Heartthrob Hyun Bin completed his mandatory military service on Thursday, 21 months after he entered a Marine boot camp at the height of his acting career. At a ceremony marking his departure, Hyun received commendations from Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Marine Commander Lee Ho-yeon.
Hyun appeared at the Marines' headquarters in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, before thongs of fans and journalists who had been waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of him despite the freezing temperatures. Some 500 fans greeted him from across Korea as well as from China, Hong Kong, Japan and countries in Southeast Asia.
"It's been a long time," he said to his fans after bowing to them. "I missed you. Thanks to your support and encouragement, I was able to happily complete my military service."
"I've really missed acting," Hyun said, unable to hold back his tears. "And now I'm very happy to be able to get back to that. I'll try my best not to disappoint you after you've all been waiting so long."
After greeting his fans, Hyun left the base and headed home. A staffer at his management agency said the heartthrob will spend some time with his family and rest. "He will resume working after his hair grows back a bit," the staffer added.