While we last saw Hyun Bin on the screen in the 2019-20 hit romance drama Crash Landing On You, it seems like these days he is everywhere. From billboards to online ads, Hyun Bin has been fronting many campaigns, ranging from Tom Ford Beauty and Loro Piana to Omega and Lazada.
Hyun Bin, whose real name is Kim Tae-pyung, debuted in 2003 in the TV series Bodyguard and later catapulted to global stardom with the 2005 romcom My Lovely Sam Soon. Since then, Hyun has starred in many iconic productions including A Millionaire’s First Love (2006), Secret Garden (2010-11), The Negotiation (2018) and Memories of the Alhambra (2018-19).
The Negotiation was when he first worked with his wife Son Ye-jin, but it wasn’t till Crash Landing On You when romantic feelings between the two started to develop. Fans of the RiRi couple (including us) were screaming in joy (or heartache) when the news broke at the start of 2021 that the two are dating.
As we celebrate the Libra star turning 40 on Sept 25, here we’ve decided to round up some interesting facts about the star that you may not know about.
His childhood aspiration was to be a detective
Born in 1982, young Hyun Bin loved watching legal thrillers and dreamt of being a detective. In fact, detective was a game he would play with his brother. While his dream didn’t come true, he got a taste of it when he played a North Korean special investigation officer in the 2017 film Confidential Assignment.
Hyun later got the support of his parents to be an actor after he made it into Chung-Ang University, which is one of Korea’s best colleges for acting.
He almost became a singer
If things went slightly differently, Hyun Bin could have become a singer and fronted the rock ballad band Buzz as their lead vocalist. The band’s vocalist Min Kyung-hoon once remarked on an SBS PowerFM show that Hyun didn’t make the cut as “it’s only my singing style that fits Buzz’s songs”.
Hyun Bin didn’t put down the microphone though. He sang the OST That Man for Secret Garden (2010) as well as Can’t Have You for the drama Friend, Our Legend (2009). He also released a song called Dream in My Heart in 2010. Watch him perform Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shallow here.
He's a CEO
In 2016, Hyun Bin joined forces with his mentor, CEO Kang Kun-taek to set up Vast Entertainment agency. Prior to this, he was at AM Entertainment and O& Entertainment, which he had set up with Shin Min-ah in 2012. In 2019, Vast was fully bought over by KakaoM. Besides Hyun, Vast also manages actors including Lee Yeon Hee, Lee Jae Wook and Shin Do Hyun.
He cherished his time in the military
Hyun Bin served his mandatory military service in the marines between March 2011 and Dec 2012. Prior to enlisting, Hyun shared with KBS World that he looked forward to military service as it would give him time to find out more about himself and “the world of the human being named Kim Tae-pyung”.
Hyun Bin later reiterated the same notion when he reflected on his time in the army in an episode of Leaving Work with The Stars.
He's a self-professed introvert
In an interview with KBS World, Hyun Bin described himself as a “somewhat introverted person”. He went on to liken himself to the character Hoon that he played in the film Late Autumn (2010) than to the character Joo-won from the popular series Secret Garden (2010).
“My real personality is more similar to Hoon rather than Joo-won. Joo-won can say anything he wants to say out loud, but actually, I cannot. I am more like Hoon because he keeps his thoughts inside and expresses his feelings in different ways.”
He has dated other high-profile female celebs
We know that Hyun Bin is currently dating Son Ye-jin after the news broke at the start of 2021. Prior to Son, Hyun dated Song Hye-kyo for about two years between 2009 and 2011 after meeting in the 2008 drama The Way They Live. They broke up before he enlisted in the military.
Hyun Bin was also romantically linked to actress Kang Sora in 2016 and singer-actress Hwang Ji Hyun in 2006.
He unwinds with beer but can't really drink
As an introvert, Hyun Bin likes to unwind and destress alone, and he does so by drinking. He shared in a 2019 interview with The Swoon that he likes to end a busy workday with a glass of beer. He added that he likes “trying out different kinds of beer”.
In an earlier 2018 interview with KBS’ Entertainment Weekly, Hyun shared that he doesn’t have a high tolerance for liquor. His Asian flush gets so intense, it extends to his entire body.
He loves to travel
At a virtual fan meet with Filipino fans organised by telco company SMART, Hyun revealed that he loves to travel to learn more about different cultures, live new experiences and discover parts of himself he never knew existed. “I suggest you travel somewhere where the culture and environment are different. It gives you a new perspective.”
The same sentiment was echoed in a 2019 The Swoon interview where he added that travelling was “motivational” for him. In that same YouTube video, Son Ye-jin expressed wanderlust too.
He is very grateful to his fans
Undeniably, celebs’ success is partly attributed to their fans, and Hyun Bin is very grateful to his. In the same fan meeting, Hyun sent this message: “I’m always grateful to my fans. All I can do for them to repay their love is to continue acting, hoping it would make their life a little better.
Although it was for a short time, I got to talk with my fans and talk about my works. It was nice to communicate with my fans, even though I could only see them through a screen.”
In 2013 on the 50th Savings Day held by the Korean government, Hyun Bin received the President’s Award as a recognition for saving 3.5 billion won (approximate S$3.5 million) over a span of 17 years. In his acceptance speech, Hyun thanked his parents for teaching him how to save smartly and called them his “financial managers”.
In addition, Hyun Bin is currently one of the top-earning actors in South Korea. He commanded between 150 and 180 million won per episode on Crash Landing On You, according to South China Morning Post. This excludes his earnings from commercial films and brand ambassadorship. He’s also said to have a net worth of US$10 million.
He supports many social causes
The previously mentioned President’s Award also commended Hyun Bin for his volunteer work and charity donations. In 2020, Hyun donated 200 million won to Korea’s Community Chest to support the country’s combat against the spread of Covid-19. Moreover, he took part in a pictorial with a retired search and rescue dog, Vision, to raise awareness about animal cruelty in 2016.
He owns property too
Hyun Bin has expanded his revenue streams into real estate as well. Together with his family, he is said to own HB Family Holdings which built a 7-storey building in the Cheongdam neighbourhood of Seoul. Hyun owns other properties too.
Earlier in 2021, it was reported that Hyun Bin added a US$4.3 million 2,600 sq ft penthouse to his portfolio in December 2020. The penthouse is located in the Walkerhill Podoville estate in Achiul Village in Guri, Gyeonggi province near Seoul. His neighbours include actress Oh Yeon-seo and JYP Entertainment CEO Park Jin-young.