites or fans and concerns abortion rumors or leaving the group to get married. Although ChoA handled the situation with class, it’s clear that she got her point across when she hinted that people publish what they want so that it will appear as proof. In other words, they manipulate things to hurt stars, not to mention mislead to the public. Why? All to sell those papers and get more people to click on their articles. As the old song says, “Money, Money, Money.”
While many people feel like they have to ignore rumors until they blow over, I personally applaud ChoA for standing up for herself and calling out the scummy paparazzi that makes a living off following people and taking pictures of them unaware. In the end, it doesn’t matter what ChoA has done or will do, whether she is dating or whether she might get married tomorrow, the end decision is up to her and she is free to do as she pleases. Becoming an idol doesn’t mean allowing the public to control your life, nor does it mean allowing your gratitude towards fans to turn into a hyper sense of responsibility which leads you to hide normal behaviors like relationships, dating, and more. Some netizens say that it is their desire for privacy which leads them to hide things, but we have all seen time after time that it is the fans who motivate these behaviors. We’ve seen the wrath of fans when you crush their unrealistic fantasies, and it’s scary! Regardless of all our secret dreams of our bias falling in love with us, most people realize there is no chance of this happening. More to the point, there is certainly no law that says you have to remain single the rest of your idol life or give up a normal life experience just because you are or were a singer. Is this not why married celebrities in Hollywood, people like retain their popularity, but Korean celebrities put off getting married until much later since it affects their careers? Case in point? The recent events with Super Junior’s Sungmin and the division between Korean fans and international fans.
However, until the majority of fans accept that idols and stars have a right to a normal life and strive towards a healthier mindset themselves, the press will continue to deliver these types of clickbait articles to reel in those fans. And until that stops, most singers will continue to give in to the illogical demands to live a life of pretense. After all, there is a fine line between love and hate, and stars know that the fans who are largely responsible for their success today could turn on them tomorrow and ruin everything. So until people like ChoA stand up and say boldly, “Even if I was dating, it’s my life and I’m entitled to do so,” then things will never change the dynamic of the idol-fan relationship which has existed— and been accepted— until now.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!
lee1086 is the co-founder and director of What The Kpop. When not writing or editing articles, she is watching Kpop music videos or Kdramas. She is a huge fan of Super Junior and the perfection known as Eunsihae. When not obsessing over the flawlessness of Donghae or trying to decide if her SHINee bias is Taemin or Key, she is playing the piano, loving on her dog, and hanging out with her family and friends
Media: As Credited
*The views expressed in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of the entire WTK staff as a whole.