IU

IU

Some Lesser Known Facts About IU

  • IU is a South Korean singer-songwriter, composer, and actress, who is one of the most celebrated and respected soloist idols in South Korea. She is a recipient of many awards and honours in the field of music, acting, and philanthropy. Apart from being an influential artist, she is one of the wealthiest female K-pop artists.
  • When she was just a small kid, she decided to make her career in the entertainment industry, she began to attend acting classes.
  • Due to her family’s poor financial condition, her parents had to work hard due to which they could not take care of IU and her younger brother.
  • IU and her brother lived with their grandmother and a cousin in a one-room studio apartment filled with cockroaches. To earn money, her grandmother used to sell small hair accessories at a market.
  • During her elementary school days, she was selected as the president of the class.
  • When she was in middle school, she used to perform at the school’s sports competitions and gain applause for her performance, after which she decided to become a singer. While studying in middle school, she once secured first and second positions in class.
  • She has a collection of marble balls, which she is collecting since childhood; however, she does not know how to play with them.
  • She participated in around 20 auditions; however, she did not clear any of the auditions. She was also scammed by many fraud companies; one of the companies demanded money from her for training and appearing on TV programs and took away all of her money, which belonged to her grandmother.
  • When she was auditioning to become a trainee at an entertainment agency, she also auditioned at JYPE, which is one of the popular entertainment agencies in South Korea; however, she was not selected by the agency. Later, J. Y. Park, the owner of the entertainment agency, said that he regretted his decision of rejecting IU.
  • When she was a trainee at Good Entertainment, she was about to debut in a five-member girl group; however, the group did not debut, after which she quit the company.
  • In 2007, she moved to Bangbae, Seoul, after she became a trainee at LEON Entertainment company. In an interview, she shared that during the beginning of her singing career, when she was going through a financial crisis, she loved to stay at the music studio because, in the studio, she could eat as much as she wanted and also had a place to sleep peacefully.
  • In 2008, she made her debut as a singer after training for ten months at LEON Entertainment.
  • On 18 September 2008, she gave her debut live performance with the song ‘Lost Child’ at Mnet’s music program ‘M Countdown.’
  • On 20 September 2008, she gave her debut performance at MBC’s ‘Show! Music Core’ with her song ‘Lost Child.’
  • On 23 April 2009, she released her first studio album ‘Growing Up’ with the lead single ‘Boo.’ In the same year, she launched an EP titled ‘IU…IM.’
  • On 3 June 2010, she launched a pop ballad duet song ‘Nagging,’ which was featured by Lim Seul-ong of the boy band ‘2AM.’ The song debuted at the 12th position on the Gaon Digital Chart and later remained at the first position for three weeks.
  • On 9 December 2010, she launched her third EP ‘Real’ with the lead single ‘Good Day.’ When she was promoting the EP, many songs from the album peaked at various music charts including M Countdown, Music Bank, and Inkigayo. ‘Good Day’ peaked at Billboard’s ‘The 100 Greatest K-pop Songs of the 2010s.’
  • IU is a huge fan of the British singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae. In March 2011, Corinne organised her first solo concert in Seoul in which she invited IU to do the opening act for her.
  • In 2011, she released her second studio album ‘Last Fantasy’ with the lead single ‘You & I,’ which is considered one of the most successful songs of IU with more than 5 million digital copies sold towards of 2012. The song peaked on the Gaon Chart and Billboard K-pop Hot 100 chart.
  • Reportedly, she has been donating all the money that she earns from fan meetings since 2011.
  • In 2011, she appeared as a celebrity contestant reality TV show titled ‘Kim Yuna’s Kiss & Cry’ where the participants has to perform while ice skating.
  • In 2011, IU was rumoured to be in a relationship with Jang Woo-young, a member of the South Korean pop band ‘2PM.’ The two of them met while working together as each other’s love interests in the K-drama ‘Dream High.’ As ‘Dream High’ marked IU’s first television show, she initially felt a bit nervous about filming romantic scenes with Jang Woo-young. To ease the awkwardness, they started spending time together and were often seen having dinner, which sparked dating; however, they later clarified that they were just friends. [16]Pinkvilla
  • She has worked as the host of SBS’s music program ‘Inkigayo’ from 2011 to 2013.
  • In 2012, after she graduated from Dongduk Girls’ High School in Seoul, she made her decision to not study any further. She once talked about why she made this decision and said,

    First of all, I didn’t feel confident at all about taking College Scholastic Ability Test because I couldn’t study at high school due to my hectic schedule. I did poorly in high school. And there was nothing I wanted to study and learn in college. Even if I was accepted by a college, I couldn’t attend my classes. Think about it. I couldn’t attend my classes when I was a high school student. Do you think I can attend my classes at college? No. I thought it was a waste of time. Actually, my mom wanted me to enter college because she couldn’t enter college. She couldn’t because she didn’t have enough money. But, I promised her I would try harder than those who entered college. I promised her I would study hard about music, and she understood me. And actually, media outlets say I didn’t enter college because I’m a person of upright character, but it’s not true. I didn’t enter college just because I was not a good student and I didn’t feel confident about attending my classes.”

  • In 2012, she hosted MBC’s quiz show ‘Quiz Show Q’ alongside South Korean DJ and singer Park Myeong-su and Sun Bom Soo.
  • In June 2012, she held her first concert tour, ‘Real Fantasy,’ in South Korea. According to sources, her concert was sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale, and more than 70% of the people who bought the tickets were male, which is not considered very common when it comes to a K-pop concert.
  • In 2012, she was appointed as the ambassador of anti-bullying campaigns in schools, which are conducted by the National Police Agency of South Korea.
  • In 2012, IU and Eunhyuk became friends with each other through their involvement in the South Korean music industry. In the same year, they took a picture together that garnered attention. In the photo, Eunhyuk appeared to be shirtless, and both of them were seated on a bed. IU posted the picture on Twitter by mistake which surprised her fans. She quickly removed the photo and apologised to her fans, but it had already spread widely before she could take it down. Later, fans and the media started spreading rumours that IU and Eunhyuk were in a romantic relationship. IU denied the rumours, but Eunhyuk neither confirmed nor denied them. There were also rumours about them getting married and IU being pregnant, but the management companies of Super Junior, SM, and IU clarified that they were just good friends. According to sources, they were together for about three years from 2012 to 2015. In an interview, while discussing the photo incident involving Eunhyuk, IU expressed her remorse that she had no choice but to apologize for her actions. She mentioned that the incident had a significant impact on her, to the point where she found it difficult to eat properly as she constantly dwelled on her mistake. She said,

    I was so sorry to many people. Since I did it myself, I thought, who should I feel the most apologetic to? Should I be sorry to the people who loved me? Or should I be sorry to the people who loved the person I hurt (the other person in the photo)? I also thought a lot about, whether should I go out and apologize to everyone and clear up all the misunderstandings, or should I just stay quiet. I pushed back variety shows as much as I could because of that. That day, Yoo In-na came over. We’re really close. She just fed me continuously. She kept making conversation on other topics, and even when I said, ‘Unni, you can leave’, she stayed by my side and kept feeding me.” [17]Allkpop

  • In 2013, she played the role of an average girl Lee Soon-shin, who was considered a loser and overpowered by her better-looking and smarter sister, in KBS2’s South Korean TV series ‘You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin.’ She collaborated with her co-actor Jo Jung-suk to record a self-composed song titled ‘Beautiful Song’ which was featured in the show.
  • IU and Lee Hyun-woo, a South Korean actor, were known to be close friends. However, in 2013, when a Korean media outlet, Dispatch, captured photos of them leaving a movie theatre together, fans and the media began speculating about their relationship. The pictures quickly spread widely and became viral. Later, IU clarified that she did not know that their pictures were being taken, and while they were returning from the theatre, Lee Hyun-woo received multiple calls from his agency notifying them about the circulating photos on social media. Lee Hyun-woo issued an apology to IU’s male fans, expressing that his intention was not to hurt their feelings. [18]Otakusmart[19]Otakukart
  • In 2013, she was appointed as an honorary member of the South Korean police force. In the next year, she was promoted and became an honorary senior police officer for two years.
  • In 2014, she held a small concert at Mary Hall of Sogang University and the tickets to her concert were sold out after 10 minutes of tickets going on sale. The amount of money she earned from the concert was used as a donation to the victims of the Sewol Ferry Disaster. Many South Korean music artists including Kim Jong-hyun, Jung Yong-hwa, Hwang Kwanghee, and Kim Bum-soo performed at her concert to contribute to the donation.
  • In 2014, IU was diagnosed with an eating disorder, Bulimia, in which a person loses control over the amount of food consumed and can cause depression and self-induced vomiting to lose weight. [20]Pinkvilla In an interview, she talked about her eating disorder and poor health condition. She said,

    Because I was so stressed, even the smallest thing would actually make my skin crawl. I was really unhappy. Once I started disliking myself, there was no end to that. I kept digging deeper and deeper into a hole of self-pity. I was so lethargic and felt like I only had two choices – to sleep or to eat. So whenever I wasn’t sleeping, I was binge eating.”

  • She made donations of ₩100 million to the Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation in 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020 to support underprivileged children. In 2018, she made a donation of 100 million on South Korean Children’s Day.
  • She has appeared and performed on many South Korean variety shows such as KBS’s ‘Star Golden Bell,’ SBS’s ‘Kim Jung-eun’s Chocolate,’ KBS’s ‘You Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook,’ and Kocowa TV’s ‘Eat in Style.’
  • In 2015, IU was rumoured to be in a relationship with Jang Ki-ha, a South Korean singer, actor, and radio host. Jang Ki-ha was known to be one of IU’s closest friends. In 2015, the management companies of both IU and Jang Ki-ha confirmed that they were in a romantic relationship. [21]Koreaboo The couple faced challenges in their relationship as their busy schedules made it difficult for them to spend time together. Additionally, rumours circulated that IU’s close friendship with South Korean actor and singer Lee Joon-gi caused a growing distance between her and Jang Ki-ha. In 2017, their respective management companies confirmed that they had indeed broken up due to their demanding schedules. [22]Otakukart
  • In 2015, Ize magazine gave her the title of ‘Person of the Year,’ and GQ Korea listed her the ‘Women of the Year.’
  • The song ‘Heart’ by IU, included in her 2015 album ‘Chat-Shire,’ was among the K-pop songs selected by the South Korean Defence Ministry for their propaganda broadcasts during a tense standoff with North Korea in August 2015. These broadcasts aimed to showcase the youth culture of South Korea.
  • In 2016, IU founded ‘IU scholarship’ for the students studying at Dongduk Girls’ High School, from where IU completed her High School. She regularly donated to fund the IU scholarship program for students who belonged to low-income families and needed financial aid to study further.
  • In 2016, she was cast in a lead role as Hae Soo, a girl who travels back in time, in SBS’s popular historical K-drama show ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo’ based on the Chinese novel ‘Bu Bu Jing Xin.’
  • Lee Joon-gi and IU acted together in the TV show ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo’ in 2016. Reportedly, people thought they might be dating because they seemed close outside of work. However, when the show ended, the rumors about their relationship also ended. Some fans, allegedly, blamed Lee Joon-gi for IU and Jang Ki-ha breaking up. [23]Otakusmart
  • Kang Ha-neul and IU were rumoured to be dating when they were cast as leads in the 2016 South Korean TV series ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.’ Their on-screen chemistry attracted a lot of attention, but both of them claimed to be good friends. On 10 September 2017, IU and Kang Ha-neul were reportedly seen together at a cafe, just one day before his military enlistment. Following their meeting, rumors of them dating began to circulate. However, Kang Ha-neul’s agency denied these rumors, clarifying that while he did meet IU at a cafe, there was no romantic involvement between them. [24]Soompi
  • In 2018, she played the lead role of Lee Ji-an, a 21-year-old woman working hard to pay her mother’s debt and taking care of her deaf grandmother, in tvN’s TV series ‘My Mister.’ IU’s performance in the series received positive reviews, and the series became one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history.
  • When she decided to leave LEON Entertainment in 2018, she made a selfless request to the company. Rather than receiving a substantial amount of money as her contract’s down payment, she asked the company to provide employment security and salary increases to all 40 of her staff members.
  • In 2018, she participated in the popular internet challenge ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ to spread awareness about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and raise money for people suffering from ALS.
  • In 2019, she donated ₩50 million to the Deaf Senior Citizens Support Center.
  • When she marked her 11th debut anniversary, she made a donation of ₩100 million to help senior citizens and ₩100 million to the Korean Foundation for Support of the Senior Citizens.
  • In 2019, she became the youngest philanthropist to be listed on Forbes’ ‘Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy: Catalysts For Change’ list.
  • In 2019, she appeared in a lead role as Kim Gyu-ri in tvN’s fantasy mystery drama series ‘Hotel del Luna’ in which she played the role of an aggressive owner of Hotel del Luna, who loves expensive and luxurious things. IU (singer) Height, Age, Boyfriend, Family, Biography & More
  • She has performed songs sung by other music artists and K-pop bands including Girls’ Generation, Sweet Sorrow, Super Junior, and BigBang.
  • When it comes to radio shows, she has appeared as a regular guest in many shows including KBS Cool FM’s ‘Kiss the Radio,’ KBS 2Fm’s ‘Volume Up,’ and MBC Standard FM’s ‘Starry Night.’
  • IU has encountered paranormal experiences on several occasions. During an interview, she recounted one particular incident that took place while she was recording the song ‘You & I.’ She said,

    There was a small argument with the song composer, so we temporarily put the recording session on hold. I saw that my manager headed into the recording booth, but when I checked, there was no one in there. He came out of a completely different room.” [25]Allkpop

  • In 2019, IU’s songs ‘Love Poem’ and ‘Blueming’ were competing against each other on top 2 positions to win KBS’s show ‘Music Bank.’
  • According to reports, IU has claimed to have witnessed apparitions both in reality and in her dreams while residing in her dormitory. When she appeared on the SBS TV show ‘Strong Heart,’ She talked about the incidents and said,

    When I was sleeping at the dorms while recording ‘Good Day,’ I experienced a ghost that would whisper ‘I love you’ and blow into my ear. I saw the ghost in my dream later on, and he was very handsome.” [26]Allkpop

  • During her time in the dormitory, IU had a dream where she saw Seo In-young, a popular South Korean singer and actress, which frightened her deeply. The experience left her so shaken that she expressed her inability to continue living in that particular dormitory to her CEO. In an interview, she shared the incident and said,

    I had a dream in which Seo In-young unni kept walking towards me laughing in her high-pitched tone. I suddenly had a feeling that this wasn’t a dream. I opened my eyes and saw a girl sitting next to my bed. Her hair was dishevelled and wore baggy old clothes. She was looking down, but at that moment, she lifted her head… and she was me. I was so scared and told the CEO that I really couldn’t stand living there anymore and that I even saw myself. So, he allowed me to go live at home.” [27]Allkpop

  • In 2020, she was featured on the cover of GQ Korea as ‘Woman of The Year.’
  • On 31 December 2022, South Korean actor and model Lee Jong-suk’s agency, HighZium Studio, confirmed his relationship with IU in an official statement, which read,

    Hello. This is HighZium Studio. This is an official statement regarding the exclusive article about actor Lee Jong Suk. Actor Lee Jong Suk and IU recently progressed from being close acquaintances into being a couple, and they are maintaining a serious relationship. Please show lots of support so they can continue their beautiful relationship. Thank you.” [28]Soompi

  • IU and Lee Jong-suk at SBS’s Inkigayo, a South Korean music program, when they were in their 20s. The couple initiated their romantic relationship four months prior to the official statement being released by HighZium. According to a Korean media outlet, they spent Christmas together in Nagoya, Japan in 2022. They had been friends for a significant period of time before taking their relationship to a romantic level. During an interview, while talking about his relationship with IU, Lee Jong-suk shared that he had feeling for her even when they were just friends. He said,

    It was big beyond puppy love, but I had regrets as it couldn’t be achieved. We were friends for a long time, and now it turned out like this. How should I say this? Even when I was working hard living my own way, she was a strange existence who always took up a corner of my heart.”

  • In 2022, she appeared as a single mother named So-young, who leaves her baby at the baby box, in her debut film ‘Broker.’ IU’s performance in the film was praised by the senior film critic Ben Rolph.
  • As of 2022, IU is said to have donated ₩4.3 billion since 2008. [29]Naver
  • She chose IU as her stage name as it stands for ‘I and You,’ which means we can become one through music.
  • Her fanbase’s name is ‘Uaena’ in which every syllable stands for something; ‘U’ stand for ‘You,’ ‘ae’ is Sino-Korean for ‘love,’ and ‘na’ is Korean for ‘me.’ Her male fans are called ‘Geonbbang’ (a South Korean dry bread) and her female fans are called ‘Konpeitõ’ (a Japanese sugar candy). Neon or lime green colour represents her fandom.
  • She is said to possess a soprano vocal range. According to Professor Myung-jin Bae, her voice possesses mezzo-soprano qualities. She is known for having a melodious yet powerful voice.
  • She got the habit of reading from her mother. Some of the books that she has read are ‘Demian’ by Hermann Hesse, ‘Essays in Love’ by Alain de Botton, and ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess’ by Park Min Gyu.
  • Her role model is the female English singer Corinne Bailey Rae.
  • Reportedly, she does not like to wear multiple layers in winter. She was once spotted wearing only two t-shirts in winter.
  • Her Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type is INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging).
  • According to her, she rarely goes shopping and considers herself very lazy. She once spent only 10 Korean Won a month.
  • She considers Taeyang of the K-pop boy band ‘BigBang’ and South Korean actors Yoo Ah In and Yoo Seung-ho as her ideal types.
  • She gifted her father his dream car when she received her first paycheque.
  • IU considers Bae Suzy, a South Korean singer, as the most beautiful singer in South Korea. IU wants to look like Bae Suzy if she is reborn.
  • After completing high school, IU was supposed to take the South Korean college entrance exam, CSAT; however, on the day CSAT was conducted, she went for her music album’s jacket photoshoot.
  • In 2011, when she made an appearance on MBC Radio’s show ‘Shim Shim Tapa,’ she made rice balls by herself and hand-fed them to one of her fans.
  • She wishes to make a song with her fans, and she also wants to watch a movie with them.
  • When she was trying to write the lyrics for her 2014 song ‘4AM,’ she used to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and did that for a full week. She converted her 4 AM morning thoughts into the lyrics of the song.
  • Before performing on stage, she often warm-ups her voice by eating hot ramen in a hurry.
  • Her dream collaboration is with Rosé of Blackpink.
  • When IU acted in her debut TV series ‘Dream High,’ her parents wanted her not to do any kissing scenes in the series.
  • IU never had any interest in going on blind dates.
  • According to IU, she does not find handsome men attractive.
  • She likes to eat bloody raw livers. In an interview, when she was asked about how many times she eats raw liver in a year. She replied,

    I would want to go eat raw liver every day but I only get to eat it about 2 or 3 times a month. I like the taste and smell of blood on raw livers. It also looks delicious.” [30]Soompi

  • IU’s cousin once revealed that IU likes to do sexy dances when she is in the karaoke room.
  • According to IU, she does not have an attractive body. She likes pretty waistlines as skinny jeans look good on them.
  • She once performed on a bus filled with passengers.
  • When IU got her driver’s licence, her mother did not want her to drive a car as she was scared that IU would hurt someone.IU (singer) Height, Age, Boyfriend, Family, Biography & More
  • She has appeared on the covers of many fashion magazines including Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Bazaar, and more.
  • IU shares an incredibly close bond with Yoo In-na, a renowned South Korean actress. In an interview, Yoo In-na said that IU is one of the most important parts of her life. [31]Allkpop
  • In 2022, IU achieved a milestone by holding her concert titled ‘The Golden Hour: Under the Orange Sun’ at the Seoul Olympic Stadium. This achievement made her the first Korean female artist to perform at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.IU (singer) Height, Age, Boyfriend, Family, Biography & More
  • IU is one of the global brand ambassadors of the popular luxury brand Gucci. In 2023, she graced the Gucci Cruise 2024 event held in Seoul, South Korea. During the event, she was captured in a photograph alongside Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri, Hollywood actress Dakota Johnson, and American actor Blake Lee.
  • She does not like caffeine and the smell of cigarettes. [32]Koreaboo
  • She rarely consumes alcohol as consuming alcohol harms her voice and vocal cords. She likes to drink Soju, which is a popular distilled alcohol in South Korea. [33]KoreabooIU (singer) Height, Age, Boyfriend, Family, Biography & More
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