2019 has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride filled with ups but mostly downs for the many Kpop fandoms. Many things happened including what was labeled as the biggest controversy Kpop has ever seen since its inception.
In 2019, many groups lost members who decided to leave their groups due to various reasons, some left their groups due to controversies, others left due health or personal issues.
While writing this article, I discovered that there are close to 40 idols who left their groups in 2019. I tried my best to include all of the idols who left in 2019 but there could still be others who I missed if I did please let me know in the comment section below.
Note: this article doesn’t explain every detail as to why each idol left because that would make this article 10 pages long. I will only provide a brief explanation, usually from the agency and the member him/herself.
The two members left the group in 2019 starting with Minjung, it was announced on January 26, 2019, that she left the band.
The second member left on November 18, Marbling Entertainment announced through Busters’ official fan cafe that Minji is leaving the group. Initially, they cited her parents’ dissatisfaction with her current activities as the reason for her departure.
They also added that they had terminated her contract without any conditions.
Later, they returned with a second statement apologizing for their first statement due to drama that ensued on social media following their first statement, they revised it to explain that her departure was not due to complaints with the agency and that they had reached an amicable agreement with her parents regarding her future with the group.
B.I was forced out of his group and agency following a Dispatch report that accused B.I of purchasing drugs and using them as well as dodging police charges.
Hanbin took to Instagram to clarify what happened and to apologize.
“Hello, this is Kim Han Bin.
First of all, I would like to apologize for the inconvenience I caused to the public by my inappropriate actions.
It is true that I once wanted to rely on things when I was deeply struggling that I should not even had an interest in. But even then, I was also scared and terrified and ended up not taking part in it.
Nevertheless, I am so embarrassed and sorry for the fans and members who are greatly disappointed and hurt because of my wrong speech.
I want to leave my team and humbly reflect on my mistakes.
I once again bow my head in apology for my fans and members. I am Sorry.”
Following his apology, his agency, YG Entertainment released an official statement to the press confirming that he has indeed left iKON, they also announced that he has terminated his contract.
“Hello, this is YG Entertainment.
We’d like to apologize to everyone who was disappointed with the problem of Kim Han Bin, a YG artist.
Kim Han Bin feels heavy responsibility for the problems he caused by his actions, and we are also taking it seriously. It has been decided that he will withdraw from his team and terminate his contract.
YG is aware that we need to maintain management responsibility for our artists.
Once again, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
Seungri was involved in various controversies in 2019, some of which he’s been cleared off while others he continues to be investigated for as of this writing.
On March 11, he took to Instagram to announce his retirement from the entertainment industry for good following various reports about his involvement with Jung Joon Young kakaotalk controversy and allegedly providing escort services as well. He was also suspected of many other crimes after he announced his retirement.
“This is Seungri.
I think it would be good for me to retire from the entertainment industry at this point.
I have decided to retire from the entertainment industry since the issues that I caused had social controversy became too major. Regarding the investigation, I will sincerely be investigated in the matter to reveal all the suspicions.
In the past month and a half, I have been criticized and hated by the people, and now all the domestic investigative agencies are investigating me, and I am being corner by the people as a traitor of the nation. I cannot tolerate causing harm to everyone around me to save myself.
I would like to sincerely thank all of the fans in Korea and abroad for their love for the last 10 years. For the sake [to protect] of YG and BIGBANG this is where I stop.
Again, I would like to sincerely apologize.
I have been grateful to you until now.”
Later, YG Entertainment released an official statement confirming his departure from BIGBANG and the agency.
“Hello, this is YG Entertainment.
We would like to bow our heads in apology for the various suspicions and controversies that have continuously risen, starting with the assault case at the club Seungri participated in.
We’d like to express our deep apologies for causing trouble to many people including fans.
Following the announcement of Seungri’s retirement on March 12, YG agreed to terminate his exclusive contract upon his request.
As an artist management company, we admit that we haven’t been managing more thoroughly, and we’re deeply reflecting.
Lastly, YG recognizes the need for massive improvement within the company internal management, we promise to do our best with all of our employees.”
On October 23, The Boyz agency released an official statement announcing the departure of Hwall from the group.
The agency explained,
“Due to his ankle pain and poor health condition, member Hwall temporarily halted activities and album promotions to focus on recovery. Along with this, we had in-depth discussions with Hwall and his family regarding his future activities and abilities to promote.”
The agency also explained that Hwall expressed his intentions to suspend his activities due to health and mental reasons; The Boyz and the agency decided to respect his decision and thus he has officially left the group. The agency apologized for having to deliver such upsetting news to fans.
We In The Zone agency announced the departure of member Min On October 23 ahead of the group’s first official comeback since their debut.
They explained that ‘personal circumstances’ were the reason behind Min withdrawal from the group and added that his contract officially ended on October 22. They apologized to fans in their statement as well.
We In The Zone debuted in May of 2019.
ONF Laun agency, WM Entertainment, released a statement regarding his departure from the group on August 23.
In their statement, they explained that they had come to an agreement to half Laun’s activities in the entertainment industry due to personal reasons, thus his contract was terminated and he left ONF
On October 8, Nature agency, N.CH Entertainment announced Gaga’s departure from girl group Nature, the decision was made for Gaga to focus on her studies in her hometown in China.
They later added the former “Produce 101” contestant and I.B.I member Kim So Hee to the group.
On September 6, iMe KOREA announced that Hanbyeol And Habin would be wrapping up their activities with DreamNote due to “personal reasons.”
Habin had been resting following her ankle injury but continued to experience serious pains in her ankle, the agency determined that she could no longer participate until she made a full recovery, she decided to leave to concentrate on that.
The agency then explained that Hanbyeol had decided to wrap up her activities with the company following many discussions with the agency and her family, she returned to her daily life to take a break.
On September 5, MMO Entertainment announced the news through their social media account. They explained that Kim Sunghyun will leave IN2IT due to personal reasons.
However, that wasn’t the end of it, there is currently drama going on between the agency and Kim Sunghyun. He issued a statement calling out the agency for a variety of reasons such as unfair treatment and not paying them any money for their activities.
The agency denied those allegations and stated they would be taking strong legal action against him and explain the facts if necessary.
Back in March of 2019, it was reported that Lee Jonghyun was among the idols who engaged in the kakaotalk messages with Jung Joon Young discussing women with degrading language, he admitted to receiving illegally taken footage of women in a chatroom with Jung Joon Young. The way he discussed women with Jung Joon Young evoked great criticism.
Back then, FNC released a statement stating that he acknowledges his mistake and is currently reflecting. FNC initially refused to let go of him despite the heavy backlash they faced for the way they dealt with the situation.
Netizens became convinced he wasn’t repenting after YouTuber Park Min Jung exposed a DM he sent to her a couple of months after his controversy, the DM contained a creepy message, later, it appears that he deleted his Instagram account following that severe backlash.
Following the DM controversy over what he sent to a popular YouTuber on August 28, he announced to the world that he’s leaving his group in an official statement conveyed through his agency FNC Entertainment.
Here is the translated statement:
“Hello. This is Lee Jong Hyun.
I would like to apologize once again to the people who were hurt by my inappropriate words and actions and to all the people I’ve greatly disappointed.
Although it’s late, I am informing you that I am leaving CNBUE. I feel sorry for causing harm to the members. And I have told the members that I am leaving. I am ashamed to have disappointed the fans who believed in me.
It took me a while to express my opinion and make an announcement because everyone, including me, was in the military. I am sorry and grateful for the company who waited.
I feel great regret over my wrongdoings and I am willing to accept criticism from many people. I am sorry for causing trouble over a shameful matter.”
On March 14, Jonghyun’s agency FNC Entertainment announced in an official statement that he will be leaving the group and the entertainment industry following severe backlash for his involvement in Jung Joon Young controversy plus other accusations.
He had been involved in the huge controversy and accused of being a member of Seungri and Jung Joon Young’s group chatroom. His agency firmly denied the allegations and threatened strict legal action against the spreading of defamatory false rumors, reports, and comments at first.
Following severe backlash and continuous accusatory reports, FNC Entertainment announced the departure of Choi Jong Hoon from his group and the entire entertainment industry. In their full statement, they make it clear that they didn’t intend to cover up or conceal facts on the serious matter. They wrote,
“Earlier, based on mutual trust, we checked with him on what he remembered regarding the past incidents before releasing the statements. We apologize for the confusion caused by the inaccurate announcements during this process.
Choi Jong Hoon apologizes for his inappropriate and shameful remarks in the past, he is deeply reflecting on the disappointment he has given to many fans and the members of his group.
We sincerely apologize for our negligence in managing our artists and failing to properly teach proper character to our artists, and for the inconvenience, we have caused many people.”
FNC also promises to guide him through the end towards living as an upright member of society.”
But that wasn’t the only member FTISLAND lost in 2019, Song Seung Hyun also left.
FNC Entertainment has released two statements on December 24 with the first being an announcement about the contract renewals of FTISLAND members.
“Hello, this is FNC Entertainment.
We have recently re-signed our contracts with Lee Hong Ki, Lee Jae Jin, and Choi Min Hwan of FTISLAND.
Regarding the future direction of the group, it will be discussed after all the members complete their military enlistment. We will do our best to support FTISLAND members so they can continue with their music activities and expand in different fields that bring out their individual strengths.”
They also explained that member Song Seung Hyun has decided to end his activities with the group upon his exclusive contract expiration, it will end on December 31st. He has decided to leave the group and the agency. FNC stated that Song Seung Hyun plans on concentrating on acting following the end of his contract.
“We have come to this decision after long and deep discussions not only with the agency but with other members as well.”
They asked for fans to give their warm support to Song Seung Hyun as he embarks on a new journey. Song Seung Hyun released a statement of his own later explaining his decision, he says he felt pressure and became exhausted due to all the things that happened to their group in 2019, read the full post here.
On June 3, Label SJ announced that the group would be making a comeback with the exception of Kangin and Sungmin. Back then, the label didn’t clarify if they were kicked out of the group and that didn’t sit well with Korean ELF.
In response, fans have released an official statement announcing the boycott of the entire group until Kangin and Sungmin get kicked out. They stated,
“We demand Kangin and Sungmin departure.”
On July 11, Kangin posted a black photo with a long caption, in it, he explained to fans that he’s leaving the group.
“As its not good news, my heart feels heavy, but I am posting it after much deliberation.
I am now letting go of the name ‘Super Junior’ that has been with me for a long time.
I always felt sorry for the members.”
“I always thought that it would be right of me to make this decision sooner than later, but thinking of the people who support me unconditionally and our agency family troubled my heart, so I couldn’t find the courage to do that easily.
I thought I couldn’t make this decision alone
But I decided that I should not delay it anymore after I watched my members go through things they shouldn’t have to because of my problems.
More than anything, I feel the most apologetic to E.L.F. who always gave me love for the past 14 years.”
He also explained that even though he’s late, he will let go of his group and will always feel sorry and feel gratitude as he walks down a new path. He also said that he’ll always wish Super Junior the best.
Kangin debuted as part of Super Junior back in 2005. He’s the third member to leave his group.
On June 6, DIA’s agency revealed through an official statement to the press that Jenny has left the group due to her health problems, she has issues with her knees and it’s not getting any better.
Through their official statement to the group’s fancafe, the agency explains that Jenny has been diagnosed with osteomalacia and had to, unfortunately, withdraw from her group’s activities.
MBK elaborated further that they have been doing their best for Jenny’s health and that she’s gotten better but is still not well enough to continue her activaities with DIA. They also apologized to fans for delivering such unfortunate news.
Jenny then later shared a post to fans apologizing for her departure from the group. She thanked fans for the love they’ve given her and expressed her gratitude for having been a part of DIA.
DIA had previously lost two members, the group leader Seunghee, and Eunjin.
On July 13, S.I.S agency officially confirmed that the group would carry on performing as a 4-member group without J-Sun or Dal.
J-Sun had decided not to renew her contract, she will be focusing on her studies, while Dal went on hiatus. J-Sun expressed her gratitude towards her agency and explained to fans that she ultimately decided to focus on her studies.
24K takes the cake as the group who lost the most members lost in 2019.
24k agency explained the reason for each member departure in statements to the press. After discussions with Cory, they decided it would be best if he discontinued his promotions with 24k to focus on being a full-time producer.
On June 26, they also revealed that Jinhong will not be renewing his contract with them. Hongseob will stop promoting due to health issues, and Jeonguk has chosen to concentrate on his solo work.
On June 27, Kisu personally announced that he would also leave the group.
On May 13, FNC Entertainment announced the departure of Mina from their girl group AOA.
Mina has decided not to renew her contract and leave AOA. In their official statement, FNC Entertainment also confirms the rest of AOA members have re-signed with the label and will continue their activities as a group and individually.
They also explained they decided to respect Mina’s choice as she decided to lead on a different path.
On the same day, it was also reported that the former AOA member ChoA has also left FNC Entertainment.
On May 27, 2019, Taeha personally announced her departure from Berry Good. She was the leader of her group. She explained on Instagram that her contract with her agency JTG Entertainment has come to an end. She thanked her fans for all the love and support they had always shown her. The news of Taeha’s departure came just two days after the group made their comeback with their new mini-album “Fantastic.”
On May 16, U-KISS agnecy announced that their exclusive contract with Eli and Kiseop had expired and their exclusive contracts with the Japanese agency Avex have also expired. After many discussions with the agency, they decided to part ways.
The agency expressed their gratitude towards the fans who have always given love and support to U-KISS.
Eli debuted as an original member of U-KISS in 2008, while Kiseop joined the group in 2009. Following the announcement, both of them wrote letters to their fans.
Junhyung is another idol who got involved in the infamous Jung Joon Young controversy.
On March 14, both Junhyung and his agency Around Us Entertainment announced their official positions admitting that Junhyung knew about the hidden camera footage, the agency and Junhyung both announced his departure from the group.
After the initial reports who named him, his agency firmly denied the allegations that he had anything knowledge of the hidden camera footage and clarified he wasn’t a part of any chatroom group. His agency later released a statement to the press apologizing for their previous statement.
Junhyung personally admitted to viewing the illegally filmed hidden camera footage and had even exchanged inappropriate remarks about the footage with Jung Joon Young.
In their statement, the agency explains that he attended questioning as a witness on March 13 regarding the ongoing investigation. The agency added that they learned of the fact thought police questioning and after learning of the severity of the issue they explained that Junhyung participated in the questioning diligently.
The agency then stated,
“He is deeply apologetic towards fans of highlight and the members for breaking their trust; he knows the incident is not one that can be forgiven.
In order to take responsibility for his actions and prevent further damage to the group and its image (secondary damage), Junhyung will leave Highlight as of March 14, 2019.”
In his personal statement, he clarified,
“I have never committed a criminal act such as taking pictures or spreading them. In addition, starting from the end of 2016, I have only kept a relationship with Jung Joon Young in such a way that I only greeted him every once and a while.
However, although I knew what was happening during that time, I thought it wasn’t a big deal and acted at ease. I was acquiescent to this serious matter and my actions may have led to more victims suffering.
I realize the seriousness of this issue and I don’t want to inflict any further damage to my fans and members who have been disappointed by me.”
On October 28, JYP Entertainment released an official statement to the company’s official website; in their statement, they announced that Woojin had left Stray Kids and that they had also terminated his contract.
Here the translated statement:
“Hello, this is JYP Entertainment.
Woojin, who has been a part of Stray Kids until this time, has left the group due to personal reasons and we terminated his exclusive contract.
We would like to express apologies for causing troubles to fans with the sudden news.
As a result, Stray Kids’ mini album “Clé : LEVANTER,” which was scheduled to be released on November 25, will be delayed to December 9.
We would like to, once again, express apologies to the fans who have been waiting for a long time.
We ask you to support Woojin who will embark on a new path, and we ask for the warm support of STAY for the eight remaining members who will go on the road towards their dreams with their compass.
Wonho was involved in many controversies which led to his departure from the group and the agency. A former TV personality accused him of not paying back his debt, and Han Seo Hee (known for being involved with YG artists) added fuel to the fire by claiming he had run-ins with the law.
Starship Entertainment had issued a statement initially denying the news before announcing their plans to take strict legal action against the spreading of malicious rumors. Later, they returned with a statement announcing Wonho’ departure from the group.
Wonho later posted this letter to his fans,
First of all, I’d like to apologize for not keeping my promise to always make good times for our fans and for hurting you. Also, I am sorry to have caused concern to many people with my personal affairs.
While I was a member of MONSTA X, I was blessed and loved. Thank you very much for making such a precious memory for me. To the members who have worked hard with me, I also want to say thank you and that I love you. I’m so sorry [I would like to show my apologetic heart].
I had a time when I was immature and there were mistakes, big and small, but after I became a trainee and made my debut, I tried hard not to be ashamed of myself; I stayed on track and worked hard.
I’d like to tell you that I’m leaving Monsta X today.
I’m sorry to have caused damage to the members due to the unfortunate circumstances associated with me, and most of all, I’m sorry to have disappointed the fans who trusted and believed in me. I made this decision because I couldn’t watch people having a hard time because of me.
He also asked fans to Please support MONSTA X.
The Members have nothing to do with me.”
On November 30 KST, MLD Entertainment posted an official notice to the group’s official fan café in both English and Korean announcing the departure of Taeha and Yeonwoo from MOMOLAND.
“We would like to make a statement regarding our performers, MOMOLAND, who are reorganized as a six-member team.
Taeha and Yeonwoo, who have been with MOMOLAND as a part of the team, are about to make a new start by leaving the team today.
Both Taeha and Yeonwoo have thought deeply about their career path for a long time and upon having enough time for their thoughts, have had much conversation with the company.
First of all, following careful consideration and respecting her own opinion as a top priority, Taeha is going to make a new start at a new place with her exclusive contract terminated. Thus, the company will fully support and encourage her new start as much as possible.
While Yeonwoo has had deep affection for her MOMOLAND activities, she has decided that continuing together with her actress activities would be too much strain for both her team and herself so to leave the team and concentrate on her career as our actress [under MLD Entertainment].
Finally, regarding Daisy, since we are still going through a mutual discussion we will inform you as soon as we reach an agreement.
This decision was carefully made after much conversation and discussion between the performers and the company, so we would like to request you to restrain from making unnecessary speculations and causing misunderstandings.
We would like to ask you for warm encouragement and support for all the members who would go on their new path from now on.
From executives and staff members of MLD Entertainment.”
On April 24, C-Jes official released a statement announcing Park Yoochun is retiring from the entertainment industry following drug allegations against him at the time which meant that he left JYJ as well, the group he had been a part of since 2010 following their lawsuit against SM, he used to be part of SM’s TVXQ who debuted in late 2003.
Here is C-Jes official statement:
“Hello, this is C-JeS Entertainment.
We were watching the investigation, believing in Park’s innocence, and we found out in an article yesterday that the results of the National Forensic Service’s examination were positive.
We believed in the statement of Park Yoochun, our artist, and waited for the results of the investigation, but now we’re devastated to see the results. The company decided that we can no longer be able to regain trust with Park Yoochun and decided to terminate his contract.
Park Yoochun will retire from the entertainment industry as he has told you at the press conference, and will cancel further schedule in the future and will follow the decision of the court.
We are aware of the seriousness and responsibility of this issue and will do our best to thoroughly manage and improve our measures to prevent this from happening again.
We bow our head in apology for causing worry with such an unfortunate event.”
Which idol’s departure on this list shocked you the most?