4 K-pop BFFs to know: BTS’ Jimin, Exo’s Kai and Shinee’s Taemin are all part of ‘the Padding Squad’ while Blackpink’s Jennie is friends with Red Velvet’s Irene, and Lisa is tight with Bambam

Super Junior’s Heechul and Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, former Got7 member Bambam and Blackpink’s Lisa, and Jennie and Red Velvet’s Irene. Photos: @SMTown_SNSD; @soompi; @Baejoohyunews/Twitter ·

A K-pop fan’s favourite thing – besides cheering for their groups of choice, of course – might be watching idols develop strong connections with each other. Some fans even create the kind of “relationship names” usually reserved for A-list couples – typically portmanteaus of their two favourite idols’ names, such as “Chaelisa” for Blackpink’s Rosé and Lisa, or “Taeny” for Girl’s Generation’s Taeyeon and Tiffany.

Friendships between members of different groups might be a rarer occurrence, but they still happen, and here are four you might not know about.

Blackpink’s Jennie and Red Velvet’s Irene

Blackpink’s Jennie and Red Velvet’s Irene enjoy an intimate moment. Photo: @NAJENRENE/Twitter
According to Irene on an episode of JTBC’s Idol Room, her friendship with Jennie began in an unlikely place: a hair salon. Jennie was the first to start up a conversation by approaching Irene and calling her unnie (Korean for “big sister”), and their friendship has grown ever since.

Aside from chatting at awards shows and tagging each other on social media, the pair frequently eat out together, and were even spotted by fans at an LA restaurant where they were photographed reaching for the bill at the same time, presumably both insisting it was their turn to pay.

Bambam and Blackpink’s Lisa

Got7’s Bambam and Blackpink’s Lisa for AIS 5G. Photo: @KDramaStars/Twitter
Jennie isn’t the only Blackpink member with close ties outside her group – Lisa has known former Got7 member Bambam since childhood, and the two have always been close. They now work together as ambassadors for Thai telecommunications brand AIS.

The Padding Squad

“The Padding Squad”, or the “Padding Friends”, is a group of K-pop idols composed of Wanna One and Hotshot’s Sungwoon, Shinee’s Taemin, Exo’s Kai, BTS’ Jimin, Vixx’s Ravi and Hotshot’s Timoteo. During an appearance on Weekly Idol, Sungwoon explained that the group originally started with only Timoteo, Taemin and Kai, but began to grow as they started inviting other close friends to join their activities.

Sungwoon also shared that they often spend time eating out and playing billiards and card games. The group has gotten so close that Taemin even bought them all matching padded coats featuring a special design representing them – hence their group’s nickname.

Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Super Junior’s Heechul

Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Super Junior’s Heechul. Photo: @taeyeon_ss/Instagram

Both SM Entertainment idols, Taeyeon and Heechul have been close since the beginning of their careers. On the variety show Fun Game, Heechul shared that Taeyeon is the friend he calls whenever he’s having a hard time.

More recently, the two had an open conversation about their lives on Petionista Taengoo where they talked about the difficulties of being an idol. They even discussed Heechul’s relationship with Twice’s Momo.

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K-pop idols
  • K-pop fans love seeing close connections between their favourites, even creating relationship names like ‘Taeny’ for Girl’s Generation’s Taeyeon and Tiffany
  • Super Junior’s Heechul and Taeyeon had a heart to heart on the variety show Fun Game, even discussing Heechul’s relationship with Twice’s Momo