Profile IU? The National Little Sister of Korea (2024 Updated)

After 14 years in the entertainment industry, IU still maintains her fame and unwavering charm in both singing and acting

Who is IU?

IU is one of the most famous solo female singers in South Korea. Debuting at the age of 15, IU still maintains her beautiful appearance and petite figure. Not only does she have a successful singing career, but she has also received praise recently for her ventures into the film industry. Despite her innocent and elegant image, IU has not been immune to some scandals during her over 10 years in the entertainment industry.

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IU’s Biography

  • Birth name: Lee Ji Eun
  • Stage name: IU
  • Birthday: May 16, 1993
  • Zodiac sign: Taurus
  • Height: 162 cm
  • Weight: 47 kg
  • Blood type: A
  • Instagram: @dlwlrma
  • Twitter: @lily199iu

IU’s Career

“National Little Sister” debuts at age 15

IU harbored dreams of singing from a young age and auditioned at various entertainment companies during high school. After unfortunate encounters with three scam companies that took her money without debut opportunities, the lucky singer joined LOEN Entertainment. In a record-breaking short time – just 10 months, IU debuted as a solo singer in Korea.

During a period when Korea was pushing the development of idol groups, IU’s solo debut at the age of 15 caused quite a stir. She possessed all the elements to become a famous artist: beauty, singing talent, songwriting skills, and dance ability. The producers at LOEN Entertainment had previously asserted, “IU truly is a talented and powerful girl.”


Indeed, after her debut, IU achieved remarkable success. She dominated music charts with bright pop songs like “Nagging,” “Love Letter For You,” and “Marshmallow.”

Especially in 2010, the iconic high-note song “Good Day” propelled her to resounding success in her music career.

Following the success of “Good Day,” IU quickly became affectionately known as the “National Little Sister” by the Korean public. This title typically refers to actresses with natural, pure beauty who have been acting since childhood and are recognized for their acting abilities.

However, IU was the first solo singer to be honored with this title. This demonstrated the Korean audience’s love for the young singer.

In 2018, IU’s song “Palette,” featuring G-Dragon, helped her enter the world music charts. She was the only Asian on the list of 25 songs leading global music trends, as voted by New York Times magazine.

IU’s music career shows no signs of slowing down as she continuously releases hits like “Love Poem,” “Lilac,” “Eight,” “Blueming,” and “Celebrity.” These songs, with deep lyrics and catchy melodies, are loved by the younger generation.

Moreover, her youthful and adorable appearance, which has barely changed after over 10 years in the entertainment industry, has made IU a sustainably famous solo singer.

Successful acting career of IU


Not only a successful solo singer, but IU is also highly regarded for her acting skills. She officially ventured into acting in 2011 with the drama “Dream High.” After a lovable performance in the idol drama, IU diligently transformed herself with television dramas like “You’re The Best Lee Soon Shin” (2013), “Producer” (2015), “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016), and “My Mister” (2018).

Especially, her leading role in the movie “Hotel Del Luna” (2019) truly earned her audience recognition as an actress. The film showcased IU’s peak beauty, captivating aura, and improved acting skills, demonstrating depth of character.

With the success of the film, IU became the top searched female idol in South Korea on Google in 2020. She became a highly sought-after figure in Korean film and television, as well as in advertising and events.

Some films IU participated in

  • “Dream High” (2011)
  • “You’re the best! Lee Soon Shin” (2013)
  • “Pretty Man” (2013)
  • “Producer” (2015)
  • “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016)
  • “My Mister” (2018)
  • “Persona” (2019)
  • “Hotel Del Luna” (2019)
  • “Shades of the Heart ” (2019)

IU’s personal life

Before achieving her current success, IU experienced many hardships in her childhood. Born into a well-off family in Seoul, IU was encouraged by her parents to pursue singing by attending art classes.

However, after her parents faced business failure, had to sell their house, and accumulated huge debts, IU had to temporarily leave her family and live with her grandmother to avoid hardship. The singer once shared about her difficult childhood at her grandmother’s house, where many meals consisted only of potatoes and vegetables.


Despite the poverty, IU remained determined to train and nurture her dream of becoming a famous artist. She auditioned at 20 companies and was rejected at all, including the famous JYP Entertainment. Despite facing failure and being scammed, IU became stronger and more mature. After 14 years in the industry, the female singer still stands strong against all storms in showbiz.

IU’s dating rumors/ news

Despite achieving success from a young age and pursuing an innocent, pure image, IU has also experienced private life scandals.


In 2012, a sensitive image of the female singer with senior Eunhyuk (a member of Super Junior) was posted on social media, causing public outrage. In the photo, IU appeared to be wearing pajamas while Eunhyuk was shirtless.

This sensitive image contradicted IU’s innocent image and caused her to lose favor with the public. Although later, IU’s management company clarified that IU was sick at the time, and Eunhyuk came to her house to visit her. The incident caused IU to remain silent for a while to avoid criticism from netizens.

Chang Kiha

Afterwards, IU was again exposed by Dispatch for dating Chang Kiha – a musician 11 years older than her. The age difference along with IU’s seductive image at that time caused their relationship to lack support from the audience.

The singer once confessed, “We’ve been dating for almost two years. We met on a radio show, and I fell in love with him at first sight. There’s so much I’ve learned from him, and I’m grateful to him. We argue and love each other like any other couple. And I’m sorry, but I guess this is the start of an open relationship.”


However, after 4 years of dating, the couple quietly broke up in peace.

Lee Jong Suk

IU and Lee Jong Suk took fans by surprise in December 2022 when they were revealed to be a couple. The news, originally reported by the entertainment outlet Dispatch, came after years of the two maintaining a close friendship.

iu lee jong-suk

While details about their relationship remain private, their public confirmation as a couple sparked joy among fans who had long admired their bond. The two also show support for each other’s jobs. This development marked a new chapter in their individual journeys and solidified their place as one of South Korea’s most popular celebrity couples.

Scandals/ Controversies

“Lolita style” controversy

iu concert

In 2015, IU faced the most serious controversy in her career. At that time, she returned to the music scene with her fourth mini-album titled “Chat-shire.” However, the album sparked controversy over its music style. Moreover, some products were pointed out to have many similarities with the Lolita style (a novel about the infamous relationship between a man over 30 and a 13-year-old girl).

At that time, IU immediately denied all accusations from netizens. At the same time, she apologized to the audience for using images and language that could be misunderstood. However, the incident still led to severe public backlash against IU.


In 2023, a citizen (referred to as A) filed a complaint against the singer IU for copyright infringement with the Gangnam Police Department in Seoul.

This isn’t the first time IU has been accused of plagiarism. A pointed out that 6 songs sung by IU plagiarized works of artists both domestically and internationally. The accused songs are “The Red Shoes,” “Good Day,” “Bbibbi,” “Pitiful,” “Boo,” and “Celebrity.”

The complaint stated: “All of the songs bear significant similarities to the original works, from melody, rhythm to chord progressions. Especially in the intro section, where it captures the audience’s curiosity to decide whether to continue listening or not.”

In fact, the song “The Red Shoes” previously sparked controversy over plagiarism upon its release in 2013. Many listeners pointed out that IU’s song bore many similarities to “Here’s Us” by the German band Nekta.

At that time, the author of Nekta also sent an email to Loen Entertainment, IU’s management company, to protest the matter. However, he did not receive a response from the singer.

Regarding the reason for the accusation, the complainant stated: “Although there have been numerous accusations of plagiarism, IU has not provided any explanations, while requesting the removal of plagiarism accusation posts on social media citing ‘copyright infringement.’


Furthermore, I feel the need to speak up about the lack of general public awareness as well as the passive attitude of the judiciary in recognizing copyright infringement behaviors and assessing the extent of damages.”

“Love Wins” controversy

IU’s pre-release single “Love Wins” faced controversy in early 2024. Initially titled simply “Love Wins,” the song title drew criticism from some in the LGBTQ+ community for aligning with a well-known slogan associated with the fight for same-sex marriage rights. In response to online backlash, IU’s agency changed the title to “Love Wins All,” but the issue continued when the music video, featuring characters with disabilities, was released. The portrayal of these characters faced accusations of ableism, creating further controversy surrounding the project.

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