Behind his smile and energetic performances with his group lies a very tragic past that will make you cry.
Super Junior’s Leeteuk, one of the most known and popular Kpop idol leaders, didn’t have an easy personal life. Aside from training in one of the biggest entertainment agencies and abiding by their rules, he had suffered through a lot of family troubles. Lets talk about it.
Warning: discussions and mentions of suicide below.
Leeteuk doesn’t shy away from talking about his painful past and how it changed him and made him stronger. He also talked about his depression on multiple occasions to encourage youngsters to stay positive and keep on fighting.
His rocky story with his father has deep roots; he previously revealed that his father divorced his mother back in 1998 and lived separately from them until the day he died.
In a previous interview on MBC’s “Good Day,” he revealed that before his debut he was unhappy and wished he was born to a better family. He also revealed that his parents fought a lot as a kid and that it had caused him a lot of stress. He also added,
“I felt bitter towards my father.”
He was also disciplined a lot by his father and was afraid of him. He had beaten him up a lot as a kid and that added to his unhappiness. He added,
“I was always someone who chased happiness all the time.”
In 2014, the world of Kpop found out about a very shocking story. It was revealed that Super Junior’s Leeteuk lost his father and his grandparents all in one day.
Initially, the true circumstances of their deaths weren’t revealed but later the full story came out and it was very shocking.
The story goes that it had been a couple of years since Leeteuk’s father (who had been living with his parents since his divorce) started looking after his parents. The grandfather started to suffer from dementia, added to that, Leeteuk’s grandmother, who had been taking care of her husband, was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer and was bedridden because of her sickness.
Leeteuk’s father had been taking care of his parents but was suffering from his debt which amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars (to the public knowledge) back then.
He had attempted to do business but it failed and the house was seized due to that. He decided to put the parents in a hospital that would take care of them but before he did that, he took his own life and the lives of his parents.
The reason why Leeteuk’s father killed his parents was that he couldn’t afford to take care of them.
It was later confirmed by police to be murder-suicide; Leeteuk’s father had killed his parents and then hanged himself. Back then his grandfather was 84, his grandmother was 79 and his father was 57.
It is believed that the father had been suffering from depression ever since his business started to go wrong, despite his idol son’s success. Back then, the police found a suicide note, and portions of it were released to the public, he wrote,
“I will take my parents and go to heaven together… I am sorry to my children.”
On multiple occasions at later events, Leeteuk revealed that his father had left him a spiteful one last message before he took his own life,
“Do you truly think you achieved success all by yourself?”
To add to the terrible news, Leeteuk was serving the military back then, he revealed that even before he found out about their death, he had been battling depression.
“I was battling depression when I heard the news that my father and grandparents had passed away.”
Leeteuk revealed that the depression worsened so much that the military suggested they give him an early discharge because of his condition. However, Leeteuk insisted on completing the military service after discussing it with his label, SM Entertainment.
Leeteuk inherited his father’s debt of 5 billion won ($4.3 million). He had to sell his car and accepted every job possible in order to pay his father’s debt which meant that he slept a few hours every day (for a while).
What shows just how amazing of a human being he was, was the fact that he could have chosen not to pay the debt. He could have been freed from the responsibility of paying off the debt if he had given up the legal inheritance responsibility, which he didn’t.
Leeteuk said he wanted to do what is ethically right, in 2016, he revealed he was still working on paying his father’s debt.
“I am telling you my story to tell you that a celebrity’s life is not all that it seems, it’s not different from the others’ life.”
Super Junior‘s Leeteuk has said in a recent speech (back in May) at a local high school in the town of Kyungjoo that his depression has gotten significantly better and that he is powering through his group activities and talking to his members.
Are you surprised to hear about the tragic backstory of Leeteuk and his family?
If you or anyone you know needs help please don’t hesitate to reach out. This Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Call 1-800-273-8255 for help. Here is a list with international suicide hotlines