Late K-pop star Sulli’s tumultuous 15-year career in showbiz, summarised
Rest in peace.
On Oct. 14, 2019, former K-pop girl band f(x) member and actress Choi Sulli was found dead in her apartment.
Investigations are ongoing but her sudden demise has devastated many fans.
Making her debut at the tender age of 10, the 25-year-old had been in the entertainment industry for more than a decade.
While entering showbiz at such a young age isn’t uncommon in Korea, success did not come easy for nor sit easy with Sulli.
Used to be a child actress
Sulli, also known as Choi Jin-Ri, was born on March 29, 1994, in Busan, Korea.
In 2005, she started her career by acting as a young princess in the SBS drama Ballad of Seodong.
She then passed an audition with one of the biggest Korean entertainment companies, SM Entertainment, and was accepted as a trainee that year.
Debut in popular girl group f(x)
After four years of training, Sulli debuted in 2009 as the youngest member of the dance-focused girl group f(x).
F(x) achieved fame steadily with their electric-pop songs, such as LA chA TA, Nu Abo and Electric Shock.
Sulli gained popularity online for her innocent beauty and tall height.
First acting award in 2012
In 2012, she starred as the leading actress in the drama series To the Beautiful You, where she also won the Best New Star award at the SBS Drama Awards that year.
In 2014, Sulli landed a supporting role in the period movie, The Pirates.
She was also starred in comedy movie Fashion King.
Relationship with Choiza
In 2014, rumours of Sulli being in a relationship with hip hop artist Choiza began after photos of her holding hands with him in public surfaced.
SM Entertainment and Choiza’s agency, Amoeba, later confirmed their relationship.
Many commenters online reacted angrily to this news for several reasons.
Firstly, the age gap between the two artistes was 14 years.
Secondly, Choiza was not considered good enough for Sulli due to his questionable morals and status in the entertainment industry.
Thirdly, fans felt betrayed that Sulli was no longer the innocent baby of f(x) that SM had portrayed her to be.
Took a break from showbiz
During f(x)’s Red Light promotions in the latter part of 2014, SM Entertainment announced that Sulli would be taking a break from the entertainment industry.
They cited the malicious rumours and salacious online comments for the cause of her physical and mental exhaustion.
In 2015, Sulli officially left f(x) to focus on acting.
Juggling acting and singing careers
In 2017, Sulli landed the leading actress role in the film, Real, alongside Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun.
Unfortunately, the film did not do well at the box office.
It was also reported that Sulli and Choiza had broken up that year.
In 2018, she was featured in Korean singer Dean’s single, Dayfly.
Debut as solo artist
In 2019, Sulli debuted as a solo artist with her song and album, Goblin.
The music video for Goblin was about a person with a dissociative disorder.
Struggle with mental health
Over the years, Sulli had received constant criticism and scrutiny from Korean netizens.
She had also received flak from Japanese netizens on one occasion for making an Instagram post about South Korea’s Comfort Women’s Memorial Day.
Sulli had also been grappling with depression.
In 2018, Sulli opened up about her struggles with social phobia and panic disorder in her reality show Jinri Store.
Sulli: A lot of misunderstanding, its hard to explain each abt them, I can't resolve them, that stuck me."
— rip sulli? hiatus (@mryxglz) October 14, 2019
On several other occasions, Sulli had also opened up about her feelings.
— ?? (@_urmyjoy) October 14, 2019
Despite her personal struggles, Sulli had spoken out against cyberbullying.
Rest in peace, Sulli.
"My name is Sulli, Sul means snow, and Li means the flower of Pyrus calleryana, so I will probably reincarnate into a flower that, though small, will be full of vitality." – #Sulli, for Instyle Magazine pic.twitter.com/zpFR9uRusk
— He's Fine (@helsfine) October 14, 2019
— Lovely_BTS_? (@luvyourselfbts_) October 14, 2019
Top photo collage via screengrabs of La Cha Ta music video, aitakutae and mistahboogieh’s YouTube videos