Singer-songwriter and actor Park Yoo-chun has conveyed regrets for having been involved in drug use scandals and for promising to retire from the Korean entertainment industry.
Channel A aired on May 11 an exclusive interview with Park where the actor opened the segment Heard Through the Grapevine by saying, “Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity like this.”
When asked about how he has been after announcing his retirement, the actor replied, “I have been spending most of my time at home with my family. I often go hiking to clear my head. I would rather go and sweat outside than just always stay at home and overthink. I don’t know if it is the best way for me or not, but I do it in the hopes that it will be.”
On a question about him reading articles of himself, the actor said, “I can’t look at them. I am scared of reading articles or television news that mention my name.”
The actor went on to share the reason behind his decision of appearing in the show, “I wanted to have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness from the public, to say that I am really sorry. I needed a lot of courage to do this, so I am worried.”
A scandal previously erupted in January 2019 about Park being placed under suspicions of injecting Philopon, a form of methamphetamine, on six occasions between September and October 2018. He was also arrested later on in April 2019 for purchasing 1.5 grams of Philopon on three occasions with his now ex-fiancé Hwang Ha-na, a socialite and granddaughter of the founder of the large conglomerate, Namyang Dairy Products.
At an emergency press conference in April 2019, Park denied all allegations of illegal drug use and went as far as pledging to retire from his career if proven otherwise. He then tested positive on a drug test by the National Forensic Service and was suspected of attempting to destroy evidence by dyeing and shaving his body hair before undergoing the test. He later retracted his previous claim of innocence and admitted to the charges filed against him. On July 2, 2019, he was sentenced to two years of probation, with ten months in prison if he violates, and a fine of 1.4 million won (approx. 1,200 USD).
Regarding the press conference, Park said, “It was an impulsive decision. I was not in the right mind to think thoroughly about the things that I should have said. I could not gauge the situation. Recalling it now, I suppose I said things out of fear. I received a lot of criticisms from past events, and I was afraid that I would go through another public scrutiny. All in all, it was my fault. I really think it would have been better if I had admitted my mistakes right away and immediately asked for forgiveness. I have deep regrets on that part, and I have no excuse to give.”
Park Yoo-chun has been staying on the low ever since the controversies and the subsequent termination of his contract with C-JeS Entertainment occurred. But the actor was put on a hot spot once again after announcing a Bangkok fan meeting in January 2020 and a photobook release in March. He faced an even harsher backlash from netizens for launching his official fansite “Blue Cielo” where fans can subscribe for a fee of 66,000 KRW (54 USD), calling it out as defiance to his earlier pledge of retirement.
To this, the actor explained, “My social media accounts, fansite, and the photobook are made possible by the people who have remained supportive of me. I have received tremendous love from my fans for 17 years, and I think this is the only way that I can repay them. Although many people would not be interested, I wanted to reach out to those who still like to know about the things that I am up to. This is my way of appreciating those people.”
On whether he has plans of going back to the industry, Park said, “The controversy is something that I have to endure for a long time. I don’t know how long it will take to change the public’s opinion or if that will ever happen. I think it would be shameless if I discuss a comeback now.”
Park Yoo-chun rose to fame for his acting debut in the KBS2 series Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010). He had a promising career, decorated with numerous recognitions from various awarding bodies such as the prestigious “Baeksang Arts Awards” and other film-honoring associations. He is one of the few actors who have scored a “grand slam” for having won trophies from the three major television channels in Korea—KBS, MBC, SBS. His last appearance in the small screen was in the 2015 SBS fantasy drama A Girl Who Sees Smells where he acted opposite actress Shin Se-kyung.
Park concluded the interview with a message to his fans, “There are people who are receiving criticisms for choosing to stay with me despite everything, so I am now determined to work hard for them.” He continued, “To sincerely apologize for my faults is all that I have been wanting to do. As a promise to myself as well, I would like to tell you that I am not going to make the same mistakes again. I will not give up and from hereinafter, I will persevere to lead an honest life.”