Kim Hyun-joong's legal dispute with ex-girlfriend

Korean star Kim Hyun-Joong on May 4, 2012.
PHOTO: NP

The dragging legal controversy between singer-turned-actor Kim Hyun-joong and his former girlfriend entered a new phase Monday as her baby turned out to be Kim's biological son. Following is a chronological roundup of the long-running dispute between the two.

Kim and his ex-girlfriend, only identified by her surname Choi, first met in 2012 through their mutual acquaintance. From April 2014, the two made a reportedly lovey-dovey couple like many other young couples.

The legal battle, however, first flared up in August 2014, when Choi filed a complaint against Kim for alleged physical assaults in May and July, which she claimed resulted in broken ribs. The plaintiff asserted that the singer "habitually" beat her, but Kim denied most of her claims.

The 29-year-old posted a letter of apology on his official website and reportedly made a sincere apology to Choi. On Sept. 17 of the same year, Choi dropped many of the charges, leaving only four criminal cases that could not be concluded through mutual consensus outside of court which were then forwarded to prosecution. Kim was summarily indicted and paid a fine, but it was only a prelude to a larger, intensified legal battle between the two.

A few months later, there was a news report in late February 2015 that the two were back together and Choi was expecting Kim's child. Kim, however, denied the report, claiming he tried to meet his ex-girlfriend in person several times to verify her pregnancy, but she had refused to see him.

Following Kim's interview, Choi had an interview with a local tabloid newspaper in which she insisted on her pregnancy, saying she would take responsibility for rearing the baby and would not marry Kim.

In April, Choi filed a suit seeking 1.6 billion won ($1.33 million) in damages for her psychological pain caused by pregnancy. She also said in July that she had been pregnant last May, when she claimed to have been beaten by the singer. The plaintiff asserted Kim hit her abdomen several times, which allegedly led to a miscarriage of the baby.

Kim, however, denied her claims. Kim's attorney said, "The maternity clinic where Choi claimed she got the diagnosis has verified that it never confirmed such a diagnosis." He also denied Kim's alleged physical assault, citing Choi's inconsistent testimony.

On July 15, the singer urged Choi to pay a penalty for breach of the confidentiality contract, as he allegedly surrendered 600 million won to her under the condition of confidentiality, which she had broken. A few days later, the singer also filed a criminal suit against his ex-girlfriend for "calumny, blackmail, defamation and fraud," saying he had been blackmailed by his former girlfriend along with a local news agency.

Two weeks later, there were more startling disclosures from Choi, as she unveiled ultrasound images and text messages between the two, in which Kim insulted her by calling her a "baby-making machine" and a "pig."

On Sept. 10 there was a news report that Choi gave birth to a son, and Kim said he would take "full responsibility" for the baby if the paternity test identified him as the father.

On Dec. 14, a Seoul Court ordered the two to have a DNA paternity test at Seoul National University Hospital, and it was announced Monday that Kim's DNA matched that of the child.

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