Renowned musical actress and former girl group member Ock Joohyun recently confessed that she once had extreme thoughts due to the pressures of her career.
On December 26, Ock Joohyun appeared as a guest on Channel A‘s Dr. Oh’s Golden Clinic, a show where child psychiatrist Oh Eun Young listens to the concerns of celebrities and counsels them.
In the episode, Ock Joohyun confessed that she had suffered significant and “unhealable” wounds in her heart due to years of hate comments since her debut. Ock Joohyun debuted in 1988 as part of the four-membered girl group Fin.K.L as the main vocalist.
After being recognized as a powerful vocalist through her girl group years, Ock Joohyun eventually transitioned into being a musical actress. However, she received a lot of criticism after entering the world of musicals.
I received a lot of criticism. Starting from my time being in a girl group to my transition to musicals, of course, the standards are different. Looking at it now, it’s inevitable. But when I read a review, I thought about how I shouldn’t go on stage the next day.
— Ock Joohyun
The singer continued that she felt like she was “being a nuisance” by continuing her musical career after seeing such hate comments. She thought, “Was it my own greed?” and admitted that she started feeling smaller and smaller.
Ock Joohyun then revealed that during her musical activities, news about her personal life would be blasted online. As many people were unable to separate the singer’s professional and personal life, she was overwhelmed and even thought extreme thoughts.
When I first started doing musicals, there were many personal events, such as my business failure and debt, that couldn’t be separated from my musical activities. Because these two couldn’t be separated, and because I felt so tormented, I thought, ‘Should I just die?’ This was painful and that was painful, so I thought I should just die. But my thoughts said, ‘Should I die?’ my actions couldn’t follow it.
— Ock Joohyun
Due to her father passing away at a young age and being a teenage K-Pop star, she had an abnormal adolescent life and had to mature early. Therefore, her puberty came late, and she had these extreme thoughts because her home life and on-stage life were both like “hell.”
However, Ock Joohyun shared that if she couldn’t end her life, she could be realistic and “at least pay off [her] debt.” Therefore, she started to put pressure on herself to work hard to make money and be good at her job. She became so meticulous about her career that if she had an exceptionally good or bad performance, she would write everything she did and ate that day to keep a log of her physical condition.
In addition, Ock Joohyun revealed that she experienced panic attacks after a traumatic incident on stage, which led her to consistently be anxious about her future performances.
In response, Oh Eun Young analyzed that Ock Joohyun knows herself well so well and does whatever she does to make herself a better person. She then gave a piece of advice on anxiety—that not all anxiety is bad and that it is not something to be afraid of.
As people who are fueled by the love and support you receive, you have the responsibility to deliver the best performance and best content to them. Therefore, it’s natural to feel a bit nervous in such situations and strive to do our best. Ultimately, what we call tension is a kind of anxiety, and anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. Anxiety should exist appropriately to prepare for the future, protect oneself, and move forward. When anxiety is high, it’s important to lower it to a level where we can handle it comfortably. Instead of fearing anxiety itself, consider lowering it to a manageable level. By doing so, you can use this appropriate level of anxiety as nourishment to protect what is valuable to you, prepare yourself, and continue to improve. Through accumulating successful experiences, you will become much more comfortable and at ease.
— Oh Eun Young
After her Fin.K.L activities, Ock Joohyun pursued a solo career and worked as a radio DJ before transitioning to a musical actress in 2005. She has been actively involved in musicals, playing Elphaba in Wicked, Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca, Mata Hari in Mata Hari, and more.