Divorce No Longer a Death Knell for Celebrity Careers

The news of actress Jang Shin-young's divorce after three years of marriage shocked and dismayed many fans, especially since it came not long after she modeled for a children's clothing company with her son. Words of encouragement flowed in from fans as it was reported later that Jang is doing her best to get back on her track despite the personal turmoil.

Fortunately for Jang, divorce no longer means the end of an actress' career. Lee Hye-young, whose marriage to singer Lee Sang-min ended in 2005, is as successful as ever. She is now working not only as an actress but also as a beauty book writer and businesswoman, recently expanding her clothing company with the successful launch of an underwear brand. Singer-turned-actress Chae Jung-an also made a successful comeback after divorcing in 2007 with the TV drama "Coffee Prince." Actress Shin Eun-kyung split from her husband the same year without any interruption in her career. Top actress Ko Hyun-jung, whose eight-year marriage to the son of a prominent chaebol family ended in 2003, is currently appearing in the hit TV soap "The Great Queen Seondeok" and is a highly-coveted spokesmodel.

From left, Jang Shin-young, Lee Hye-young, Chae Jung-an, Ko Hyun-jung From left, Jang Shin-young, Lee Hye-young, Chae Jung-an, Ko Hyun-jung

Seeing divorced stars actively pursuing their careers was unimaginable even in the 1990s. Celebrities who split from their spouses had to keep it as quiet as possible, because divorce, especially for female celebrities, was often a career-ending stain on their image and reputations.

But the winds of change began to blow earlier this decade. Amidst a more open and liberal social atmosphere, fans began to pay closer attention to how stars dealt with their personal issues like marriage and divorce rather than the issues themselves. This allowed advertisers to be more lenient with celebrities who divorced. An advertising industry executive said, "Even though a divorce can badly affect a star in the short-term, its long-term implications are usually minimal." 

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 09, 2009 13:04 KST