In 2016, actress Kim Min Hee first became embroiled in an infidelity scandal with film director Hong Sang Soo following the movie Right Now, Wrong Then. News reports at the time revealed that Hong, a married man, and Kim had been together since 2015—after Kim “pursued” Hong and Hong “left his wife and daughter behind” to be with Kim.
By March 2017, Hong and Kim admitted and “went public” with their adulterous relationship. Kim—whose rising career with The Handmaiden got demolished by the relationship—has been acting exclusively in Hong’s films since.
In 2019, Hong was reported to have filed for divorce to legalize his relationship with Kim. The court, however, denied the case, stating that Hong Sang Soo was the one responsible for the marriage failing and so he could not be the one to end it. The court also pointed out that Hong Sang Soo had not been diligent in healing the relationship between his wife and daughter after he caused them emotional pain with his affair with Kim.
Hong Sang Soo and his wife’s marriage is in a bad place. But Hong Sang Soo is the one mainly responsible for this downfall. The court does not allow the one responsible to file a divorce unless special exceptions. Hong Sang Soo’s case is not a special exception, and so the divorce is denied.
— Judge Kim Sang Jin
The denied divorce meant Hong remained married. From then on, Kim and Hong had been dubbed the nation’s “adulterous couple” and largely disregarded in the Korean mainstream entertainment scene. The two have generally fallen off the radar of media within Korea.
However, the two have been somewhat more active outside Korea. One of Kim’s most recent official appearances was in Berlin at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival.
After matching in black outfits on the red carpet, Hong invited Kim to give an acceptance speech when his 2022 work, The Novelist’s Film, won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize.
Then, in late November, an anonymous Korean college student posted pictures of the couple after spotting them on campus at Konkuk University, where Hong teaches film.
A sophomore at the school, the student claimed, “Kim and Hong came out of Hong’s office together.”
I saw them on campus this May. (My friend took the pictures, but I can delete them if they’re problematic.) Professor Hong’s office is on the second floor of the film department building. And the administrative office is also on the second floor, so I’m there a lot. This day, I saw the two of them come out of the professor’s office together. I was surprised to catch both of them there.
According to the sighting, Hong was hostile toward the friend who recognized the couple and took the pictures.
I froze in time because I was caught off guard. Kim Min Hee used the stairs to go down. My friend got a bit excited about the whole thing. Then, the professor noticed us and glared at us as he followed her. We weren’t interested in him at all, though. We were happy to see Kim Min Hee.
The student added Kim was driving Hong around.
Anyway, the two of them left through the lobby and took off in their car. Kim Min Hee was wearing an all black outfit that looked amazing. What baffled me, though, is that Kim Min Hee was the one driving. I heard that senior citizens are encouraged to give up their driver licenses. Is Hong Sang Soo that old? After this, I spotted them on campus from far away one more time. I haven’t seen Kim Min Hee since.
I see Professor Hong all the time, though. I see him at least twice or three times per week. He teaches here, so it makes sense. From what I’ve heard, Professor Hong is retiring this year. I don’t know if I should be happy about that or not…
Neither Hong Sang Soo nor Kim Min Hee have known schedules in Korea as of now.