Yoo Ah-in is a South Korean actor and model who appears mainly in Korean language films and TV series’. He was born in Daegu, South Korea and from there to Seoul, the centre of Korean entertainment business; he travelled a long way to fulfil his dreams. After modelling for a few years, he made his on-screen debut in 2003 with the series ‘Honest Living’, in a very minor part. After starring in a few more mostly irrelevant roles, the inevitable big break came to him in 2010 with ‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ and after that, his career started walking on a steady path. His fame was then further emphasized by roles in films like ‘Punch’, ‘Secret Love Affair’ and ‘The Throne’. The historical drama series ‘Six Playing Dragons’ also played a major role in concreting Yoo’s place as one of the most significant new generation actor of these times. His list of award wins and nominations is also quite longer, as he has been a recipient of a Blue Dragon Film Award and a Baeksang Arts Award, and has been nominated for many other well respected TV and film awards for his performances in some of the most successful South Korean films and TV series of this century.
Childhood & Early Life
Yoo Ah-in was born on 6th October 1986 in Daegu city, South Korea. He was the youngest born child of his middle class parents, and was a shy kid in the beginning. He had two elder sisters, and somehow, Yoo believed for a very long time that he didn’t belong to his family as he thought that he looked nothing like them. That further contributed to his shy behaviour.
During his high school days, his aspirations of becoming an artist rose up for the first time after he took a serious interest in painting. He was extremely popular in the high school owing to his charming looks and artistic sensibilities, but despite having a lot of girlfriends around him most of the times, he preferred staying alone. And at the age of 15, when he got tired of the high school, he made a solo move to Seoul, to further explore a career in the show business.
He somehow managed to finish his high school education and entered college through a GED test. Dankuk University and Konkuk University were from where he went for his Bachelor’s degree in arts and also trained to become a singer side by side.
Being an introverted person, he wrote in his diary the short stories and poems, which he thought perfectly gave him a great medium to express the suppressed feelings. Initially, he refused to publish his writings anywhere, but on the pressure from his friends, he later published his writings in magazines, and received appreciation.
He started with modelling and appeared in TV commercials. He started working early and by the time he was an adult, he was already a known face in the entertainment field and it was just the beginning of a great career in the industry.
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After a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ part in the series ‘Honest Living’ in 2003, he appeared in 2004 in ‘Sharp 1’ as himself. It was then followed by a one episode stint on ‘April Kiss’. During this time, he also appeared in many commercials as teenager and slowly started gaining prominence.
And this was the time when he started having some serious doubts about the show-business and whether he wanted to be a celebrity or not. He returned to his hometown among his family and contemplated other options as well. He was extremely close to his mother and she advised him to follow his heart. After about two years of introspection, Yoo returned to Seoul with a refreshed state of mind and decided to explore himself further through the different roles that he could play as an actor.
In 2006, he appeared in the indie film ‘Boys of Tomorrow’, which happened to be premiered at the Busan International Film Festival that year. Yoo played the role of a frustrated young man in the film, who was looking to get his hands on a real gun to put an end to his life, Yoo later said about his role that he had felt like that for a very long in his life. The film was highly praised, along with the performances and Yoo received the award for Best New Actor at the Busan Film Critics Awards.
He continued his great form with a role in the film ‘Skeletons in the Closet’, a black comedy film where Yoo played the role of a young man who thinks that he was a king in the previous life. He received a lot of applause for this role as well and established himself as a fine actor.
In the drama ‘Chil-woo the Mighty’, he played the role of a lonely assassin. It was his very first historical drama and Yoo’s role was appreciated in the film, paving his way to sign a film ‘Antique’, in which he played a boxer struggling with his very own inner demons. He dedicated himself for the role and learned boxing, and all the hard work didn’t go to waste as for the performance, he secured a Best New Actor honour at the Director’s Cut Awards and this was his arrival into the mainstream as one of the finest actors of his generation.
‘Sungkyunkwan Scandal’ further established him as a household name in South Korea and Yoo received more applauses for his role in the film and the 2011 film ‘Punch’, where he appeared in a leading role became a commercial and critical hit.
In 2014, Yoo appeared in ‘Thread of Lies’, a drama and then played a key role in the television series ‘Secret Love Affair’, in which he played a man who falls in love with a woman much older than him.
2015 was another great year for Yoo, as he appeared in two of the highest grossing films that year, in ‘Veteran’, a crime thriller/comedy and ‘The Throne’, a period drama. He received accolades for his roles in form of Blue Dragon Awards, Chunsa Film Art Awards, and Golden Cinematography Awards. Forbes named him as the second in the list as the Korean Power Celebrity.
‘Six Flying Dragons’ was yet another of his projects, which provided him with further awards for his performances and the drama also swept many awards for its impeccable storytelling and effects. His last film to date happens to be ‘Chicago Typewriter’, where he plays a double role.
Apart from his film and TV roles, he has also been a part of multiple variety shows during his career such as ‘Sponge’, ‘Running Man’ and ‘Mnet Asian Music Awards’.
Yoo Ah-in is suffering from a non cancerous bone tumour which is touted to be the reason for his delayed mandatory military service. However, the tumour won’t affect his everyday life, but can cause minor health issues.
Yoo loves cooking and on the variety show ‘Running Man’, he also gave his fans a glimpse into his cooking skills.
Yoo has been in a relationship with Song Hye-kyo in the past, while Jung Yu-mi is largely known as his current girlfriend, but despite the rumour, nothing can be confirmed.