Is Kim Sae-ron cancelled? 5 scandals the K-drama child star faces: drink driving, swearing and claims she only quit Dear. M because Park Hye-soo and NCT’s Jaehyun were credited above her

Kim Sae-ron rose to fame as a child star in Korean entertainment, but has grown up to become a subject of controversy for multiple scandals. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram
If you’re a K-drama fan, then you probably know Kim Sae-ron, the 21-year-old actress who started out as a child star. However, you might know about her for all the wrong reasons.
While most popular child actresses like Kim So-hyun and Kim Yoo-jung have maintained the kind of squeaky clean image generally demanded of Korean stars, Kim Sae-ron has often found her career set back by controversy – from a recent drink driving incident to previous brushes with booze.

The first alcohol controversy

Kim Sae-ron has faced numerous controversies since she came into the limelight as a child star. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram

In 2014, when the actress was only 13, a photo of Kim hanging out with some friends was uploaded to an online forum. The problem? The snap apparently showed a bottle of wine, while another photo also contained cigarettes. Naturally, people were critical because she was still a minor. She later explained that she had just attended a family party with some friends and didn’t engage in any drinking or smoking, per Kbizoom.

Kim Sae-ron’s first major controversy came out when she was only 13. Photo: @yourop1/Facebook

Rather than silently sucking up the hate, a deeply frustrated Kim demanded an apology from the press when the controversy got out of hand. Though people were critical, in the end she escaped this scandal mostly unscathed.

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Re-gifting fan gifts?

The actress was suspected of re-gifting presents from pans. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram

When a popular Kim Sae-ron fan website called Ronday announced its closure via Twitter in 2018, it raised the question of – why?

Kim Sae-ron’s fanpage was shut down by its creators. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram

Although closing fan webpages is common, this one was a special case ridden in speculation. Announced the closure, the founders said that they hoped the actress wouldn’t take gifts from fans lightly and to be grateful, “I hope in 2018, you are the Kim Sae-ron loved by even more people.”


While the announcement wasn’t aggressive, people started to wonder if the actress had re-gifted or thrown away fan gifts. Though there was no concrete evidence, many fans were so disappointed they imagined the page’s founder had been wronged in some way which led to its closure.

Dear. M controversy

Kim Sae-Ron attends the Love Playlist season four premiere in June, 2019, in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Getty Images

Kim Sae-ron was originally supposed to lead the current hit K-drama Dear. M, and was even confirmed for the cast list back in 2020. The gig didn’t come through though as her agency announced she had left the line-up due to a “difference in opinion”.

Allegedly, the conflict occurred because the production team listed her name in the cast list after her two co-stars, Park Hye-soo and NCT’s Jaehyun, reports Soompi. The order of listed cast members is reportedly a sensitive matter in the Korean entertainment industry, with most teams listing their stars in order of most to least experience; Kim would be the most experienced since she debuted in 2009, but her name wasn’t first.

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Kim Sae-ron’s debut movie, A Brand New Life, 2009. Photo: Now Films, Gloria Films

Though her agency and the Dear. M production team denied this and said Sae-ron left for other reasons, many were unimpressed with her supposed haughty attitude.

The swearing incident

A clip that initially seemed harmless was turned into fodder for hate for Kim Sae-ron. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram

While it’s not such a taboo to swear in most English-speaking countries nowadays, using foul language in Korean is considered extremely rude, and when celebrities are caught swearing, the response is typically overwhelmingly negative. Despite this, when Kim was filmed swearing on a TV show in 2020 because of her struggle to catch a fish, her castmates and viewers all found it funny and even relatable.

However, this response quickly changed after her drink driving incident. Netizens criticised her for swearing in front of her elders, and asked her to “re-evaluate” her character.

That drink driving incident

Kim Sae-ron has been dropped from multiple projects for her DUI controversy. Photo: @ron_sae/Instagram
And now, finally, to the controversy that has reset Kim’s career once again: DUI. Drink driving is a serious issue everywhere and Korea is no exception. If a celebrity gets caught drink driving though, it can destroy their entire career; idols have even dropped out of groups because of these scandals, and it’s obvious Kim’s career has taken its hardest hit with this as well.

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CCTV footage shows an SUV believed to belong to Kim Sae-ron driving erratically in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, released by YTN. Photo: YTN

On May 18, the actress was pulled over by police after crashing into an electric transformer, which led to around 50 places nearby temporarily losing electricity.


She quickly shared an apology (with a handwritten letter, of course) and committed to pay any damages. Her blood alcohol level was reported to be 0.2 per cent, which is enough for her license to be revoked. Unsurprisingly, this caused a massive stir in Korea, where the actress was relentlessly criticised for her irresponsible behaviour, also leading to her being dropped from projects such as the upcoming drama Trolley and Netflix series Hunting Dogs.

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  • She made her debut in 2009 with A Brand New Life, but it’s not been smooth sailing for the now 21-year-old, who’s often the topic of controversy in Korea
  • Her drink-driving incident in May caused 50 places in Seoul to lose electricity, and resulted in her losing jobs with SBS’ Trolley and Netflix’s Hunting Dogs