Celebrity News
Joo Ji-hoon busted for drug use
by | April 25, 2009 | 402 Comments

Whoa. Five people have been busted for drug trafficking, selling, and/or use — and three of them celebrities.

Most shocking is the involvement of popular actor Joo Ji-hoon, of movies Antique Bakery and The Naked Kitchen.

A representative from the Seoul police’s drug investigation department told reporters on April 26, “Joo Ji-hoon was investigated and admitted to drug use.” Joo reportedly bought the drugs — which include Ecstasy and Ketamine — from a fellow celebrity. Two non-celebrity individuals were booked for drug use along with Joo, but the three were not jailed. Police have filed for arrest warrants for the traffickers, movie actress Yoon Seol-hee and model Yeh Hak-young.

According to the police, Yoon is suspected of having received approximately 100 million won ($75,000) from Yeh and others between August 2007 through December 2008. She allegedly traveled from Japan fourteen times to purchase, smuggle, and sell Ecstasy and Ketamine. (Yeh supposedly accompanied her several times.) The drugs had been smuggled into the country by concealing them in underclothes worn by Yoon.

Joo Ji-hoon is thought to have used the drugs on two occasions along with the other reported individuals, at a Kangnam club and at home.

The 26-year-old Joo Ji-hoon shot to fame after acting the lead role of the prince in the incredibly popular teen drama Goong (Princess Hours) in 2006, which he followed with the dark thriller drama Devil in 2007. Most recently, he took the lead in the manga-adapted film Antique Bakery and the offbeat romance The Naked Kitchen.

YIIIIKES. I’m guessing he’ll be dropped from the Tokyo Tower remake now — if not prevented from acting altogether. Drug use — particularly in South Korea — is a big, big deal, and potentially career-killing stuff. Don’t do drugs, folks!


Joo Ji-hoon, Yoon Seol-hee, Yeh Hak-young

There isn’t much information available on Yoon Seol-hee, other than that she is an actress who was born in 1982.

Yeh Hak-young, on the other hand, was born in 1983 and got his start as a model in 2001, and appeared in numerous clothing, cell phone, and other advertisements, as well as music videos for groups like SG Wannabe and Gavy NJ. He made his first acting appearance in the MBC Nonstop sitcom series, then acted in the 2006 cable television version of Dasepo Naughty Girls, and Hyun Bin and Lee Yeon-hee’s Millionaire’s First Love.


Yoon Seol-hee has confessed more names of individuals who took drugs from her. Of the approximately 15 additional names, there are seven or eight more celebrities. Police will be following with investigation of those additional parties, “some of whom are as widely known as Joo.” Eep! This thing could get big(ger) and ugly(er).

Via Herald Biz, My Daily, Yonhap News


402 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. xiaoSxin

    oh my god.. all my fantasies of Joo Ji Hoon are now obliterated into oblivion.. I can not believe this story

  2. panshel

    This is shocking. I wonder what will become of his career.

  3. GreenFreak

    Wow… just finished The Devil and Antique Bakery this weekend… the smoking in AB was a little bothersome but now… real drug use… Oh.My.Goodness… too bad.. it sounds like a career ending mistake…

  4. Liss

    This is terribly sad…:( With a little luck his carrer will survive…well i hope that! because he’s so good looking πŸ˜‰

  5. Anonymous

    I can’t believe this either! I just finished watching Goong, and now when I think about the drama, I’ll think about this too πŸ™ Why did you do it Joo Ji Hoon??

  6. esther

    oh my this is indeed a career killer.
    i became a fan of him for Devil not of Goong because in Devil it showed his true acting side… and yet….. all that went down the drain….
    this is what happens when one does drugs! its just bad!!!
    and what is worse is that the other actress… god.
    She was trafficking those drugs! what an idiot!

  7. xoxcinderellaxox


    I did not see this coming AT ALL! My dear Joo Ji Hoon doing drugs? This is too hard to believe! OMG! So crazy. (I’m reading this while I’m watching Protege, a Chinese movie about drugs) So, yeah, too much info about drugs today!

    This is so shocking and just so out-of-the-blue! I did notice that he looked like a user in some of his pics but I assumed it was just coz of his build. This so shocking!

    Dramabeans, I know this isn’t a joke but part of me, like everybody else, hope that it is. Thanks for info.

  8. joicy

    Sarah: so Yoon is an actress or actor? Because you said “she” in the next paragraph, I am a little confused πŸ™‚

    JJH , well, using drugs twice and if ectasy, I think is not a big deal in youth. I don’t support for drug use but I know many young people who use ectasy while going to discoteque. And using it twice, it’s really not a big deal, hopefully he did not use more than that to be called “drug addicted”. Well, I really hope that JJH can rise again from this. Hopefully. Maybe it’s better to go away for a while (like military duty) and come back with a sincere appology.

  9. belleza

    “Joo reportedly bought the drugs β€” which include Ecstasy and Ketamine β€” from a fellow celebrity.”

    . . . while having a pacifier in his mouth . . . lager lager lager . . .

    “because he’s so good looking ”

    But you wonder if maybe his weight loss has to do with him indulging in the Lindsey Lohan diet or something. All kidding aside, this could be career ending, especially in South Korea. Actors may rebuild their face with silicone, collagen, and botox injections, but they’d be damned if they get sorted for E’s and Whiz.

    I’m not judging him on his recreational choices, but your career is suddenly on lifeline now, and you should have been more careful.

  10. 10 adnama

    Awwww why him, he was one of my favorites. Personally i mean it makes sense hes young, and has money. If he only did it twice while i don’t approve its not like hes a total druggie running around naked in public or something. Compared to hollywood k-entertainment is like the teletubbies. I was looking forward to tokyo tower too, hopefully he apologizes and everything blows over after laying low for a ltitle bit.

  11. 11 Joanna

    Hmm… just wondering, but why is taking drugs career ending material in Korea? In North America it’s almost no big deal and tons of people use them recreationally… not just celebrities, but everyone.
    I understand that there are huge cultural differences, but is there a specific reason for the severity of the consequences?

  12. 12 fizzle

    Ouch, man. Say good-bye to your career, Prince Shin.

  13. 13 Kender

    Wow.. I didn’t see this coming at all. JJH, why~?

    Hopefully he’ll be able to overcome this eventually, because he really is a talented actor, and it’d be a shame for him to be practically blacklisted.. :/

  14. 14 funniebones

    I just finished watching Antique Bakery this week too and I was pleasantly surprised to notice some development from Goong.

    How sad that his career will most likely come to a halt, but at the same time, I cannot promote one ruining his body for the momentary euphoria generated by illegal substances.

    After all, we don’t want the message out there that drug use is glamorous — nevermind that you’re breaking the law and leading yourself to bodily fatal consequences.

  15. 15 byolloo

    the guy looked like a drug taker so im not surprised really.

  16. 16 hqlover

    my poor prince for getting busted…

  17. 17 avonmarissa

    All the best to him recovering from this PR mess. He should have been careful and avoided those drugs altogether considering he lives in a society that is particularly harsh on drug users. The Korean newspapers are already buzzing like crazy over this incident. Poor fella.

  18. 18 capricious

    I’m supposed to be surprised, but why am I not surprised? Part of me always have a feeling that he is a bad, bad, guy. But I guess, involvement in drugs is pushing it too far. I’m not a fan, but I did think he has, or rather had(?), a bright future as an actor. It is such a shame. Hopefully, he and others learn their lessons and back on the right track. and hopefully they would be given second chances.

    • 18.1 Cari

      Doing some kind of drugs doesn’t necessarily make you a “bad, bad person”. Ecstasy isn’t really a big deal… i’ve never done it but i’ve had weed plenty of times. As long as whatever recreational uses you have don’t affect how you treat others or yourself, it shouldn’t matter. It would be different if he was caught with coke, heroin or meth… but ecstasy shouldn’t be treated differently than alcohol. It’s okay for Koreans to drink however much they want… not any different.

  19. 19 Sorrowmask

    Woah.. Such a surprise~~~ He looked tired and terrible in Prada Transformer show… And now drug addicted!!! I think his career in entertainment industry is shut down now…

  20. 20 krnkimbap

    OMG…. I’m so shocked and upset- I thought I was seeing things when I read the title… Drug use is a major no-no in Korea~ Joo Jihoon! I’m so upset… I guess I’ll have to remove him as my laptop wallpaper, sniff sniff*

  21. 21 jo

    wait…there was a drama remake of “A Millionaire’s First love”? unless you meant Hyun Bin & Lee Yeon Hee’s movie….

    oh..yeah..supposed to talk about this thing. meh…I thought Joo jihoon was mighty cute in goong..and then he quit making good stuff…so..I guess this is a bye-bye to his career?

  22. 22 tebeak

    what a disappointment.
    i was never a fan of him but i am still disappointed.
    i guess thats goodbye to his career for the time being.
    has this guy gone to the army yet? if not i think thats the best place for him to go!

  23. 23 joicy

    Well, if it’s true, twice using drugs can’t make a person “drug addicted”. And more K celebrities look equally slim or even slimmer than him. I don’t want to explain for him, but I mean, now the news released and people start the bashing, lol.

    JJH is a heavy smoker (he did not hide it even in Goong’s days) so the fact that he used drug once or twice did not bug me or struck me hard. but yes, it depends on personal opinion. In US, it’s nothing. In Korea, it may be really something. However, I really hope that he may rise back. Celebrities are human and some of them did make mistake, but succeed again. So why not cross your fingers if you really like him??

  24. 24 Sue

    am i the only one that doesn’t care/mind?

    ecstasy and ketamine? …

    i’m sure MANY more celebs even more in the public eye are using. they just aren’t getting caught.

  25. 25 belleza


    “i’m sure MANY more celebs even more in the public eye are using.”

    Most celebs don’t, because in Korea, this is a HUGE deal.


    “Hmm… just wondering, but why is taking drugs career ending material in Korea? ”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Joo Ji Hoon goes to prison. If the investigations show that he aided in distribution, he’s going to prison for a long time. His career as an actor (esp. given his popularity among teen audiences) is already over. I don’t think that can be understated. JJH’s acting career in Korea is dead.

  26. 26 jusash


    And Ouch.

    Recreational drug use is so common here in NAmerica (and globally among those in modelling and showbiz) …
    I didn’t realise the shock severity when reading the topic header: Joo Ji Hun + busted = potential end of career.

    The recent HK spotlight on one of their own detained in Japan – all their tabloids and media were totally buzzing too.

  27. 27 estelle

    Oh my god. I can’t believe this. My beloved Prince Shin! *sighs*

    I hope his career would not be destroyed because of this…

  28. 28 din

    and i’ve just finished watching antique about 5 minutes ago :p and i was like, “i like his acting here (waaay better than in goong), but his character smokes too much.” well, hope it doesn’t affect his career gravely. and just when i started to like his acting. tsk tsk. but i wasn’t shocked with this news either. but dude.. you better stop doing drugs now! anyway, i’ll still be looking forward to watching naked kitchen πŸ™‚

  29. 29 amktsy

    Although i’m not his fan,i feel sad as well.
    an actor which has bright future………..


  30. 30 javabeans

    @Sue, I think this is a matter separate from people’s views on whether drug use is a “big deal” or not. It’s more about how strict Korean society is — and while I’m sure there are other celebs using (see my Update #2 above), I doubt there are actually very many. For one, it’s just not available in Korea, not nearly to the extent you’d see in the Western world. I think belleza’s right on about this one. If you look at precedent, the very few times celebs have been busted on drugs they’ve done prison time — and even less hardcore than E or K, like for pot.

  31. 31 Missemergency

    I’m not all that surprised I bet that JJH thought he was super cool and hardcore popping E at the club, but he should have known that he would get caught. I have no sympathy for someone who A) was dumb enough to do drugs and B) get caught doing drugs. He should have listened when Whitney told us all that “Crack is whack”.

  32. 32 May

    I just hope this isn’t a “tip of the iceberg” scenario with more arrests to follow. The two traffickers seem to have fairly strong ties to the entertainment circle in South Korea.

    As for Joo Ji-hoon, on the surface this seems like it could be occasional partying drug use as opposed to hardcore addict (not offering an excuse for him, just an observation). This makes his situation more lamentable to me, because like dramabeans said this is a “big, big deal”. Society the way it is there, his career is over.

  33. 33 tebeak

    his career started off great with Goong
    then went downhill after wanting more money for his upcoming drama
    it picked up after Antique and now its downhill and most probably a head first plunge after this drug ordeal.

    as an actor, you NEED to have a clean personal life if you want to maintain a long lasting career.

    but i must admit he kind of looked suspicious in his latest appearances.

  34. 34 LaFr4ise

    wow…. didn’t see that coming.. how sad to see a talented actor to use drugs.

    I didn’t really know how strict the Korean Society is but by reading javabeans comment above, apparently Korean is reaaaallllyy strict on drug user/abuser.

    If somebody can explain a bit detail about Korean Society, why the career is over once the celebs use the drugs. Is it because their image already torn in the public? or just because they’re using drugs, they’re a bad person.

    • 34.1 Ahjumma

      I don’t think the Koren society is “too strict”. Drug use is usually a no-no in most East Asian countries, particularly in the Far East. Not a no-no actually: it is taboo. Users are usually busted no matter how small the amount of drugs taken, no matter how “low” the substances are. It’s just against the law, and any person who trespasses the law is to be sentenced–celebrity or not.

      Ji Hon’s “case” is normal among celebs. I mean, he should have known better. There are a lot of celebrities before whose careers totally went down the drain after being caught using prohibited substances. East Asian fans, you see, are very…how do we say this?…keen about their idols. They observe almost every step their idol makes. Idols in both Korean and Japanese societies are seen as “different” simply because they are in the limelight. Their societies aren’t that forgiving, or shall we say lenient, when it comes to drug use. Even simple things such as non-celeb persons caught with celebs are already huge issues, especially in South Korea where there isn’t a paparazzi but a huge network of fans and anti-fans.

      drug use might be nothing to western countries but to us Asians, it is a HUGE mistake that might affect and ruin a person’s entire life–celebrity or not. It might be very difficult for westerners to understand this but we Asians are just like that… hope it is understandable.

      But Ji Hon might be forgiven, given his recent act of enlisting himself in the Army. Maybe he can restart his career in the entertainment business after his military service. it is a very good move and the society is very likely to forgive him for it.(^_^)

  35. 35 Jin-Ah

    I hope he (JJH) doesn’t loose his career over this, but I’m not to optimistic.
    The American in me doesn’t find this to be a big deal…though I understand the societal differences.

    I also figured he was at the very least a pot smoker…. I don’t think that makes him a bad person either… just very human…meaning prone to make mistakes.

  36. 36 travp16

    CRAP!! Noo!!! Schizz, oh man!! Don’t use drugs folks…but i find it a bit harsh if someone goes to jail for a while for using drugs regardless of what country they are in. Drug selling is ten times worse in my book. When using drugs,the only person you hurt is yourself, although you family is affected by the possible irrational behavior…well i guess that means who harm your family too, but NO!! Joo Ji hoon!! WHY!!!

  37. 37 zero2303

    Looks like it is the end of their acting/modelling carreer road for these 3 now.

    Moral of the story, don’t mess with drugs!

  38. 38 took'tis

    whatever going on …but this is not dream it’s real life.

  39. 39 kukku

    In some Asian countries, drug using is illegal but drug users (if caught right after) may be jailed for several days, if caught after I think they may not be jailed. Drug addictive can be put in special place with doctors and nurses (with aggrement of their family) so that they can try to stop using drugs. Drug trafficking and dealing is obviously illegal and the person will be investigated, alleged and put in jail.

    I think if JJH just used the drugs (like paper said, he admitted) he may not be in jail. But if he joined Yoon in distributing or trafficking the drugs, he must be prisoned.

  40. 40 hazel_1282

    Sheeeeeessshhhh….None of those stars is stupid enough to know that drugs are BAD!!!! but they did it anyway, wonder why…..? there’s no excuse for drugs abuse (ex:lame story of being too stressful of living under the spotlight, or using drugs to boost their self esteem in the insanely competitive entertainment industry!).

    My dad killed himself and my sister died of cancer, but I didn’t turn to drugs because trust me it’s not helping, not even making you feel slightly better.

    All my love for JJH just evaporated within seconds (he’s 27 and there’s no way he didn’t know drugs would ruin his newly established career).

  41. 41 anythingcute


    Oppa…. I_I
    does this mean “end” for you?? Please no. and Why..why…??
    Well I guess it’s good to be busted early. clean up your self fast and bounce back ok.!

    ps: I curse those people who smuggled the drugs into Korea and “give” it to Ji Hoon!!! May their underwear be filled with holes and stink!

  42. 42 Jasmin

    Aww, this is such a shame. I fist became a fan of Joo Ji hoon because of Goong. Then he really showed improvement in his acting in Devil. I don’t condone drug use but I really hope this isn’t the end of his career (unless he is sentenced to jail). I just hope he wasn’t a huge part of distributing those drugs cause that is a huge deal. I can understand buying and using for his personal use but to actually be part of distributing is another thing. Ugh….such a shame that such a good looking guy would be going down this path. He was getting such great roles too.

  43. 43 took'tis

    It’s not the end of you oppa get up……………..never give up

    Changed …..

  44. 44 ed

    oh no this really sucks! he was just getting better and better in antique & kitchen. any way to bounce back from this at all? can’t think of anyone who did. an HK singer just ended her career over drugs too. geez it seems everyone gets their hits from japan?

  45. 45 Daisy

    So disappointing. πŸ™

    His career just went down the toilet and so will the careers of the other big name celebs involved. This is just so sad. Drugs are not worth it people!

  46. 46 Yoorie

    This is damn sad news.
    Ma G, its human to wanna try new things but…..you should have enough sense to know that you can not pull it off in a society as strict as yours. My gosh, i always wonder why ppl do crazy things like that if they know the consequences….this still amazes me. All i have to say is….WOW.

  47. 47 havana

    I dont even want this guy Joo Ji Hoon’s dirty name associated with Yoon Eun Hye.

    There is absolutely no excuse for using drugs. I’ve always had this sneaking feeling that he was a drug user cause he always looked stoned. I’m glad he got busted.

    It’s ridiculous that people are makintg excuses for his behaviour.

  48. 48 JQ

    WOW I’m very shocked at this news.
    I don’t think anyone suspected this but now that I look back at his photos, it does seem like he’s out of it. Yeah, his clothes are nice but he looks dead. No life. I hope he learns from this and get what he deserves. If they find him guilty, well too bad. If not, then that’s good. I really, really love him in Goong since it was my first Korean drama so I’m really disappointed when I heard this. And more people are involved? This is bad.

    @ 42 anythingcute: If there weren’t any people like Ju Ji Hoon or anyone else buying drugs, then those people wouldn’t travel all the way to Japan for drugs. It works both ways, hun.

  49. 49 thunderbolt


    What a stupid career-busting thing to do, Joo Ji-hoon. And I was just praising your acting in a recent blog post, too.

  50. 50 ruthie

    omg! why???!! nooohhhh
    this is so scary…we’ll never know what’s gonna happen to his career.
    *sigh* this is really sad.
    this might be the end of his career.
    too bad, he’s an amazing actor.

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