Bae Yong-joon, the most-popular icon of the Korean Wave among middle-aged women overseas, is dating a scion of the LS business conglomerate. His girlfriend, who is 14 years his junior, is Koo So-hee, the second daughter of LS Industrial Systems vice chairman Koo Ja-kyun.
The two met around three months ago on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend and their relationship became public when the couple were spotted in Japan.
Koo graduated from Syracuse University in the U.S. and has a master's degree in international trade from Korea University. She worked for her father's company for a year until she quit in 2011.
Her stake in LS Corp., the parent company, totals 128,630 shares valued at a cool W10.2 billion (US$1=W1,060).
The parents have yet to meet and it is uncertain whether Bae and Koo plan to tie the knot.
"The vice chairman is not against the idea of his daughter dating an actor. He believes they will do the right thing since they are both adults," an LS source said. He added Bae and Koo did not travel to Japan together but went on separate itineraries and met up there.
Only a handful of Bae's close friends are said to have known of their relationship. Bae had been careful to shield her from the media and was apparently surprised by the press coverage.
He sent text messages to his close friends expressing his discomfort at the publicity. Bae's management company KeyEast is refusing to confirm whether his girlfriend is Koo.