The actress Lee Ji-ah, who disappeared from public view eight months ago after a flurry of suits and countersuits over her divorce from pop legend Seo Tai-ji, made her first official public appearance on Monday.
Lee (33) met reporters at a press event for the upcoming soap opera "Me Too, Flower!" in which she plays a vivacious undercover police officer.
Lee was the first cast member to appear on stage and seemed visibly tense. But as time went by she relaxed and ended up being comfortable enough to exchange a few jokes with the other cast members, even clapping and laughing at some of the questions presented by the reporters.
When one reporter said he was surprised by how fast Lee was able to return to acting, she said, "A lot of people gave me courage. I thought the best way to thank them was to return to my place as soon as possible, and I really think I made the right choice."
Asked about her secret marriage and very public divorce from Seo, she said, "I am relieved to shed the mysterious reputation and rumors about me and return to who I really am. It feels like a wall around me has been taken down."
She added that she hopes someday to be able to speak frankly about her divorce trial so the questions it leaves open can be answered. "I hope that day will come soon," she added.
Lee filed a W5 billion (US$1=W1,106) lawsuit against Seo for alimony and division of assets, but settled out of court in July.