K-pop singer Goo Hara’s death, less than six weeks after that of her K-pop friend Sulli, highlights immense pressures faced by Korean stars
- K-pop star Goo Hara, who was found unconscious at her home six months ago, had appeared to make a recovery but was found dead at home on Sunday
- Her death shines a spotlight on the lack of mental health support in South Korea
The death of South Korean K-pop singer Goo Hara, who was found dead at her home in Seoul on Sunday, has shined a new light on the pressures female stars are facing in the cutthroat industry.
Goo, who made her K-pop debut in 2008 as a member of the girl band Kara and later launched her career as a solo artist in South Korea and Japan, said after she was taken to hospital in May that she had been “in agony over overlapping issues” and vowed to recover. She released a mini album earlier this month.
Goo took her former boyfriend to court last year, accusing him of filming her without her consent and threatening to circulate a video of the pair having sex. In August, a court found the boyfriend, hairdresser Choi Jong-bum, guilty of assault and of threatening to circulate the sex video, although not of filming without her consent. He has denied the allegations and has filed an appeal.
After Goo’s case hit the headlines, more than 275,000 people signed an online petition demanding that the presidential office implement stronger punishment for revenge-porn offenders.
Goo’s last post on Instagram, published on Saturday, was a photograph of herself in bed with the caption: “Good night.”
Last month, Sulli was found dead in her flat, with an autopsy later concluding that there was evidence that she may have committed suicide. In an Instagram live session the day after Sulli’s death, a tearful Goo spoke about her friend and pledged to work harder and live harder herself.
Both women had their private lives intensely examined in public and were the subject of hateful online comments, in an industry where female K-pop singers are not supposed to date or even live real lives but instead conform to rigid norms.
If you, or someone you know, are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255.