Lee Min-ho during a promotion tour in China
When "Boys Over Flowers" ended its run on television, Lee Min-ho became a top star overnight. With the drama still being broadcast in other Asian countries, he became the front-running Hallyu star for the new generation. But his huge popularity also drew forth huge misunderstandings about him.
"What I heard the most was that I changed when I became famous," Rumors, by its nature, always spread through people who did not know Lee Min-ho rather than through those who knew him.
"Seriously, I heard all kinds of rumors about me. That I was dating a lot of female celebrities or that I was going to switch agencies, things that I wasn't doing at all. But when I kept hearing stuff like that, I did become very sensitive."
Even his close friends told him that they had heard such rumors. "I have about fifteen very close friends. And apart from the five that I met really often, the remaining ten were convinced that I had really changed. We met up later and cleared the air." (laugh)
But he is glad that his fans adore him. "I have had my butt pinched at the airport, my chin stroked like I was a puppy and even my cheeks too. At fan meetings, there are some fans who cry and their bodies are shaking because they are so happy. When I see people like that, even I start floundering because I don't know what should I do. But all my fans actually have good manners."
He remembers a grandmother who gave him money at a fan meeting. "She was sitting outside under the scorching sun and she looked worn out. So I apologized to the fans in front of the line and gave her my autograph first. And then she put two tightly folded 10,000 won bills into my hand, like a grandmother giving her grandson allowance money. I almost cried when she did that."
Lee Min-ho is enjoying an explosive popularity throughout Asia including China, Japan, and Taiwan. "When I go overseas and meet all my fans, even I am so surprised. And it is amazing that so many people like me. I'm grateful, of course."
Lee Min-ho's fan meeting in Singapore