The Dramatic Rise And Fall Of Controversial Actress Kim Sae Ron

The young star is only 22 years old.

When Korean actress Kim Sae Ron made her acting debut, she was just nine years old. Since then, her career seemed to be on a consistent upward rise until an incident triggered her dramatic downfall.

Kim Sae Ron | Gold Medalist

The 2009 film, A Brand New Life is where Kim Sae Ron got her start, making her first mark in the industry. The actress was actually the youngest person to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival when the film was screened.

As a child actress, she also had her first K-drama role in the series Listen To Your Heart, where she played the younger version of Hwang Jung Uem‘s character and received praise from critics.

She would continue acting in different projects through her childhood and early teens, including in the Drama City special Snowy Road, where she won awards for her portrayal of a fifteen-year-old comfort woman.


Kim Sae Ron (left) in Snowy Road.

Amid her multiple roles, the actress completed middle school, signing with YG Entertainment the same year. She continued acting through high school, starring in films and dramas like The Villagers, Leverage, and Love Playlist. 

| TV Chosun

After leaving YG Entertainment, the actress signed with Gold Medalist, taking on more roles until the event that caused her downfall.

In May 2022, Kim Sae Ron was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. According to authorities, the actress crashed into an electric transformer, which caused a power outage at 57 nearby stores, disrupting their businesses for almost five hours. It was revealed that her blood alcohol level was 0.2%, which was the level of license revocation.

The scene of the incident and the aftermath. | YTN

After this occurred, she left the cast of Trolley, and was confirmed to be working part-time at a cafe due to financial hardships.

On March 8, 2023, she made her first court appearance regarding the incident and pled for mercy from the court.

This will never happen again. I’m sorry. I regret my actions and am reflecting on them. I’ve quit drinking and sold my vehicle. I’m the breadwinner for my family, but it has been difficult for me to make ends meet. Please have mercy.

— Kim Sae Ron

| Yonhap News

The prosecution stated that because she confessed to the crime and made efforts to restore damage, she would be sentenced to a fine of ₩20.0 million KRW (about $15,200 USD). The actress even shared photos of herself working at a place called Mega Coffee to support her claims.

| @ron_sae/Instagram
| @ron_sae/Instagram

Surprisingly, Mega Coffee called Kim Sae Ron out, saying the actress never actually worked at any of their chain locations.  In another blow to her initial claims of financial difficulty, on April 4, before her sentencing, Dispatch published multiple photos of her playing poker at a pub.

After her sentencing, the star gave a conflicting and ambiguous statement, claiming that she never claimed to be struggling financially, directly opposing what her lawyer said during court.

It was true that I drove under the influence, and I was wrong for that, so I have nothing to say. I will make sure nothing like this happens again in the future. I never claimed I was struggling financially. It is true that I’m currently working part-time and that the penalty fee cost a lot.

— Kim Sae Ron

Though the case has been resolved, it seems like Kim Sae Ron will have a lot of work to do to regain public favor.


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