Friends To Lovers: IU And Lee Jong Suk’s Love Story

Their relationship is straight out of a K-Drama.

IU and Lee Jong Suk‘s relationship has captured the hearts of netizens, as their story has been nothing short of a K-Drama-worthy romance. Although the two were announced as Dispatch‘s 2023 New Year’s Couple, their relationship goes back to when they first met in 2012.

IU | @dlwlrma/Instagram
Lee Jong Suk | @jongsuk0206/Instagram

In 2012 IU and Lee Jong Suk became co-MCs for SBS‘s weekly music broadcast Inkigayo.


Although Lee Jong Suk has shared that the two didn’t interact much outside of the show, their friendship grew when Lee Jong Suk left his MC position to focus on acting.

In a letter revealing their relationship in 2023, Lee Jong Suk explained that when they first met “it grew into something like a crush.”

We met for the first time when we were in our mid-20s. For me, it grew into something like a crush. There was something big there, and at times, I was bummed that it didn’t go anywhere. For a long time, we remained friends. But now, we’re finally together.

— Lee Jong Suk’s letter in 2023

The two maintained a close friendship throughout the years as Lee Jong Suk continually publicly supported IU. In 2017, Lee Jong Suk attended IU’s Palette concert in Seoul.

IU at her Palette concert | 1theK/YouTube 
| 1theK/YouTube 

And in 2022, Lee Jong Suk mentioned IU’s song “Winter Sleep” as one of the songs he enjoys listening to in an interview with ELLE KOREA.


He also attended IU’s The Golden Hour concert in 2022.

And fans noticed that the actor thanked someone special after receiving the Best Drama and Best Couple awards at the 2022 MBC Drama Awards along with Girls’ Generation‘s YoonA for Big Mouth. Netizens instantly became curious about the mysterious person who was so helpful to him but not named in his speech.

I was very plagued by fear, worries, and other problems after I finished my military service. Back then, there was someone who helped me move in a good direction and gave me positivity, as a human. I want to talk about this person using this chance. I’m always thankful that the person is amazing and I want to say that I’ve liked and respected this person for a long time. When I see this person, I always think that I should have lived better, that I should have been a better person. I also end up reflecting that I should have done better in the past. I will work harder to become a better person in the future. I think that I can use this huge award as a motivation for that for a long time moving forward. I’ll be a hardworking and good actor.

— Lee Jong Suk

IU has also shown her support for Lee Jong Suk, having sung at his brother’s wedding in 2022.

IU singing at Lee Jong Suk’s wedding | @kdramatreats/Twitter

After confirmation of the couple, fans noticed just how close the two seemed at the wedding, finding their interactions only more endearing.

After their relationship was confirmed, netizens noticed how IU’s bodyguard seemingly noticed the recording, causing the couple to change their attitude | @leejongsukfiles/Twitter  

Then Dispatch exposed the couple as their New Year’s 2023 couple, which both celebrities’ agencies quickly confirmed.

Lee Jong Suk and IU with couple items

IU and Lee Jong Suk then confirmed their relationship a day later, on January 1, 2023, in heartfelt letters.

Also, I’m sure that I’ve surprised you all with the articles that came out as of late… And I wanted to tell you a bit more about her.

We met for the first time when we were in our mid-20s. For me, it grew into something like a crush. There was something big there, and at times, I was bummed that it didn’t go anywhere. For a long time, we remained friends. But now, we’re finally together.

Hmm… I wish I could explain this better.

How should I word this…? I was moving on with my life, doing my own thing. But there was always a part of my heart that belonged to her.* She was weird like that. I think you would all understand it if I put it this way; She was like Kang Dan I to me.

As friends, we were there for each other when we needed a bit of direction in our lives. We bickered over the troubles that our lives threw our way. I was able to rely on her. Though younger than I am, she felt like a noona sometimes. She was so mature, but at the same time, she made me want to protect her.

All in all, she’s such a wonderful person. And now, she makes me want to become a better man.

— An excerpt from Lee Jong Suk’s letter

Those of you who saw the article today will know, but I am in a relationship. I was very careful because I think UAENA would have been very surprised when you always worry about me and are curious about how I am, but… yes… this is what happened!

I am developing good feelings for a person who has been a colleague for a long time and we have been relying on each other.

Thankfully, he has been supporting me for a long time. He has always told me ‘you’re cool, so cool’. He is a reliable and cute person who gives me sincere encouragement.

Since UAENA always are the ones who have the most eyes on me, I’m sure you have felt that these days, I am in a good emotional condition and having a good time. At the same time, one of the other reasons why I have felt this way is that I am more proud and passionate about my work recently. I think it is also because I have a good friend who has been around me for a long time complimenting me in a closer place now.

Since you have all found out, we’ll meet quietly so that we don’t worry our fans…!

I’m sorry for the surprise, but I feel even more sorry and thankful to our UAENA who were asking me about this and congratulating me first.

— An excerpt from IU’s letter

Most recently, Lee Jong Suk was featured on the cover of Esquire Korea‘s March 2023 edition, where he opened up further about his relationship with IU, leaving both netizens and the interviewer swooning with his “really touching” comments.

It might sound corny to say that her existence gave me the will and strength. But it’s not just me but many people that have received consolation from her music and lyrics.

The only difference is that I received consolation through conversation. But more than that, we have been friends for a long time, and I think she is the funniest person in this world. As I said previously, I received much consolation from her through my challenges after entering my thirties.

— Lee Jong Suk

You can read more about the couple’s K-Drama-like relationship here.

Who Is “Kang Dan I” In Lee Jong Suk’s Letter About IU? K-Drama Fans Explain The Character’s Significance


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