Lee Min Ho, America’s Favorite Korean Actor, Regrets Screen Kiss In ‘Heirs’

Lee Min Ho has proven time and again that he is not only popular in South Korea, but in the whole Asian region as well. But a recent survey conducted by the U.S. arm of the Korea Creative Content Agency reveals that the Hallyu actor has also taken the United States by storm.

The research organization recently ran a two-week online study on several K-drama streaming sites. The study aimed to uncover who the top five favorite Korean actors and actresses are for Americans. The study also aimed to discover which South Korean TV series is the most popular in the U.S.

Based on the survey, 73.5 percent of the respondents in the U.S. are females between the ages of 10 and 35. Among the genres of Korean dramas, 61.8 percent voted for romantic comedies, 11.7 percent for melodramas, and 9.9 for historical dramas. The predominantly female respondents picked Lee Min Ho as their top South Korean actor. Trailing behind him are Lee Joon Gi (Scarlet Heart Ryeo), Lee Jong Suk (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo), Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun), and Ji Chang Wook (The K2).

Lee Min Ho's onscreen kiss with Park Shin Hye was controversial
[Image by SBS Korea]

On the other hand, respondents picked Park Shin Hye of Doctors for as their favorite Korean actress. She is followed by Jealousy Incarnate’s Gong Hyo Jin. Behind the top two actresses are IU (Scarlet Heart Ryeo), Song Hye Kyo (Descendants of the Sun), and Hwang Jung Eum (Lucky Romance).

However, it looks like The Legend of the Blue Sea and Goblin fever hasn’t hit the United States yet, as respondents voted for KBS series Descendants of the Sun as the favorite K-drama of 2016. It’s probably because both popular series ended in early 2017. Following DoTS are historical dramas Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, W-Two Worlds, Cinderella and the Four Knights, and Oh My Venus.

Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye's kiss in The Heirs was controversial
Park Shin Hye [Image by Feng Li/Getty Images]

Meanwhile, the top two favorite Korean actors, Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye, starred together in the K-drama hit Heirs. Different from the usual American series, Korean dramas often build romance until it culminates in the lead characters’ first kiss. This formula, when effectively executed, often assures high ratings, as viewers invest emotions with each episode. During one such episode, Lee Min Ho was instructed to kiss the unsuspecting Park Shin Hye for real in the climax of the drama. The surprised actress showed a genuine reaction during filming, and it became one of the hottest kisses ever shown in a Korean drama.

“Since the kiss was the culmination of all the events and emotions leading up to it, there was no other alternative than to do it for real,” said Lee in his interview with Korea’s Daily Sports. “I did regret that no one told Shinhye beforehand. Usually, actresses are given an idea of what will happen. So I think Park Shinhye was caught off-guard by how it played out.”

On the other hand, Shin-hye admitted her surprise at the scene, which led her to grab Min-ho’s sleeve during the shoot. This made the scene look more intense and genuine. Lee complimented her professionalism and effort in whatever was thrown her way during the filming of Heirs.

Both actors have since moved on. Lee Min Ho is slated to fulfill his mandatory civic duties soon as a public service officer rather than the usual military service. This is due to injuries he received from a car accident during the filming of City Hunters in 2011.

Prior to fulfilling his duties and disappearing from the public eye for at least two years, Lee is slated to hold a fan meeting as a way to say thank you for his 10 successful years in show business. The event, titled “The Originality of Lee Min Ho,” will be held at the Grand Peace Hall in South Korea on February 18. The event reportedly sold 6,000 seats the day after it was announced online.

In the meantime, Park Shin Hye is gearing up for the film Silent Witness, a crime thriller where she will star as a lawyer.

[Featured Image by SBS Korea]