Celebrity shock: Seo Taiji, E Jiah were married

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Celebrity shock: Seo Taiji, E Jiah were married

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File photos of Seo Taiji, left, and E Jiah, right. Their secret marriage and divorce has stunned the public. [YONHAP]

Legendary rock star Seo Taiji, known as an iconic musician in the 90s and dubbed by his fans as Korea’s “culture president,” stunned the public after the daily SportsSeoul reported on Thursday that Seo has secretly been married to actress E Jiah for the past 14 years and they are in middle of a divorce.

The news came as shock, disappointment, and even betrayal, to Seo’s fans as the 39-year-old pop star has always flatly denied that he was married whenever media outlets reported suspicion of his alleged marriage.

He has even joked to his fans that he’s “married to music.”

Seo’s private life was shrouded in mystery until SportsSeoul reported Thursday that E filed a lawsuit in January demanding 5 billion won ($4.62 million) for division of property and 500 million won in alimony from Seo after they failed to reach an agreement on a divorce settlement.

E’s agency KeyEast released an official statement late Thursday admitting that E and Seo were married in the United States in 1997.

But with regard to SportsSeoul’s report that the two are in the middle of a divorce, E’s agency clarified that the two were divorced in 2009 and they are now in middle of a property division suit.

“E Jiah went to study abroad in the United States in 1993 and she first met Seo at his U.S. concert in Los Angeles in the same year,” the statement read. “E and Seo kept in touch even after Seo returned to Korea by exchanging e-mail and phone calls and then they become lovers.”

Seo was one of the nation’s most influential cultural icons in the 1990s, after debuting with two other singers as Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992. The band broke up in 1996.

The band’s first single “I Know” sent shock waves through the K-pop scene - the first of its kind to combine melodic rap lyrics with dance music. Seo later released several singles but has remained an obscure figure in recent years, with his personal life shrouded in secrecy.

KeyEast said the two lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and Arizona after they married. Seo returned to the Korean pop music scene in June 2000 and E filed for divorce in 2006. The divorce took effect in 2009, according to E’s agency.

“E’s reason for the divorce was that [Seo] was an extraordinary man with an occupation and lifestyle that were different from ordinary people and the two had personality differences,” the agency’s statement read.

E, a 33-year-old actress who debuted in 2007, earned the nickname “Alien” because she kept her private life secret.

Seo’s agency Seo Taiji Company has not yet made an official statement.

E was recently in the spotlight after being spotted last month with actor Jung Woo-sung in Paris. They admitted to being lovers at the time. The two met through “Athena: Goddess of War,” the popular SBS series that ended in February.

Jung was scheduled to celebrate his birthday yesterday but the party was canceled after he heard the news Thursday.

Jung’s agency said Jung did not know that E and Seo were married and he’s shocked.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

서태지, 이지아 부부였어? 재산분할 소송

톱스타 서태지(본명 정현철)와 배우 이지아(본명 김지아)가 사실상 부부였던 것으로 알려졌다. 이같은 사실은 이지아가 서태지를 상대로 위자료 및 재산분할 확인소송을 서울가정법원에 제기하면서 전해졌다.

다만, 이들이 법적인 부부였는지, 사실혼 관계였는지는 확인되지 않았다. 위자료 등은 사실혼 관계라도 청구할 수 있기 때문이다.

법원에는 정O철과 김O아를 당사자로 하는 소송 사건이 올해 1월 접수된 것으로 확인됐다. 하지만 이들이 서태지인지, 이지아인지는 명확하지 않다. 당사자들이 출석하지 않고 대리인을 보내 재판을 진행하고 있기 때문이다.

그러나 정현철씨는 서울 종로구 부암동에 사는 것으로, 김지아씨는 서울 강남구 신사동에 주소를 둔 것으로 소장에 적힌 것으로 알려졌다. 연예계와 네티즌들에게 알려진 서태지·이지아의 주소와 거의 일치한다.

한편 양측의 변호사는 취재기자의 전화를 받지 않는 등 외부와 연락을 끊었다. 이지아도 소속사인 키이스트와 연락이 두절된 상태다.

두 사람이 결혼해서 이혼하고 재산분할 청구소송을 진행 중이라는 사실은 이달 18일 서울가정법원에서 2차 공판이 열리면서 외부에 알려지게 됐다.

이지아는 지난 1월 서태지를 상대로 위자료 및 재산분할을 요구하는 소송을 제기했다. 양측은 법정대리인을 통해 올해 3월 14일과 4월 18일 두차례 공판을 마친 것으로 알려졌다. 양측은 다음달 23일 변론준비기일을 앞두고 있다.

그동안 이지아는 연예계에서 '외계인'이라는 별명이 있을 정도로 사생활이 알려지지 않았다. 미국 출신이라는 것 이외에 대중들이 알고 있는 정보는 없었다.

최근 이지아는 드라마에서 호흡을 맞춘 배우 정우성과의 열애설을 인정했었다. 이들의 이혼은 이런 사유가 발단이 된 것으로 보인다. 이지아 측에서 합의이혼을 요구해 이혼에는 이르렀지만 재산을 두고 원만한 합의가 이뤄지지 않아 결국 소송까지 간 것이란 의견도 나오고 있다.

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