The Shocking Truth on Dating in the K-Pop Industry

Lashonde Lavelle Christian
October 26, 2020
4 minutes
As CNN so accurately put it 2 years back, if K-Pop artists were anything like Taylor Swift, boy would they be in troubleee!
But, does that answer the question on everyone’s minds, can K-Pop idols date? Well, the answer to that, like many of life’s greatest mysteries isn’t so much in black or white, rather it lies in a much greyer area.
Image via Koreaboo

Before going into it though, what you need to understand is that most decisions made by K-Pop idols, depend greatly on the entertainment agencies they come from. Each idol starting off at a very young age, get signed to talent agencies, and are made to stay and train hard, before making their grand debut in the real world.
As a matter of fact, some of the biggest K-Pop groups today, work under the biggest Korean talent agencies in the business.

However, signing with these big major agencies, could potentially also be defined as, coming with a price.
When K-Pop idols sign with talent agencies, they set themselves up to not only endorse big brands, but also become a big brand themselves. So, Super Junior for instance, wouldn’t just be a band, but also a brand.
As a result of that, K-Pop idols become investments to the agencies that manage them, and like any investment, making sure they bring great profit by any means necessary is, goes without saying, becomes priority number 1.
Image via Koreaboo

But what does dipping their feet in the dating pool, have anything to do with that?
The Korean entertainment industry takes its music very seriously and when an agency signs a group, they expect that group to ensure career expansion, growth and repertoire to remain at the top of their list. Which is great, and yet difficult at times, because dating by its very nature, could also be messy and sometimes distracting.
The Korean music industry is a rather different landscape, as compared to the American music industry in the west. In America, dating and relationships are further monopolized for the popularity and music sales of an artist. Whereas in K-Pop, personal dating lives of artists, when shared in the limelight, could very much backfire, inherently putting a dent in artists’ careers as well as the image of the agency who carries them.
Image via Pinterest

So, because these artists are oftentimes, unfortunately viewed as money-bringing-commodities, what these agencies do is draw up bans, regulations or even contract clauses, artists under them would need to abide by, when it comes to dating.
Some of the dating bans that have existed, and still exists are: -

JYP Entertainment

Image via Kpop Profiles

This entertainment agency has always been known for having a strict dating ban. Initially, the dating ban for artists under the agency was 5 years since debut. But, because artists couldn’t quite follow the rule, the agency altered it to 3 years. Now, all artists under JYP, are not allowed to date for the first 3 years after their big break.

Pledis Entertainment

Image via Koreaboo

For this agency, artists are not allowed to date for the first 3-4 years after they debut.

YG Entertainment

Image via Kraze

One of the stricter agencies, the dating ban for artists under YG is divided into two groups. Younger artists, a dating-ban of 5 years, whereas older ones have a dating-ban of 3 years.
These bans, although exist, are not very strictly enforced. Or in simpler terms, if artists find a way to date in secret and get away with it, then it’s no harm, no foul.
Besides that, the dating-ban isn’t imposed by all talent agencies. In fact, there are a few agencies like Big Hit and RBW that has no dating ban (that we know of). Then there are agencies like SM and Banana Culture, that allow dating and encourage it altogether!
Image via AllKPop

But hold on though, because that is probably just one reason as to why K-Pop idols rarely date. Another reason we believe, is because of brutal fans.
Fans in the K-Pop industry, are probably one of the craziest bunch of people you will meet. They would most literally, go to any lengths to show their love for their idols. Spending loads of money for any amount of time they can get with their faves, whether its in real life or virtually, to showering them with countless gifts, it is safe to say K-Pop fans, spend a very significant amount of time and money on K-Pop idols.
Image via KBIZOOM

Due to this, many of these crazed fans, think that all their adoring should amount to something. Which is why, they believe that they have a say as to what happens in the personal lives of K-Pop idols, especially their love lives. It is bonkers to be honest, but it is also what it is.
Many times, in the past, fans have flooded idols’ social platforms with so much negativity and disapproval, every time a dating secret came to light. Which may seem totally ridiculous to us, but it really isn’t, given how much K-Pop idols love their fans. As a matter of fact, K-Pop idols have even gone the extra mile, to apologize to some of them!
Read more here.

Of course, all of these restrictions and hurdles only come about in the beginning of any relationship. After a while, the agencies accept and acknowledge their idols’ dating lives, and fans eventually just back-off.
Generally, though, it is rare you come across news/rumors of K-Pop idols dating because a lot of them are mainly focused on their careers. Or maybe, because a lot of them just don’t think it’s worth all the hassle. Or maybe, because they’re just really good at keeping secrets.
Whatever the reason may be, or even if there is one, so long as we get more K-Pop all day everyday, we think we're good!

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