Who is Ri Sol-ju?
Ri Sol-ju is the wife of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the First Lady of North Korea. She used to be a singer, before catching the attention of the supreme commander, and the notorious dictator Kim Jong-un. The country being almost totally cut-off from rest of the world, her personal life has been kept secretive and there are no definite sources which can claim the true family history and origins of Ri Sol-ju. She has been dubbed by the North Korean state media as the ‘wife and comrade of Kim Jong-un’. Ri first starting making appearances alongside Kim in the year 2012. After a lot of speculations about her true identity, it was revealed in mid-2012 that she was, in facts, Kim’s wife. Many sources do claim that they got married in 2009 after the death of Kim Jong-Il as Kim Jong-un succeeded his father. Kim Jong-un supposedly had a child with her in 2010 and Ri was seen with another baby bump in 2012, and in later photographs, she seemed to have lost it, which meant birth of another child.
Childhood & Early Life
Ri Sol-ju was born in around 1985-1989. Her place of birth is largely unknown, so is the information related to her background and her parents. In North Korea, most of the information about the first family of the nation doesn’t leave the national borders. She finished her early education from Kumsong 2 middle school and later went for her higher studies at the reputed Kim Il-Sung University.
Most people claim that this isn’t her real name and just a pseudonym to confuse others, for obvious safety reasons. She has naturally been a matter of curiosity among the international media and there have been several rumours floating around about her true identity, but without any reliable source to confirm them.
As she is married to the most elite figure in the North Korean landscape, it has been claimed that she either belongs to a very respectable political family from the country or a military family having connection to Kim’s family.
Some contrasting reports also say that she is just a commoner who happened to be a musician and her beauty caught the eyes of Kim, who then proposed her and considering Kim’s track record dealing with the people who don’t follow supreme leader’s wishes, she said yes under pressure.
Some Chinese sources claim that she studied music in China and majored in vocal music, and then sang in some bars and clubs there, before returning to her own country to make a career in music. She also reportedly visited South Korea for a sporting event where she danced as a cheerleader.
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Life as Kim Jong-un's Wife
Ri Sol-ju has been frequently associated with Onhasu Orchestra, where she reportedly sang for a few months. She has also toured internationally with her group and was known as a very talented singer, but somehow, there are no records of all that, as in the pursuit of erasing her previous life altogether, the North Korean authorities have subsequently destroyed all the CDs of her overseas concerts. She was a talented musician, one of the very few people who dared to live their dreams in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
South Korean news Agency Sonhap reported that Kim and Ri married in 2009 after Kim Jong-Il died as the supreme leader of North Korea shouldn’t be alone. Whether it was an arranged marriage or a love marriage, it hasn’t been clear but according to Sonhap, ‘they seem happy together’ whenever they make public appearances. It has also been reported that she took a course of almost six months before assuming the very important role as the First Lady of North Korea, which further solidifies her background as a commoner of North Korea.
The first time Kim’s marriage became a subject of curiosity for the world was in 2012, when she was seen accompanying her husband in many official meetings he appeared and photographed in. After that, she was seen at the Kim Il-Sung stadium during a soccer match with Kim, which was organized on the occasion of Kim’s grandfather’s 103rd birth anniversary. She was again spotted in December 2014, during an event to mourn the third death anniversary of Kim’s father.
In April 2015, she was again seen during an event marking the birthday of Kim Il-Sung, the founding father of North Korea. At that event, she was seen wearing a wedding ring and accompanied Kim Jong-un. She has remained a figure of speculation, and reports about her being the mother of two of Kim’s children have also made quite some news internationally.
For some time in 2012, it was reported that Ri Sol-ju has disappeared, with some media houses speculating that she was killed for non-obedience, which apparently doesn’t set well with Kim Jong. He is known to have killed several of higher officials from North Korean Military and politics for some very petty reasons. It was also said that the disappearance could have been due to pregnancy and being the mother of future heir of North Korea, keeping her away from public’s eyes seemed like the best course of action.
Somehow, her reappearance at a military event in December 2012 proved all reports fake and she even looked pregnant there. North Korean officials chose to keep mum about her pregnancy reports but a claim made by the NBA star, Dennis Rodman, who also happens to be a good friend of Kim, and visited him in early 2013, stated that Ri had just given birth to a beautiful daughter. Some reports also mentioned that the childbirth was in-fact forced in order to make the child born in 2012, the year which somehow marked 100th anniversary of founder of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung. Thereafter, ‘The Guardian’ confirmed the reports and said that the daughter is pretty much in existence and has been named Ju-ae.
Her Life in North Korea
The society in North Korea is patriarchal and Kim must not have been very happy following the birth of a girl child as he would be expecting a male heir to take on his place once he retires. Women are forced to call their husbands ‘superior’ in the contemporary North Korean society and the isolation and pressure Ri must be feeling is unmatchable.
Ri was forced to leave her profession as a singer, and like most women, she started living a life of obscurity in a country which hasn’t yet opened up to rest of the world, owing to the strict rules set by the Kim house. It has been ruling the nation for decades and has successfully managed to destroy the values and economy to make North Korea one of the poorest countries in the world.
Unless definitive news comes about a son having born to Kim and Ri, the Western and rest of international media is keeping a close eye on the happenings in the top North Korean family. As many North Koreans wish that a heir may never born, to mark the end of Kim dynasty, they don’t seem too lucky, as according to the reports, Kim Jong-un is already considering marrying again as Ri hasn’t quite been able to provide him with an heir.