Every year, Korean news outlet Dispatch reveals several celebrity couples to the public. Many fans have suspected that agencies get warned in advance before idols and actors are exposed, but is it true? These two K-Pop industry professionals revealed all.
Through the course of his career, Dragon J (author of How to Become a K-Pop Star) went from K-Pop manager to girl group training manager to head of business development at a Korean entertainment company. YouTuber In Ji Woong is also a former idol trainer and currently directs K-Pop choreography.
In a “Comment Defenders” video with AYO on YouTube, Dragon J and In Ji Woong responded to a commenter who wanted to know the truth about Dispatch reveals.
Dispatch romance rumors. Do they let the idols and agency know in advance? Or it’s a bolt out of the blue?
— AYO commenter
While many have speculated that agencies are warned in advance—possibly so they can pay Dispatch to keep quiet—Dragon J reveals that’s not the case. “It’s not Dispatch if they let us know first,” he explained. “We would have stopped it if we knew,” In Ji Woong confirmed.
Dragon J went on to say that irrespective of Dispatch, agencies often don’t know about idols’ personal dating lives at all until they’re exposed because idols do their best to hide their relationships. If anything, Dragon J says the idols’ trainers would probably know the truth before the company did.
He described trainers and those who work closely with idols as being like the stars’ “older or younger siblings” compared to the agency higher-ups, who are more like a “vice principal“.
And just like vice principals, agency managers are sure to reprimand idols who ignore dating ban rules. In Ji Woong recalled a time when a trainee he was working with got caught dating and found themselves getting “scolded from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. by their agency manager.”
Ultimately, on the topic of idols dating, Dragon J says agencies are just “trying to guide” idols by enforcing dating bans. “They became an idol after dedicating their teens and they shouldn’t be buried because of dating,” he explained.