Former K-drama actress who was physically and verbally abused by co-stars to the point she retired 

This actress quitted acting because what she went through during her active days was too much to take. 

Debuting in 2004, Heo Yi Jae was one of the most outstanding actresses under YG Entertainment. As her visuals resemble Kim Tae Hee, she was even dubbed “little Kim Tae Hee” by the Korean public. After only 2 years, Heo Yi Jae’s popularity began to rise when she starred in “Goong S”, the spin-off of the iconic drama “Goong” (“Princess Hours”). Although “Goong S” had low ratings, it still helped Heo Yi Jae gain more attention. 

Heo Yi Jae
Heo Yi Jae starred in “Goong S” with Se7en, Park Shin Hye…

After “Goong S”, Heo Yi Jae took on various characters, from the tomboy role in “A Boy Who Is Walking in the Sky” to the medical student in “Single Dad in Love”. But when her career was on the rise, Heo Yi Jae encountered upsetting events one after another.

heo yi jae
Heo Yi Jae had a blooming career

In 2016, Heo Yi Jae starred in the last work of her career, “You Are a Gift”, where she became a victim of physical abuse from older female co-star Kim Cheong, who allegedly took advantage of the script to hurt Heo Yi Jae. While filming scenes of slapping or grabbing hair, Kim Cheong did it to Heo Yi Jae without holding back, making her go through actual pain.

Heo Yi Jae
Heo Yi Jae was physically hurt by a senior actress 

Heo Yi Jae talked about this in a YouTube video in 2021. She revealed that Kim Cheong was physically hurting her for real in those scenes, even causing her blood pressure to drop and her cheeks to swell. Kim Cheong repeatedly made excuses, such as she was in character and could not get out when asked to take it easy or stop. Kim Cheong also refused to take off her ring when slapping Heo Yi Jae, hurting Heo Yi Jae even more. 

Kim Cheong slapped Heo Yi Jae without removing her ring 

That’s not everything that Heo Yi Jae had to suffer. In the same video, Heo Yi Jae revealed the biggest reason why she decided to retire. She said it was because she was harassed by a married senior actor. He even straightforwardly asked her to sleep with him. When he was rejected by Heo Yi Jae, this actor completely changed his attitude, constantly swearing at Heo Yi Jae and threatening her. “He played my love interest in a work. At first, he was very nice to me. However, one day he suddenly asked me why I didn’t call him on my days off. I just said ‘Because we meet and work on set for 20 hours a day together,'” she recalled. 

Heo Yi Jae
The married actor told Heo Yi Jae she should sleep with him so they could have real-life couple chemistry 

What happened took a toll on Heo Yi Jae’s mental health and psychological state, so she decided to withdraw from the entertainment industry. After her contract with YG ended, Heo Yi Jae left the company and started living as a commoner. She once married in 2011, but she and her ex-husband went their separate ways after 4 years of living together. That was also the time when she decided to return to acting, only to get a bitter ending.

Heo Yi Jae wedding
Heo Yi Jae’s happy wedding in 2011

It was not until 2021 that the actress had the courage to share the stories of the dark corners of the industry that she had experienced. Currently in her 30s, Heo Yi Jae devotes all her time to herself, and at the same time does not want people to focus on searching for the married actor’s identity because that is not her purpose of speaking up. “I hope you’re not looking to find out who the actor is, I’m not appearing in this video to attack a specific person,” she said.

Source: K14

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