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K-pop star ends relationship weeks after it sparked a fan backlash


After apologizing last month fora new relationship that angered some particularly animated fans, K-pop star Karina is once again single – highlighting the long-standing challenges of dating in the fervid fanspace of Korean entertainment.

Karina, of the girl group Aespa, and actor Lee Jae-wook have broken up after going public five weeks ago, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing statements from the pair’s respective representatives.

Lee’s agency, C-JeS Studios, said he had ended the relationship to focus on work, “leaving them as colleagues who support each other,” Yonhap reported.

The agencies had confirmed their relationship in late February – a rare instance of K-pop singers publicly dating in an industry where stars, known as idols, face heavy scrutiny and pressure from some fans.

Karina came under fire after the news broke – with some fans sending a truck with an electronic billboard to the headquarters of Karina’s agency, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper. “Do you not get enough love from your fans?” it read. “Why did you choose to betray your fans?”

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — December 15: Karina of aespa of Xdinary Heroes attend Music Bank Global Festival 2023 at KBS Wedding Hall in Yeongdeungpo-gu on December 15, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images)

Related article Pop star apologizes to fans after relationship reveal sparks backlash

“Please apologize directly. Otherwise, you’ll see declining album sales and empty concert seats,” it added.

Shortly after, Karina did so with a handwritten letter posted on Instagram, apologizing to her supporters and vowing to “show more maturity and work harder going forward to all (my fans) without