2016 was an eventful year for Lee Min-ho, who is who is currently captivating hearts in the K-drama, The Legend of the Blue Sea.
Last year was a mixed bag of wins and fails for the South Korean heartthrob. On one hand, the actor enjoyed his share of commercials, fan meets, movies, and K-drama. On the other, he was ousted by competition.
2016, for Lee Min-ho, started off with a gamble, literally. The actor became the brand ambassador of Seven Luck Casino, a foreigner-only casino in South Korea.
The South Korean actor was also selected as an ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to a report by K-Pop Starz.
After starring in Heirs in 2013, actor Lee Min-ho made a comeback to the small screen in the modern day mermaid fantasy The Legend of the Blue Sea. He stars alongside actress Jun Ji-hyun of My Sassy Girl fame. Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji-hyun won the Best Couple award doled out by SBS.
In March 2016, Lee Min-ho faced a fierce competition from actor Song Joong-ki, who returned to television after serving his two-year military duty. Song Joong-ki, who starred in Descendants of the Sun, was constantly compared with Lee Min-ho. According to Korea Times, Song Joong-ki became more popular than Lee Min-ho in China.
Nevertheless, an undeterred Lee Min-ho managed to grab the top spot.
In July, Lee Min-ho tasted success when his action comedy movie, Bounty Hunters, became a hit in China. Bounty Hunters is a Chinese-South Korean-Hong Kong co-production.
Fortunately for Lee Min-ho, he managed to relish the sweet taste of success before China decided to impose a ban on South Korean entertainment.
Lee Min-ho met thousands of fans in person. As part of the fan meetings last year, Lee Min-ho visited the Philippines, Japan, and Malaysia.
As a matter of fact, 2016 was also the year when Lee Min-ho celebrated a decade-long reign in the South Korean entertainment industry. Fans across the world celebrated the10th anniversary of Lee Min-ho’s debut by participating in social media campaigns, a report by Yonhap stated.
A bunch of Japanese fans paid for advertising space on Seoul subway lines to congratulate Lee Min-ho, by using commissioned buses to drive around Myeongdong, Gangnam, and Hongdae, displaying fan videos.
Fans from eight countries, including South Korea, China, and Japan, posted photos of themselves holding identical banners celebrating the Hallyu star on social media. Fans from Indonesia, India, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic also posted videos in solidarity.
Turkish fans went on a hot air balloon ride, displaying the message “10 years with Hallyu’s King Lee Min-ho.”jj Chinese fans planted 510 trees as a tribute to the actor.
Lee Min Ho was crowned the most influential actor during the “2016 Weibo Movie Night” awards ceremony last year.
He was also awarded the Asian Cinema Pioneer award.
On the personal front, Lee Min-ho was haunted by rumors of a breakup with his long-term girlfriend Bae Suzy. The couple, however, put an end to those rumors and reassured the fans that they were very much a couple. Lee Min-ho and his singer-actress girlfriend have been seeing each other since 2015.
Lee Min-ho will be enlisting for mandatory military service this year.
When asked if he is worried he will lose his stardom when he enlists in the military, Lee Min-ho said, “I am like an incomplete book. I am a work in progress. Therefore, the end is still vague. However, I think the pages that I’m writing now will last forever. It’ll be remembered definitely. So no, I’m not worried. I just feel I have to work hard to share my love with everybody,” he said, according to a report by Drama Fever.
[Featured Image by Kin Cheung/AP Images]