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More on Choi Jin-shil’s suicide

This is all very sad, particularly because Choi Jin-shil seems to have been very depressed, but not to the extent that anybody around her could have foreseen such dire actions.

(Sports Chosun has a lovely collection of photos over the years chronicling Choi Jin-shil’s career.)

The police have ruled Choi’s death a suicide — while there has been no explicit suicide note found, her last words to friends seem to have hinted at her intention (although this is all seen in hindsight, of course). The medical examiner determined no external wounds, no sign of murder or foul play. A memo was found, which didn’t contain any concrete details indicating suicide, but showed that she was greatly affected by Ahn Jae-hwan’s death and the subsequent turmoil.

She was said to have expressed prior to her death: “I’m saddened at the people of this world. I don’t understand why they’d torment someone with accusations of moneylending or whatnot.”


Choi Su-jong, Jung Jun-ho

Friends and former co-stars are in shock; her co-star from the 1992 drama Jealousy, Choi Su-jong, “conveys his utmost condolences and grief.” Seeing some hateful replies online that were posted in response to the news of her death, he deplored, “How can anyone act like this?”

Apparently the day before her death, Choi had spoken to her Last Scandal co-star Jung Jun-ho over the phone and told him, “What’s wrong with this world?” When it was falsely circulated that she’d lent Ahn Jae-hwan money (she’s a good friend of his widow), leading to his suicide, some people even called her a ruthless loan shark and implied she had a role in his murder. (The murder rumors are spurious and unfounded.)


When asked on the 2nd if those words indicated that she’d decided to end her life, Jung was unable to speak for a long moment. He then said, “With our upcoming drama [Last Scandal season 2], I had been talking with Jin-shil regularly on the phone. ‘Jun-ho, how can the world accuse me of being a loan shark? This isn’t happening, is it?’ she kept asking.”

Jung had told her, “It must be upsetting, but it’s a stress that famous people have to put up with, isn’t it? Time will take care of things. You told the police the whole truth in the investigation, didn’t you?” However, he added, “I never could have even dreamed that she would do something so extreme.”

 



The clusterf*ck around Choi’s home

 
Choi Jin-shil’s manager was completely shocked at the news: “I didn’t get that feeling from her at all.”

Choi had made her last phone call at about 4 am on the morning she was discovered, to a friend who says, “I think she had been drinking. She lamented over her burdens for a long while.” As her mother found her body a mere two hours later (at approximately 6:15 am), this friend was likely the last person who spoke to Choi.

The friend continued, “Because it was such a late hour, after listening to her grievances for a long time, I told her, ‘Even if only for the sake of your children, be strong. Let’s talk again on a brighter day’ and hung up the phone. I couldn’t even imagine this would happen.”

Actress Kim Hee-sun posted a message on her personal homepage reading: “Beloved unni, please don’t be troubled by people up in heaven and be happy…be well!! I love you…”

The drama that was to be Choi’s next project, Last Scandal Season 2, is now up in the air despite being fairly far along in the planning process. The first season ended in April to much popularity and spawned the word “jumarella” to refer to Choi Jin-shil’s ajumma Cinderella character. The sequel was to reprise Choi and Jung Jun-ho as the two leads; screenplays were in the process of being written and filming to begin in December, to air early next year. At the moment, a production rep said the project will probably be discontinued, although no official decisions have been made.

 

Paying their respects —

Younger brother Choi Jin-young:

Ex-husband Jo Sung-min, former co-star Ahn Jae-wook (Star in My Heart):

One of Choi Jin-shil’s best friends Jung Sun-hee (Ahn Jae-hwan’s widow):

Another good friend Uhm Jung-hwa:

Good friend Shin Ae, with whom Choi was known to have a sisterly relationship; her children call Shin Ae “aunt.”

Last Scandal co-stars Byun Jung-soo and Jung Woong-in:

Lee Byung-heon and Lee Sora:

Last Scandal of My Life co-star Lee Young-ja, who’d known Choi for more than ten years, was reportedly unable to control her emotions at the funeral location. She cried out, “I’ll die with you” and made odd neck-grasping gestures while others stopped her.

Rose-colored Life co-star Sohn Hyun-joo:

Jo Yeon-woo and Lee Deok-hwa:

Actress Lee Seung-yeon:

Via IS Plus, JoongAng Ilbo, IS Plus, No Cut News, DongA.com

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I'm still in shock; can't believe she's gone.

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this is really saddening...especially for her kids!

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This is so sad :(
rip.

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Thank you for the quick update. I really appreciate this.

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it still does not seem real. thank you esp for the link to sports chosun photos. looking at them, it feels an era truly is no more with her passing.

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This is really sad news. My prayers for her little ones.

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what a shocking news....it's unbelievably crazy! i just can't stop thinking how korean entertainers are so prone to tragedy lately, accidents, suicides, their everywhere! I thought Lee Eon's death was the last of this but unfurtunately faith has way of playing with people...I just hope she finds peace in death that she never found in life...

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depressing news..R.I.P 최진실... i loved her so much in last scandal!

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truly very sad at all these deaths.
Ahh I recognized her bro Jin-young from We Got Married. He seems like a really cool person. I feel sad for him and other friends and family.

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Jung Sun-hee , Choi's friend, her husband passed away last month, and now Choi. I can't help crying seeing her in above picture.
so sad!

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Is it me or is the suicide rate for Korean celebrities really high?

It's very sad. :(

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I hardly believe Last Scandal that I just finished watch not so long ago is also Choi Jin Shil's last drama. RIP..

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I disappear for a few hours and come back to this news?! With all the celebrities deaths that had happened, I have not been this shocked. I was in a short state of disbelief, thinking maybe that the header should have read 'attempted suicide' and Choi Jin Shil is in the hospital and all the garbled stuff that goes through your mind when you refuse to believe something.

Choi Jin-shil is one of my favorite actress from the pre-Korean Wave era, she is all so worthy of the 'versatile' tag that I love to put on actors (though not many deserves it). I was happy that she was able to seek a satisfying closure to her family problems and looking forward to seeing her give her best in her future roles.

I saw the picture of Lee Byeong-heon, and I thought: he came back for a friend's wedding to attend another friend's funeral. Can the world be more wrecked?

I hope no one makes another comment about being irresponsible and being a coward (I understand many will think about her young kids). The degree of desperation that triggers the thought of suicide is beyond anyone's understanding. To go through the action of murdering yourself is a scary thing, imagine her desperate need to get away from all the malicious rumours.

The media has been let off too easily, if anyone deserves some form of verbal-bashing, it's them. Famous 1930s Shanghainese actress Ruan Ling-yu famous words before her suicide : 人言可畏 Be fearful of man's words.

Thank you Choi Jin-shil, for giving us some of the best performances in kdrama world. R.I.P.

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I am very sad before the dead of Choi Jin Shil. She is good actress of korea entertainment but unhappiness. I am worry for her two child. They are deprived of mother When so chilhood.
Choi Jin Shil was leaved forever. I hope she will find peacefully in heaven.
To sad for her family!

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I too had imagined her such a strong woman, getting through her very public divorce, yet still having such a solid and respected career. When she added her children to her family register and talked of never marrying again, I was thinking she was a great example to women that they can overcome the stigma of divorce and be successful. I guess after going through so much during her divorce, she had no fight left in her to deal with these latest cruel rumors. Choi Jin-shil, I adored you and hate it that your life had to end this way. RIP and God bless your beautiful children. Javabeans, thanks for keeping us updated on all the news.

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This is just so heartrending, it makes me sick.

She was such a solid fixture & familiar face--building her career from the grounds up through sheer grit, determination, and love for her family (first, her mother & brother, and then, her children). She wasn't the most versatile actress, but her relatability quote was unlike anyone else. She was very hard to dislike, and if her talents didn't woo everyone, her life story certainly did. She wasn't the coy, elusive star, she was the down-to-earth, next-door neighbor 'unni,' then 'ajumma' who grew more beautiful & showed more promise with each year. She had such a smile, not one that dazzled, but which just warmed your heart. And it just breaks my heart to think that someone who had lit the screens for some twenty years hit such despair that she couldn't even hang onto her children any more.

Her name was Jinshil or 'verity,' 'truth,' and it feels as if we let her down. She seemed like the rare female star who could navigate the tricky waters of fame & celebrity into old age & maturity, and it's very hard to accept such a spirit just broke.

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this is too sad...
so many deaths lately..

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I heard the news last night, and I'm still in shock. Her poor kids... and poor Jung Sun-Hee has to go through this all over again!! I just hope no more celebrities follow that path.

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netizens who drove her to death are to blame. i still can't believe Choi Jin Shil is gone. this world is truely evil....

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This is so sad.. I'm in tears just reading this story/entry..

Its also extremely sad that there's so many people who love her that are in so much pain that they would want to join Choi Jin Shil too.

condolensces to the family, especially now the two children are without a mother.

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This is so, so incredibly sad that I don't have words for it. The wave of deaths has affected everyone, and if I feel so shitty I simply can't imagine what these people are going through. It is just so terrible.

I have a deep, dark hatred in my heart for all trolls and all those netizens who make it their business to talk rubbish and spread dirt, who have no humanity and don't care at all what words they choose or what they say. They will get their due, and I hope they will feel the pain that all those who knew Choi Jin Shil are feeling. That is a vengeful thing to say, but almost all the time you hear about the cruelty thrown out at celebrities and how it has traumatized and affected them, and you wonder where the limit is?! I for one am just sick of it all. I know there was a lot more to add to the situation, and I'm also sorry to hear that she had been drinking, but to spend your life working hard and building your reputation and taking care of your family and friends and then to be blamed for your friend's death: that has to be just devastating.

One thing I keep thinking: what will happen to Jung Sun Hee? I hope she has people who will help her out of the darkness that these deaths will take her to. It is heart wrenching to think of all she has lost barely a few months after being so happily married, and to live with the burden of all of this.

May they all find peace.

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So sad.. can't even imagine what Jung Sun-hee is going through.. Rip.

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this is so unexpected.
My condolences to her children, family and friends.
Hope they will stay strong. Jung Sun-hee please stay strong!
RIP

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what a really sad news and sad world we live in...
sometimes we just don't realise on what we say or do, it hurts others...
let us all take a deep moment and try to be a better person in every single day and every single way, if we can't do this for ourselves at least do this for our loved ones...
sometimes people call this kind of act a coward, but let's not judge on anything, let's take this as a thing to REMIND us not to hurt others intentionally....
REST IN PEACE, may GOD bless you and your 2 children

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this is so sad. i can't believe i'm going to read about another actor's death after Ahn Jae-hwan's suicide and Lee Eon's accident. So many died this year. Hope she is the last.

I hate those netizens who posted messages like that against her. Couldn't they be more understanding? She is just like any other person who has her own problems. She is not perfect and no one deserves to be treated that way. Just because they are hiding behind an assumed name online doesn't mean that what they did won't come back to them. There's always karma you know.

Another good actress gone...she is a loss to the industry.

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heart....breaking.

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i read on the papers a few weeks ago that a korean girl commited suicide after encountering many threats of cyber bullying - the internet has spilled over to real life.. seems to me that the korean cyberworld is really vicious. looks like koreans have got to solve this problem asap.

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i still can't believe it... it's just so sad. and to see jung sun-hee's picture is even sadder. first she loses her husband, and then one of her best friend so soon after.

thanks for the update javabeans.

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Completely. Shocked.

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SHOOT. i forgot choi jin young was her younger brother.

i remember when he and shinae came out on radiostar, they also made a phone call to choi jinshil during the recording...... they also talked to her kids......

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It amazes me how people could be so heartless as to accuse her of being a loan shark because she lent her money to a close friend. And now after her suicide, people are commenting how she could be so selfish as to leave her kids alone and traumatized. These are netizens who don't personally know her at all but feel the right to judge her. I am beyond baffled.

I can't believe her death, I still feel this isn't real.

Rest In Peace.

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Jung Sun-Hee's picture made me really tear up- the ultimate picture of grief. Having your husband and your friend commit suicide in one month, I hope there is a grief counselor on hand. I want to see her a year from now, able to smile freely.

And I didn't get how even if she had loaned him money- would it have been a bad thing. Wouldn't it have helped him pay his other debts. If my friend was in debt, I would have loaned her money.

There were other factors besides cruel netizens pushing her to believe that the only way out was death. However, I do think there need to be some public awareness about getting help when one is depressed and about the cruelty of netizens. I hope these netizens realized that they had pushed someone over the edge- that they had killed someone even if they didn't wield the murder weapon. I hope they learn from this. I can't believe her mother had to be the one to find her body- having your child dead first.

my condolences to her friends and family. I hope the children will go with some member of her family and not with the ex-husband who had abused her.

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The image of Jung Sun-hee is just heart-breaking. This is so depressing...

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This is so.. augh. So heartbreaking... especially that picture of Jung Sunhee crying her heart out. It must be so tough for her...

I really, really hate how extreme netizen's comments can be. There are always rude, thoughtless people on the internet, but it seems like Koreans are the most ruthless. Even when someone dies or commits suicide, there are stupid blockheads who have the nerve to shoot down that person even more. Are they really that selfish? Just because they're hiding behind some online username doesn't mean they can post such heartless comments or make stupid accusations and assumptions. It's not like they personally know the celebrity and the celebrity's personal life and troubles. My GOD it pisses me off.

I hope Choi's family can pull through these difficult times...

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you know, i watched "last scandal" because you had raved about it. and really loved the show. that was the first time i've seen her act. this news is so sad. rumors can be so hurtful. and the pictures of those grieving makes me want to cry. oh, and her poor children. i'm glad they weren't the ones who found her.

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Seriously, somebody should put Jung Sun-hee on a 24 suicide watch. I'm worried about her.

Choi Jin Shil. I'm speechless. This is devastating, 2 suicides in a month. She seemed like one of the strong ones...I feel really sorry for her kids and her mom. I've downloaded Last Scandal but will probably never watch it now. It's too much for me to take.

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Such a tragic loss.....

As for the other comments, If netizens always agreed with each other, then the net would be a very dull place. With that said, I'm one of those evil jerks who think that she was selfish to an extent.

//rant//
Contrary to anyone's belief, we as people have responsibilities. She had a responsibility to her children (the most important), her family, and her friends (not as important, depending on the type of relationships she had of course). She let them down in ways most people will never comprehend. To me, by committing suicide she pretty much said "F-it" I don't want to be a responsible person to the people I love and cared about. Don't get me wrong, it's VERY sad to hear about this, but I don't think its fair either to paint her as a perfect angel since there are some many broken pieces that will NEVER get picked up.

//rant off//

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omg
man!
what a huge loss!
wow!
omg this is soo sad.

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Sad.... Korean celebrities are dropping like flies.. It makes me wonder who's next... Well, I hope this is the last one.

RIP

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wow, this is just saddening; i feel for her two children left behind, they'll grow up without a mother...and to have Jung Sun-hee go through this all over again, first her husband and now her best friend....be strong Jung Sun-hee!!!!

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This is so sad...her poor mother who found her..I can't even imagine how that felt. And her friends and kids...RIP Choi Jin Shil

Javabeans, I remember reading in one of your past posts about things coming in threes...let's all hope this is the last one :(

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i hope Jung Sun-hee's family is carefully watching over her...this is just too much! so much grief in just one month...

*knock on wood*

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I have to repeat previous comments about the need for people to watch over Jung Sun Hee. She is in such a fragile state... same goes for Lee Young Ja. Man, I remember so many funny stories about this circle of friends whenever they were guests on talk shows.

It still doesn't make sense to me that this is how her life has ended. She's been through hell and back and hell again a couple more times, but any hardship she had to go through, she still managed to make a comeback. Her endless love for her children was also one particular virtue about Choi Jin Shil that everyone knew about. She's such a strong woman and mother that it's hard to believe she ended her own life in suicide.

I'm not saying it was cold blooded murder. Maybe she did hang herself, but it wasn't a voluntary desicion. Maybe not only her life was being threatened, but also the lives of her children, so her only option was to take herself out of the equation. I know it sounds like I'm grasping at straws here, but I kind of refuse to believe this strong, loving mother would ever voluntarily make the decision to end her life.

All I know is, this actress is an icon and her name will forever be written in huge ass letters under the Korean drama syllabus. For me, the end of her life will always carry a bolded question mark, suicide? or some other explanation we'll never know about?

ETA: I'm getting boxes of tissue lined up when coverage of her funeral starts airing on TV. Choi Jin Shil isn't just another TV star. She's one of those big name stars that everyone in Korea knows, from young to old. And not just a friend to many peers, but she's a sunbae who all the younger actors and actresses look up to. Her death has already made worldwide news. Not just in Asia, but I've seen her articles online at BBC, LA Times, Yahoo. Just imagine how shaken up the people in Korea are. It's a nationwide loss.

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Choi Jin-shil lead a hard life-fame isnt everything
Even though she was famous, her husband beat her habitually and ...gah. Im too sad.

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Its so saddening how one person's suicide (mr. ahn's) had such a widespread and devastating ripple affect... to the point where ANOTHER person commits suicide... this is just too shocking. And I'm afriad to say this, cause it sounds horrible, but these incidents happen so often now that I think I'm becoming desensitized...

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"And not just a friend to many peers, but she’s a sunbae who all the younger actors and actresses look up to. Not just in Asia, but I’ve seen her articles online at BBC, LA Times, Yahoo. Just imagine how shaken up the people in Korea are. It’s a nationwide loss."

Well said ndegeocello.

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this is just too sad.
i feel really bad for her good friends, especially that widow..
she probably feels that she has no one left.

RIP

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I agree with the comments regarding Jung Sun Hee. May God bless her with strength in these times. She needs it the most. I cant imagine what her and her friends are going through right now.

May Choi JinShil's family be blessed with strength in these times also.

Rest in Peace

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I'm just worried about Jung Sung Hee. LSOML2's cancellation is sad, CJS's death is horrifying. But it's now done. She has chosen her path and nothing can be done. I only hope she's happy in heaven. But even after death, she still hasn't been able to stop the rumors, has she? This is one of those moments where I REALLY hate netizens, reporters. They might not have been all, but they WERE the final stroke. She already fought through so much, got back on her feet, and now they blame her for her friend's death? And, I mean, look at them still PREYING on her after death!

I don't get suicide, but I know CJS was in great pain and those around them now needs comfort and privacy, not this. And the deceased certainly does not need criticism.

But back to JSH... With two great emotional shocks, I really hope she has a great support system and toughen it out. I don't want to hear about another incident like this. Enough is enough already.

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I wonder if she was taking any medication for her depression?

This hits very close to home because my father had depression when he was in his 40s. In Asian culture there's still a stigma about going to a psychiatrist but luckily his work paid for it and my dad was forced to go by my mom.

The doctor prescribed some medication for him and within a few months he was completely fine. Depression is a physical illness that does need to be treated. It's not a simple "mental" issue.

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