Do you have what it takes to be a K-pop idol? Or even just a trainee? We’ve all heard the stories how idol wannabes train for years before finally getting a break (if they even get one). Clearly, the road to the top is no walk in the park. Even then it could well be a lonely place as former Super Junior member Han Geng can attest to.
The 39-year-old recently sat down for a chat with television program Starface where he candidly talked about the reason behind his departure from the band. He’s no stranger to the grueling training, which he said at its most intense could often be over 20 hours a day. He’d be so tired that he’d experienced having a nosebleed on the way back to the dorm or a fracture he didn’t know he had.
Success Comes with a Price
At the height of their popularity, Super Junior was a group idol hopefuls aspire to. Yet it seems all the success in the world could not make up for his depression. Remember the lengths Han Geng went through just to terminate his contract with SM Entertainment in 2009? The singer had to sue to company which is something practically unheard of at the time. Despite the group’s mega success, he revealed he was feeling so emotionally down to the point he even considered taking his own life. “I called my dad, I said to him ‘I’m very unhappy’. I was in that room, so depressed, I had nightmares everyday! Aside from going to the bathroom and eating, I don’t go out anymore.” Han Geng’s dad initially tried talking him down from doing anything drastic. “I said, what if there comes a day I take my own life? And then what? I really had those thoughts ” he admitted.
The singer said what ultimately put him at ease was knowing his parents had his back and that they supported whatever decision he will make. “He (his father) told me, you’ve always made your own decisions since you were small. Make a choice for you once again. If you’re unhappy, you come home.” Meanwhile Mama Han echoed what her husband said – “my mum also told me, if you’re unhappy, you come home. Mum will raise you.” Han Geng then decided going home is the best choice for himself. That’s not to say though that he wasn’t grateful for the band’s success. “Going through that experience, all that training, I am very thankful for that time”.
First Chinese Idol in K-Pop
Han Geng, who’s widely considered the first Chinese idol in K-pop, was also among trainees who had to be separated from their family and support groups from a young age. Now married and a father with a solo career in China, his recent interview about his past got him trending on Weibo hot search, which has also drawn in mixed reactions. Many showed support given that he debuted at a time when foreigners in South Korea had a number of restrictions that reportedly had him performing in a mask for some time, unable to show his face. However, there are also those who feel that it is time for him to stop bringing up the past.