Childhood & Early Life
Lee Kwang-soo was born on 14th July 1985 at Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea to a rich business household. He grew up in his birth town with his parents and a sister who happened to be two years younger to him.
As a kind, Lee was obsessed with art, especially drawing cartoons and animated characters that he saw on TV. This early hobby sparked a deep interest in him about art, and his parents encouraged this, but when Lee grew up a bit and talked to them about the possibility of a career in the field, they weren’t too happy. As a result, Lee just limited drawing to a hobby for the rest of his life. Even now, he does painting, draws sketches and graffiti to keep his passion alive.
Kwang mentioned in an interview that he was an emotionally distant kid who never quite liked the way he looked. He was obese all through his elementary school and lost weight only after he entered the middle school, and by high school, he already had a model like physique. He experienced a new surge of confidence once he lost all the weight and looked better than most of his classmates, and eventually became the leader of his boys group.
Lee’s weight loss goals also made him interested towards sports and of the many sports that he played in the high school, he loved basketball the most and spent countless hours on the court. He also started doing part-time theatre at the school, and came to love it immensely.
Once out of the school, he joined the Dong-ah institute of Media and Arts to hone his skills in acting and other areas of filmmaking and after he graduated, he decided to do his mandatory military training. Actors usually do the service after joining the industry, but it was just first one of the series of bold steps of his career that Lee would come to be known for.
Lee started modelling once out of the military service in 2007 and got some lucrative modelling offers in the very early stages of his career. At the same time, he kept auditioning for roles in TV and films and made his debut with the 2008 sitcom ‘Here he Comes’. His performance was noticed and quickly after that, he appeared in ‘High kick Through the Roof!’, another comedy series.
He appeared in a few more less significant roles, but his fate changed with a stint in form of ‘Running Man’, a variety show. Lee joined the cast of the show in 2010 and his character became one of the most loved characters in the entire show very quickly and owing to the show, his popularity sky rocketed and earned him the title ‘The Prince of Asia’. The award season also showered Lee with honours such as SBS’s New Star Award and the Best Newcomer in Variety.
He dominated 2012 with his impeccable comic timing with the comedy shows ‘Wonderful Radio’ and ‘All About my Life’ and later that year, he also became a part of a melodrama and a thriller, just to have a slight change in his image.
Riding high on success, he publicly spoke about how he wanted to explore the darker side of his existence and said that he would love to play a negative character on-screen. His wish came true with the 2013 show ‘Goddess of Fire’, a drama where he played a villainous prince.
He forayed into darker roles with a neo noir thriller titled ‘Confession’ in 2014, which told the story about three Korean youngsters whose lives take a drastic turn after they get involved in a murder mystery. Lee later played a key role in drama ‘It’s Ok, that’s Love’.
In 2015, his appearance in the film ‘Collective Invention’ earned him a widespread acclaim. The film, which revolved around drug abuse, was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Lee later said that walking on the red carpet of the event was like a dream come true for him.
He went a little easy on work in 2015 and was away from the limelight for most part, but made a solid comeback again in the next year with back-to-back roles in TV. He first appeared in a cameo role in ‘Descendants of the Sun’ and ‘Dear My Friends’ and then starred in ‘Entourage’, the South Korean remake of American series of the same name, which explores the life of a successful film star and his friend group, entertainingly documenting his life post fame.
His appearance in the series ‘The Sound of your Heart’ turned Lee into a big star in China and South Korea. The series was a major commercial and critical success and this was the time when Lee started getting more international roles.
In 2017, Lee made a guest appearance in the show ‘The Best Hit’ and is all set to play a pivotal role in a forthcoming comedy film titled ‘The Accidental Detective 2’, which happens to be the second instalment in the hit franchise.
His several guest appearances on the variety shows include ‘Strong Heart’, ‘Happy Together 3’, ‘Healing Camp’ and the Chinese rendition of ‘The Amazing Race’.
Apart from his films and acting roles, he has appeared in the music videos for several artists such as KARA, Turbo and Cosmic Girls and has also won several awards for his performances over the years, including APAN Star Awards and Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Lee Kwang-soo is quite an easygoing person on the set and everyone who has worked with him mentions his infectious energy and says that working with him is a great experience.
Lee is secretive about his personal life and says that he will remain the same, as he would like to keep everyone, including his fans, away from his private life. He hinted at being in a relationship some time back, but there was never an official confirmation regarding the same.