Celebrity News
Seo Woo caught fibbing about her age
by | September 10, 2009 | 30 Comments

Spunky Seo Woo (Crush and Blush) is the latest actor to be caught in a lie about her age (others: Sunwoo Sun, Lee Shi-young, Hyun Young), as it has been revealed that she is three years older than previously believed. She was thought to be 21 (or 22 by Korean count) and born in 1988; in actuality, she is 24, born in 1985. Her real name has also been revealed as Kim Mun-joo, although that’s not such a surprise, since she has acknowledged that Seo Woo is a stage name.

Her management has stated that discrepancy is their fault, and not a result of Seo Woo’s intention to lie about her age: “We hope that criticism will not be directed at her. We’re sorry and ask for your forgiveness.”

I don’t think this is much of a big deal, and I doubt it’ll have much of an effect on her career; it’s more of a matter of interest than a controversy. In this age of the internet, it’s interesting that people continue to try to fudge ages, although Seo Woo’s very youthful face probably helped with the perception.

In the meantime, she is currently acting in Tamra the Island, and has spoken out several times to express her sorrow at the early ending. She’s also apologized to viewers, feeling that the show’s lack of success is largely her fault. Next up, she has the October release of her movie Paju to look forward to, which co-stars Lee Seon-kyun.

Via Segye


30 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. mishane

    She is really friggin pretty.

    And isn’t this pretty common? To lie about your age, I mean.

    Reminds me a bit of Rachel McAddams (sp?). No one knows her real age, lol. It’s believed to be 31 or 32 but has gone up to 33 and down to 29.

    Also, Asians are MEAN when it comes to age, lol. I’m 23 but all Caucasians I know think I’m 18 or younger but when an Asian person comes up to me, they guess 26 or so. I don’t know how much longer I can rely on the Asian gift of looking younger than my age. 🙁

  2. mcjayjay

    it may not be a big deal to us, but to the koreans, everything is a freakin big deal concerning the celebs. ofcourse her agency is scared they might slash and critisize her; with the recent jaebum of 2pm <3 incident, im not surprised at anything those korean fans can do.

    @1: haha when i went to china, my friend who was 14 was told she was 22 (4 years older than me), and also another was told she was 20 while she was only 16. however they guessed my age right, im 18 =P.

  3. BellaMafia

    “She’s also apologized to viewers, feeling that the show’s lack of success is largely her fault. ”

    Why did she say that? What did she do wrong? Was it because of her real age? or her acting, maybe? something else? can somebody please explain it more to me?
    I haven’t seen Tamra yet, but really looking forward to watch it, as soon as they finish airing the whole episodes …*sigh.. 16 short episodes*

  4. Samsooki

    How much of the apology for the drama’s lack of success is ritualistic?

    You know, how like when you visit someone’s house for dinner, and the first thing out of the cooker’s mouth is, “I am sorry that this is all we have to serve to you, but…” And the ritualistic response being “Oh, this is delicious and more than enough, thank you so much!” or something like that… I’m not being cynical, just wondering. I’ve not watched Tamra, and I have no idea who Seo Woo is (other than seeing her every now and then on javabeans’ site).

    She IS pretty though, really pretty (not my style however). Lying about one’s age? I’m not sure it makes a bit of difference…. If you told me she was 21 I would say, okay. If she then says, I’m really 25, I would say, okay…? Of course, it makes a HUGE difference (eye-gouging) if she says she is 21 but she’s really 16, but that’s not the case here…

  5. heejung

    @2: oh my god, the 2pm incident. i still can’t believe how big the whole thing blew up!! i mean, for chrissakes, it was four years ago. oh man. netizens… SIGH

  6. mishane

    @ Samsooki

    Of course, it makes a HUGE difference (eye-gouging) if she says she is 21 but she’s really 16

    Haha, yes, that would make a VERY big deal. . .

    Also, I do believe a lot of it is ritual, like you said. When you apologize for something you know is not your fault, you just say it to be gracious.

  7. javabeans

    I’m inclined to believe her apology is more sincere than not. I’ve read several articles and it seems the Tamra cast (Seo Woo and Im Joo-hwan) are taking the show’s cut-down to heart, and they seem to feel genuinely bad as the two leads. Based on interviews that I’ve seen and read, Seo Woo doesn’t seem the type for false modesty — she’s rather blunt, actually — so it’s my impression that she apologized out of a real feeling of guilt, misplaced though it may be since I wouldn’t fault her for the drama’s weak performance. Of course, you may not get the same impression, but that’s my take.

    @mcjayjay, I actually don’t think this is a big deal even to Koreans. Lying about age is fairly common (and is in no way comparable to bashing a country, for instance). Lee Shi-young and Sunwoo Sun are two of the more recent “outings,” and nobody really cared after the initial discovery. It helps that Seo Woo has been praised for her acting (Crush and Blush).

  8. phi

    I’m not sure why she said it was her fault for the show not having a good rating.

    IMHO, a show that has good/bad rating has nothing to do with one/two actors/actresses. It’s the WHOLE PACKAGE that either hit or miss what the public mass expected

    As for the ‘age discrepancy’, it’s not a big deal to me but I guess people in Korea view it’s as one is not honest about him/herself. Korean nertizens are quite scary

  9. untruthful

    seriously why lie about your real age in the first place?
    does age play a big factor in becoming a celebrity, is that why they are doing it?
    people say celebrities lying about age is not a big deal but the way i see it is that lying is lying..i think by lying about their age they are only inviting criticism and scandalous headlines. STOP LYING ABOUT YOUR DAMN AGE!!!

  10. 10 Sonam

    22 or 24, she looks 15! It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s how old you look!

  11. 11 langdon813

    I think Seo Woo is very fortunate; she looks at least 10 years younger than she really is and she seems to be a well rounded actress as well. It’s a big stretch from naive, dreamy Beo-jin to a young high-school femme fatale-ish character playing opposite Lee Seon-kyun! She may end up rivaling Yoon Eun-hye for landing some pretty choice projects early in her career.

    I also think the cast and crew of Tamra seem to really be taking the low ratings to heart, which is such a shame because the ratings don’t reflect the quality of the show at all, not by a long shot! The acting, directing, cinematography…all top-notch. It’s gorgeous to look at, extremely entertaining, and I’m going to miss it when it’s over.

  12. 12 naomi

    for me, i really enjoy the drama tamra the island, for once i like everything (characters/actors, music, and the beautiful decor) it’s a such heartbreak that it’s not more successful, it has so much potential, i guess it was a very bad timing to let it go against the sons of sol pharmacy.

    i actually don’t understand how can some drama ( ex: lady catsle/ boys over flowers…) with always the same plot can have all the rating

    sorry for my english but i just wanted to give another opinion.

  13. 13 eclipse

    Geez, it`s only three years different! It`s not a big deal!

    Oww… so sad upon hearing their feeling sorry for the bad rating 🙁 I hope with support of their Korean fans and in other country also, would comfort them…

  14. 14 amy

    I hate how these reporters pick a victim and try to stir reactions online using such provocative heading to things that are not even a big deal to get more hits on their articles and make things sound worse than they really are. (Case in point – the late Jaebum issue) Management companies manipulating the age on major portal sites are fairly common in Korea, even if their actors have officially told their fans their real ages through their fan sites. And it’s the celebrities that get bashed on when people “find out” that the information on those sites turn out to be incorrect. I wish Mgmt companies wouldn’t force their clients (or slaves) lie about the age.

  15. 15 Anonymous

    Personally, I think that by saying lying about one’s entertainment age is no big deal is not the right way to respond to this. It’ll only encourage other up & comers (shin-ins and their management companies) in the entertainment industry to do the same if there’s little backlash for lying about it.

    If you think about it. The difference between 22 and 25 for a Korean entertainer, or any entertainer in general, is huge not only in terms of public perception or garnering fans, but mostly importantly for getting first casted as a nobody by producers and directors.

    It’ so much more difficult to make it through the auditions if you’re in your mid-to late 20s when you’re new to the industry, and don’t really have a name for yourself, then it is if you’re in your early 20s; there’s just a lot less opportunities available because of solely your age. So, by brushing this off as no big deal, in my opinion, only encourages other 25 years old who seem to be having a difficult time getting cast in a role to about their age, or at least tells them that it won’t be a big deal since people don’t seem to care after it’s revealed.

    Also, just to make myself clear…
    Obviously, I’m not asking for her to get punished for what she or her management company did, but I think that this issue should be dealt with in a different way instead saying it’s not a big deal.

  16. 16 Anonymous

    Also, on the various search engines it said that she was still attending university but after a person came out and said that she was a classmate of Seo Woo’s from High School that basically forced her company to admit her real age.

    Further, the reason that the company gave for lying is lame. Just because she might look younger than her age, doesn’t mean it’s okay to cut 3 years off and tell people she was born in 1988.

    Personally, I don’t really care, but I guess I’m just a bit annoyed since this issue comes up from time to time, and the excuses that are given for why they lied about their age tries to curt around the real reason- that for an entertainer one’s age IS very important.

  17. 17 robbo4

    How ironic that the player most responsible for the viewing audience, such as it was, is taking the blame for the show’s low rating. As ratings are largely the work of statistical formulas based on a small sampling, there is often as much science fiction as there is “science” in their accuracy. Many a popular show has gone under only to live on in the hearts and minds of it’s fans and it’s influence on future projects. ( I believe the original Star Trek is the most blatent representation of a misfiring of the ratings system.) As mentioned in earlier post, it is often management that fixes a talent’s “age” for the purpose of opening the door to opportunity, with the ends often justifying the means. I can’t help but think about the landlady for the vampire family in Hello Franceska (Mrs. Aneong aka Park Hee Jin) who posed as a 23 year old whose cover was blown by her daughter who revealed to the papers that she was actually 44. This made for an embarrassing “situation.”

    Whether Miss Seo is 22 or 25 makes no impact on the fact that she is indeed, a very talented and very beautiful young actress. It must have beeen a slow news day…

  18. 18 all4movies

    21 or 24? that’s still young to me.

    It doesn’t make any difference to me.

  19. 19 ockoala

    I can be all holier-than-thou and say that “lying”, no matter the reason or the scope/tenor of the lie, is wrong no matter what. Or I can be practical and say that this totally doesn’t matter with respect to her skills and ability as an actress (i.e. to look beautiful, emote appropriately, and be courteous and polite in public as an idol).

    However, this type of pervasive in the industry shaving of years really needs to be stopped, because it’s to gain an additional advantage for the actress. Imagine if I put on my resume that I attend X ivy-league university instead of Y-state college, really, I still got my degree, but I am telling a fib in my attempt to obtain employment because I know said fib may gain me an additional advantage. It’s wrong, and when caught lying on one’s resume, usually one’s employment is in jeaopardy.

    If an actress shaves her age at the behest or it being done by her management company, unless she burns her bridges and comes clean, she’s really between a rock and a hard place. I think this societal fixation on youth and age as an arbitrary number to denote attractiveness is the culprit, so I have no ax to grind with Seo Woo or want to chastise her for something really that harmed no other than another actress who may have gotten a role that went to Seo Woo because she lied about her age. And if that was the criteria the production company used, then that sucks all around.

  20. 20 Muffin

    Unless you are in the industry, unless you are the one trying to win a role against 100’s of others, unless you are the one being told by your management company that this is what you do and this is how it’s done… I don’t see where you have room to reprimand.

    Welcome to world, entertainment and otherwise.

  21. 21 more

    Can someone explain to me how your older in korean then you are in American i know Asia is on other sides of the world but dame does that that effect your age???

  22. 22 anna

    Well, it doesn’t matter much, she still has a baby face. On the other hand, her “lolita” movie probably wouldn’t be the same anymore since we know her real age.

  23. 23 belleza

    “unless you are the one being told by your management company that this is what you do and this is how it’s done… ”

    Pretty much. Look, no actor or actress would be normally inclined to lie about their age. That would be something management would recommend, just as in most cases, they would recommend many actors to take on stage names.

    I think the age thing is mostly about when an actor or actress effectively debuts. As a “rookie”, the PDs and companies will take more chances on you if they view you as a early 20-something playing young. However, if you’re a 26-27 years old rookie, there may be a stigma on you for future projects.

    There seems to be an influx of youth dramas lately, and if you look up the ages, the actresses are often well in their 23-27 range and are playing much younger than age.

    Huge demand, limited supply. Casting is brutal everywhere.

  24. 24 bomi

    oh man this girl….
    she’s “pretty”
    i mean… she got too much done to her face i think….

  25. 25 asianromance

    @21 More
    Not totally sure, but in Asia, you’re already one years old when you’re born- they count you as being alive while you’re gestating in the womb.

    not that big a deal that Seo Woo shaved two years off her age- as long as she wasn’t using her fake age to do something illegal (which mostly happens when you pretend to be older than you are, not younger)

  26. 26 more

    asianromance @ wtf they count when your in the womb wow so then in korean im much older kinda cool and strange

  27. 27 John

    There are THREE lead actors dammit! Why is everyone so “math challenged” when it comes to counting Pierre Deporte (a.k.a. Hwang Chan Bin) as one of them?


    1) The hardline, old-school Korean “haters” don’t like the fact that he’s not Korean enough.

    2) The hardline, “we’re-number-one” Americans don’t like the fact that he’s French. (And, by definition, not American enough.)

    3) The people in question can’t read and/or haven’t watched the show. I mean his name is listed “right there”, and he shows up in the show…well…every friggin’ episode! (“_”)

    4) Certain people are colorblind and can’t see any shade of white. (“Hmm… Why’s that blond wig jumping around all by itself? And how come those clothes and shoes are moving? And why is that fluent Korean and/or French-accented English popping out of thin air? Am I missing something?”)

    5) Viewers hate the hair extensions he has to wear, and keep blanking them (along with poor Mr. Deporte) from their memories.

    6) All of the above.

    In any case, there are still THREE leads dammit! 😛

  28. 28 John

    Now that that’s off my chest… (Three leads, people! Oh, sorry…still winding down…)

    Why the heck are Koreans still so obsessed with age? I mean, Confucius has been dead for how long now? And isn’t everyone and/or his/her aunt/uncle claiming to be a Christian these days? (You know the age-worship thing comes straight from Confucianism, right? So the Christian-Confucian mix makes for a tough pill to swallow.)

    OMFG! Seo Woo is older than she said she was! The shock! The…awwww! (Now that she’s a friggin’ grandma, I ain’t gonna watch her no more!)

    I just finished watching a K Drama where the female lead’s character is…gasp, let me steady myself…NINE years older than her 24-year-old boyfriend!!!~ (If you brought up anything like that as being significant on this side of the big pond, you’d get your A$$ laughed all the way back to Korea.)

    So, for those of you who still think it really matters how old someone is:


  29. 29 sacha

    Could care less how old she is/ claimed to be. Only disturbed severely by her face. Everything about her face makes me feel uncomfortable. It looks like it’s made from wax. Especially them eyes, if they bulged any bigger they’d pop outta her face.
    Hope she hurries up and admits to all the stuff she’s had done.

  30. 30 Nene

    i don’t care what peoples say, but Seo Woo ( Kim Mun-joo) is still the best! 😀

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