Actress Lee Young-ae saved the life of a Taiwanese infant whose parents could not afford a costly surgery, a Taiwanese online media outlet reported on Monday.
"Korean actress Lee Young-ae has saved an embattled pregnant woman," Zhongguo Taiwanwang reported, alleging that the actress donated 150 million won (S$184,500) to a Taiwanese couple who was involved in an accident.
Fans of the Korean hit drama "Jewel in the Palace (Daejanggeum)" starring the actress, the couple were traveling in Korea when the accident occurred. The pregnant wife had no choice but to give birth prematurely, but financial difficulties prevented the infant from receiving much needed surgery.
The Taiwanese mother finally entered the operating room after Lee Young-ae made the generous private donation to a fundraising event set up to pay for the operation. Lee's involvement quickly spread among the employees of the hospital, despite the actress's effort to keep her good deed unknown to the public.
"Lee was very concerned about the infant's conditions and visited the hospital to the see the child without telling the couple beforehand," a source close to the actress said. "It seems that she was afraid of putting pressure (on the couple)."
"Jewel in the Palace," which aired from fall 2003 through spring 2004, was one of the most-watched television shows in Korean history. The historical drama triggered a Korean culture boom overseas as well, especially in Asian countries.