'Parasite' Actor Lee Sun-kyun's Wife Jeon Hye-jin Is Also a Movie Star


Dec. 27 2023, Published 9:45 a.m. ET

Lee Sun-kyun at the Asian Pop-Up Cinema Festival in Chicago.
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • According to reports, Parasite actor Lee Sun-kyun has died at the age of 48 by suicide following an investigation for drug use.
  • His wife, Jeon Hye-jin is also an actor in South Korea, and continues to work in both TV and film.
  • Lee was being investigated for taking illegal drugs and had been taken in for questioning on three separate occasions.
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News broke on Dec. 27, 2023, that actor Lee Sun-kyun, who was best known to American audiences for his role in 2019's Parasite, had died at just 48 years old. The news of Lee's death left many shocked, especially because reporting suggests he was being investigated for allegations of drug abuse.

Following the news of his death, many also wanted to learn more about Lee, including who his wife was and how long the two of them had been together. As it turns out, Lee and his wife are both pretty major stars in South Korea.

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The cast and crew of 'Parasite'
Source: Getty Images

Who is Lee Sun-kyun's wife?

Lee and his wife Jeon Hye-jin were together for more than two decades. The two dated for seven years before they got married in 2009. Their first son was born that year, while their second was born two years later.

Jeon is an actor in her own right and has starred in several Korean shows and movies since she competed in the 1997 Miss Korea pageant.

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Jeon hasn't released any sort of statement about her husband's death, but she was the one who apparently instigated a search for her husband after he left what appeared to be a suicide note. Jeon is still working and has some recent and upcoming projects that are released regularly in South Korea. She has also worked regularly in the theater during her career.

Lee Sun-kyun was being investigated for drug use.

According to reports, Lee was brought in several times by South Korean police after he allegedly used illegal drugs, including marijuana, at the home of a hostess. Lee claimed that he had been tricked into taking the drugs by the hostess, who was now attempting to blackmail him. Reports also suggest that Lee had taken a drug test, which came back negative. His most recent questioning by police happened in late December and lasted for 19 hours.

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Lee was found dead inside a car at a Seoul park, according to authorities, with a charcoal briquette in the passenger seat next to him. The briquettes are commonly used during suicides in South Korea. Police had been searching for Lee after his family reported that he had left behind a memo that read like a suicide note.

Lee was best known to American audiences for playing the head of the wealthy Park family in Parasite, which made history by becoming the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. Lee was part of a broader ensemble that made the rounds in Hollywood that awards season, and ultimately helped expand what audiences were willing to watch in America.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call, text, or message the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Dial or text 988, call 1-800-273-8255, or chat via their website.

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