In October 2018, JYP Entertainment lifted the dating ban on their popular K-pop girl group Twice just three years after their debut.
At the time, the K-pop community debated why the ban was lifted so early compared to the norm. However, that gave way to an even more enticing question: which member would be first to be in a relationship known to the public?
Almost one year later, not one but two members of Twice are in the dating news. The first was Jihyo who was reportedly dating Kang Daniel formerly of Wanna One. The second was Momo who was reportedly dating Heechul of Super Junior.
The only difference between the two is that Jihyo and Kang Daniel confirmed their relationship while Momo and Heechul did not. The question is why one relationship is “okay,” while the other is “not?”
Relationships are K-Pop business
When it comes to K-pop idols’ relationships, many international fans want them to be happy with whoever they date. Sadly, relationships are also part of the “K-pop machine” that makes or breaks idols. Worse, relationships can make or break entertainment agencies too. For those who don’t believe in that sentiment, look back on Kai and Jennie’s relationship.
Jihyo — the leader of one of the most popular K-pop girl groups today — dating one of the most popular, up-and-coming, record-breaking soloists, Kang Daniel, makes sense business-wise.
Which agency would turn down the chance to be the one responsible for the current “King and Queen” of K-pop if possible?
Momo and Heechul, on the other hand, would mostly be a relationship with minimal “K-pop business gain.” Given that Twice is possibly leveling off and Super Junior is “slowing down for solo careers,” there might not be a “big project” with their relationship.
Fan Speculation and Input doesn’t mean anything
For K-pop fans domestically in Korea, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Korean K-pop fans think they control the personal lives of their favorite idols. The fact they are either “in control or not” shows concerning the two Twice member relationships.
Jihyo dating Kang Daniel came out of left field for many K-pop fans. There was no build-up or foreshadowing. So when they revealed they were dating, many K-pop fans in Korea were upset. Kang Daniel actually wrote an apologetic letter to his fans about how news of his relationship broke.
“Hello. This is Kang Daniel.
First of all, I am very sorry for the people who may have been surprised by the sudden news today.
You may have not been able to focus on anything all day, and I was worried whether I am writing you too late. I am very sorry because I couldn’t say it beforehand and also because I am talking about this in a space that could overflow even with the words between all of you and myself.
I really thank you for the love and support aht made me able to sand up again.
I received a lot from fans and feel grateful. I’ll try to return more than that in the future.
Tomorrow, I’ll become a better Daniel than who is today.
I really, really thank you for being with me.”
Sadly, Kang Daniel’s letter did very little to appease many of his fans, and many turned their backs on him for it.
With Momo and Heechul’s reported relationship, a lot of the news seems fabricated by the fans. Believe it or not, a lot of the reason why this rumor came up is that Heechul takes plenty of selcas (selfies) with Momo on variety shows. That is nowhere near a valid reason for two people to be dating except in the minds of certain K-pop fans.
Age is a number that matters
Finally, the last reason why Jihyo and Kang Daniel work while Momo and Heechul don’t have a lot to do with age. Age doesn’t matter in the long run as proven with Hallyu couples like IU and Jang Kiha or Ma Dong-Seok and Ye Jung-Hwa.
Just take into account that both Jihyo and Kang Daniel are 22 years old. As for Momo and Heechul, Momo is 22 years old while Heechul is 36 years old, more than a decade between the two.
The four will find happiness one way or another. It is a different time in K-pop. Artists may choose love over being the best of the best. This was the case with Hyuna and E’Dawn when they left comfortable and high-paying entertainment positions at Cube Entertainment.
Ultimately, whatever their relationship status may be, it shouldn’t get in the way as their personal and professional careers should be separate. Still, we wish all four of them the best in whatever they decide to do onward.