Lee Bo-young

Lee Bo-young
Lee Bo-young 2017.jpg
Lee Bo-young at the press conference for Whisper (2017)
Born (1979-01-12) January 12, 1979 (age 40)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma mater Seoul Women's University (B.A. in Korean Literature)[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 2002–present
Agent J-Wide Company[2]
Ji Sung ( m. 2013)
Children 2
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Bo-yeong
McCune–Reischauer I Poyŏng

Lee Bo-young (Korean이보영; born January 12, 1979) is a South Korean actress. She is best known for starring in the television dramas My Daughter Seo-young (2012), I Can Hear Your Voice (2013), Whisper (2017) and Mother (2018).[3]


Lee Bo-young began her career in the industry with winning the Daejeon entry for the Miss Korea beauty pageant in 2000.[4] Having majored in Korean literature at Seoul Women's University, she originally dreamed of becoming a news presenter. She was one of 15 finalists in MBC's annual recruitment drive in 2002, but ended up not getting the job.[5] Instead, she turned to modeling, and was chosen as the exclusive advertising model for Asiana Airlines, considered a gateway to stardom.

Lee made her acting debut in 2003, and among her early roles were in People of the Water Flower Village (2004) opposite Song Il-gook,[6] and as the antagonist in Save the Last Dance for Me (2004).[7]

In 2005, Lee played her first leading role in the daily drama My Sweetheart, My Darling,[8] followed by the Silla-set historical epic Ballad of Seodong with Jo Hyun-jae.[9] She spent the next several years in television dramasMr. Goodbye with Ahn Jae-wook,[10] Queen of the Game with Joo Jin-mo,[11] and Becoming a Billionaire with Ji Hyun-woo[12] — but none struck a chord with audiences or critics.

Lee Bo-Young in 2012

After playing the love interest in My Brother (2004) and A Dirty Carnival (2006),[13][14] Lee was cast in her first major big screen role in Once Upon a Time (2008). The heist comedy is set during colonial rule in the 1940s, and she and Park Yong-woo played notorious swindlers out to steal a diamond from the Japanese army.[15]

Her two films released in 2009 were both melodramas. In More Than Blue, Lee plays the soulmate of a terminally ill man (Kwon Sang-woo), but their love ends in a tragedy undercut with a poetic sparseness.[16][17] While in I Am Happy, Lee played a nurse who falls for a patient in the psychiatric ward (Hyun Bin), and in each other they find consolation to see them through their harsh and miserable reality.[18]

Lee returned to television in 2010, playing a seductress in the quirky cable drama Golden House opposite Shin Ha-kyun.[19] She then had a guest arc as the president's daughter in spy series Athena: Goddess of War,[20] followed by post-divorce romance series Bravo, My Love! with Lee Tae-sung,[21] and revenge drama Man from the Equator (2012) with Uhm Tae-woong.[22]

She then played the titular character in My Daughter Seo-young, a career woman who is angry at her father (Chun Ho-jin), whose gambling addiction led to her mother's death, yet she struggles to keep the family together and make ends meet.[23] Lee said playing Seo-young required a greater depth of emotion than any of her previous roles, which left her drained but also feeling a greater sense of achievement.[5] The family drama was the biggest hit yet of Lee's career; it dominated the weekly ratings chart for 22 straight weeks, and recorded a series high of 47.6% on its last episode, the highest Korean drama rating in 2013.[24]

Her follow-up series I Can Hear Your Voice (2013) was also popular during its run.[25] In it, Lee played a materialistic public defender who testified on behalf of a boy with supernatural abilities (Lee Jong-suk) a decade ago after she witnessed the boy's father being murdered.[26] Critics said with her stubborn and argumentative character, Lee was able to break free of her previous calm and elegant image.[27] She won several awards for her performance, including the Daesang ("Grand Prize"), the highest honor at the SBS Drama Awards.[28][29] Lee was named Actress of the Year by Gallup due to the success of her works.[30]

In 2014, Lee played a mother who travels back in time two weeks before her daughter's kidnapping and murder in God's Gift - 14 Days.[31][32]

In 2017, Lee starred in SBS's legal thriller Whisper.[33] She took the role of a section chief of criminal division who gets dismissed from the police and later on disguise herself and work as an undercover at a law firm.[34]

In 2018, Lee starred in the Korean adaption of the Japanese drama Mother, playing the titular character.[35][36][37]

Other activities

Lee is active in environmental causes, including the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.[38][39] She and husband Ji Sung also makes donations to charitable causes regularly.[40][41]

While on acting hiatus in 2015 during her pregnancy, she published the book Time of Love, a collection of essays on 23 books with themes of love, consolation and growth that have impacted Lee throughout her childhood and adulthood; they include The Little Prince, José Mauro de Vasconcelos's My Sweet Orange Tree, and Alain de Botton's Essays in Love.[42]

Lee was confirmed to host 2017 SBS Drama Awards together with Shin Dong-yup.[43] Previously, Lee has emceed the same award ceremony in 2013 together with Lee Hwi-jae and Kim Woo-bin.[44]

Personal life

Lee met actor Ji Sung on the set of 2004 TV series Save Last Dance for Me, and they confirmed their relationship in 2007.[45][46][47][48] On August 2, 2013, they announced their engagement by uploading handwritten letters on their respective official fan sites.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56] They married at Aston House, W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel on September 27, 2013.[57][58][59] Their first child, daughter Kwak Ji-yoo was born on June 12, 2015.[60][61] Their second child, a son named Kwak Bo-ah, was born on February 4, 2019.[62]



Year Title Role
2004 My Brother Mi-ryung
2006 A Dirty Carnival Hyun-joo
2008 Once Upon a Time Haruko / Choon-ja
2009 More Than Blue Eun-won ("Cream")
I Am Happy Soo-kyung

Television series

Year Title Role Network
2003 Escape from Unemployment[63] Cha Mi-rim SBS
Long Live Love[64] Se-ryung
2004 People of the Water Flower Village Yoo Yeo-kyung MBC
Jang Gil-san[65] Kwi-rye SBS
Save the Last Dance for Me Yoon Soo-jin
2005 Encounter[66] Choi Eom-ji MBC
My Sweetheart, My Darling Yoo In-young KBS1
Ballad of Seodong Princess Seonhwa of Silla SBS
2006 Mr. Goodbye Choi Young-in KBS2
Queen of the Game Kang Eun-seol SBS
2010 Becoming a Billionaire Lee Shin-mi KBS2
Golden House Yoon Seo-rin tvN
Athena: Goddess of War Jo Soo-young
(guest appearance, episodes 3-5)
2011 Bravo, My Love! Kang Jae-mi MBC
2012 Man from the Equator Han Ji-won KBS2
My Daughter Seo-young Lee Seo-young
2013 I Can Hear Your Voice Jang Hye-sung SBS
2014 God's Gift - 14 Days Kim Soo-hyun
Pinocchio Hye-sung car navigation
(voice cameo, episode 3)
2017 Whisper Shin Young-joo
2018 Mother Su-jin tvN

Variety show

Year Title Network Notes
2007 She's Olive - Lee Bo-young
from Grasse to Paris
O'live TV
2013 eat CITY - Lee Bo-young's Italian Cafe [67]

Music video appearances

Year Song title Artist
2011 "Crying, Calling"[68] Zia & 4Men

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2005 SBS Drama Awards New Star Award Ballad of Seodong Won [69]
Top 10 Stars Won [70]
KBS Drama Awards Best New Actress My Sweetheart, My Darling Won [71]
2006 14th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best New Actress A Dirty Carnival Won [72]
SBS Drama Awards Top 10 Stars Queen of the Game Won [73]
KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Mr. Goodbye Nominated
2007 3rd Andre Kim Best Star Awards Female Star Award N/A Won [74]
2008 44th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actress (Film) Once Upon a Time Nominated
2009 4th Andre Kim Best Star Awards Female Star Award N/A Won [75]
2010 KBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Becoming a Billionaire Nominated
2011 MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Bravo, My Love! Won [76]
2012 KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress My Daughter Seo-young,
Man from the Equator
Excellence Award, Actress in a Mid-length Drama Man from the Equator Won [77]
Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama My Daughter Seo-young Nominated
Best Couple Award with Lee Sang-yoon Won [77]
2013 49th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Nominated
7th Mnet 20's Choice Awards 20's Drama Star - Female My Daughter Seo-young,
I Can Hear Your Voice
6th Korea Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won [78][79]
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk I Can Hear Your Voice Won
6th Style Icon Awards Top Ten Style Icons Nominated
2nd APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress My Daughter Seo-young,
I Can Hear Your Voice
Won [80]
Best Couple Award with Lee Jong-suk I Can Hear Your Voice Won
26th Grimae Awards Best Actress Won [81]
SBS Drama Awards Daesang (Grand Prize) Won [28]
Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated
Producer's Award Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Won [82]
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries God's Gift - 14 Days Nominated
2017 1st The Seoul Awards Best Actress (Drama) Whisper Nominated [83]
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Monday-Tuesday Drama Won [84]
2018 54th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Actress (TV) Mother Nominated [85]
13th Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actress Won [86]
6th APAN Star Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Nominated [87]


  1. ^ 국문과 출신 배우 이보영, 에세이 '사랑의 시간들' 펴내. Sports Seoul (in Korean). 19 June 2015.
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  33. ^ Chung Jin-hong (27 January 2017). "SBS drama 'Whisper' announces cast of stars". Korea JoongAng Daily.
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  35. ^ "Actress Lee Bo-young Will Be Playing Another Strong-willed Mother Role in 2018". Hancinema. TV Report. 26 July 2017.
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  60. ^ Sung, So-young (25 November 2014). "Lee Bo-young is 10 weeks pregnant". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  61. ^ Jin, Min-ji (15 June 2015). "Lee Bo-young has a baby girl". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
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External links