IU and Lee Jong-suk’s relationship: A complete timeline
Just like a romantic K-drama, IU and Lee Jong-suk’s relationship started as a bond between friendly co-workers until it eventually blossomed into love. The two Korean stars have always kept their love life under wraps until photos of their vacation in Japan circulated on the internet.
Here’s everything you need to know about IU and Jong-suk’s romance, from their moments as music show hosts to the present.
August 2012 to December 2012: IU and Jong-suk meet as ‘Inkigayo’ hosts
IU and Jong-suk’s relationship goes way back to August 2012 after serving as the hosts of Korean music show Inkigayo. Since Inkigayo is marketed to teens, Jong-suk admitted that he was “a little bit annoyed” at the singer-actress for pitching ideas about what costumes they should wear at the program.
June 2013: Jong-suk says IU is one of his closest friends
Months after his departure from Inkigayo, Jong-suk revealed at an episode of the now-defunct talk show “Incantation” that he didn’t leave the music show on bad terms with IU since they “grew fond” of each other during filming.
He also admitted that IU is one of his closest friends in the Korean entertainment industry.
December 2017: Jong-suk attends IU’s ‘Palette’ concert in Seoul
Jong-suk proved that he’s a good friend of IU after he attended the Seoul leg of her “IU Palette Tour Concert 2017 Tour” at Jamsil Stadium in December 2017. The actor was spotted at a concert vlog uploaded on 1theK’s official YouTube channel a month later.
March 2021: Jong-suk shows support for ‘Lilac’
The actor expressed his support when IU released her fifth studio album “Lilac,” as seen on his Instagram Story back in March 2021. The photo showed Jong-suk listening to the ballad “My Sea” on the Korean music platform Melon.
February 2022: Jong-suk admits he listens to IU’s song ‘Winter Sleep’
Jong-suk admitted in an interview with Elle Korea that he often listens to IU’s “Winter Sleep” and Jaurim’s “Forever and Ever” in February 2022, saying he prefers songs with relatable lyrics.
“I like songs with good lyrics that I can relate to, and those two songs are very lyrical and good to listen to when I want to be sentimental. It makes me feel like I want to cry when listening to them,” he added.
September 2022: Jong-suk attends IU’s ‘The Golden Hour’ concert
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Jong-suk was spotted by fans at IU’s “The Golden Hour: Under the Orange Sun” concert at Seoul Olympic Stadium.
Lee Jong Suk at the IU concert too?? pic.twitter.com/6lOoOa7P1F
— 🍧 (@chatshirelore) September 18, 2022
The actor, wearing a bucket hat that covered his face, was waving his lightstick as seen in a photo uploaded by fan account @chatshirelore on its Twitter page on Sept. 19.
Dec. 30, 2022: Jong-suk expressed his gratitude to a special someone at the 2022 MBC Drama Awards
Jong-suk courted romance rumors after his acceptance speech at the 2022 MBC Drama Awards caught the attention of eagle-eyed netizens. During the ceremony, he expressed his gratitude to someone who “I’ve liked for a long time” after bagging the coveted Grand Prize for his role as Park Chang-ho in the K-drama “Big Mouth” on Dec. 30.
“After completing my military service, I had a lot of worries, fears, and troubles plaguing me. But at that time, there was someone who helped me to find a good direction as a human being and to think positive thoughts,” Jong-suk said, per a translation by Soompi.
The actor also confessed that his speech was an “opportunity” to tell that he admired the mysterious person for a long time.
“I want to tell that person that I’m thankful to them for always being so admirable, that I’ve liked them a lot for a very long time, and that I respect and admire them greatly,” he added.
Jong-suk’s agency HighZium Studio, however, responded to the speculations saying that he was addressing someone that he was thankful for.
Dec. 31, 2022: Jong-suk and IU’s agencies confirm their relationship
Jong-suk and IU’s agencies confirmed that they’re in a relationship for months after Korean media outlet Dispatch claimed that they spent the holidays in Japan.
Citing anonymous sources, Dispatch reported that the couple’s families were aware of their romance since the actor brought IU and her younger brother to Japan before joining their trip that he had personally planned.
IU and Jong-suk’s romance has been confirmed by their respective agencies, EDAM Entertainment and HighZium Studio.
“They recently progressed from being close acquaintances into being a couple, and they are maintaining a serious relationship,” HighZium said. @inquirerdotnet
— Hannah Mallorca (@HMallorcaINQ) December 31, 2022
Jan. 1, 2023: Jong-suk and IU open up about their romance to fans
The celebrity couple expressed their gratitude to fans after respective agencies HighZium Studio and EDAM Entertainment confirmed their relationship through letters uploaded on their fan cafes.
IU described the actor as someone who’s “reliable and cute” and has been a supporter for a long time, according to a translation by Soompi.
“[Lee Jong-suk] was a colleague for a long time, and we are building up positive feelings while relying on each other. He is a reliable and cute person who has supported me for a long time, always told me I’m amazing, and sent me sincere encouragement,” IU said.
The singer-actress also admitted that her relationship with Jong-suk has inspired her to do better in her work.
“I think one of the reasons that my pride and passion for work is surging even more these days is because I have a good friend who compliments me for a long time up close. Since you have all found out now, we will date quietly and beautifully to not worry my fans,” she added.
Meanwhile, Jong-suk confessed that IU was someone “who always took up a corner of my heart.”
“We first met when I was around my mid-20s, and it was big beyond puppy love, but I had regrets as it couldn’t be achieved. We were friends for a long time, and now it turned out like this… Even when I was working hard living my own way, she was a strange existence who always took up a corner of my heart,” he said, per a Soompi translation.
The actor also compared his girlfriend to the character Kang Dan-i in his previous K-drama “Romance is a Bonus Book.” The role was portrayed by Korean actress Lee Na-young who developed feelings for Cha Eun-ho (Lee Jong-suk) after being friends for quite some time.
“She is an amazing person who helps me with my path and concerns of life as a friend, is someone I can rely on, is younger but sometimes feels older, and is like a grown adult but also someone I want to protect. Now she makes me want to be a better person,” Jongsuk added.
Both Korean stars, however, have yet to address when they started dating. EDV