K-Pop Star Karina Apologises to Fans after Relationship with Actor Lee Jae-wook Goes Public

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In a handwritten letter addressed Tuesday to MYs (her fanbase) and shared on Instagram, Karina expressed her apology for surprising and possibly disappointing them with the news. She vowed “to heal the wounds” she had inflicted.

K-pop idol Karina has issued a heartfelt apology after incensed fans accused her of “betrayal” – because she confirmed she has a boyfriend.

The fans reportedly drove a truck to the aespa star’s agency after finding out she was dating actor Lee Jae-wook.

“Is the love given to you by your fans not enough?” an electronic billboard on the vehicle demanded.

In a handwritten letter addressed to MYs (her fanbase) and shared Tuesday on Instagram, Karina expressed her apology for surprising and possibly disappointing them with the news. She vowed “to heal the wounds” she had inflicted.

“First, I apologise for surprising you greatly, and I wound up [writing this] late because I feel very cautious towards the MYs, who must have been very surprised. I know very well how disappointed the MYs who have supported me up until now must be, and I also know that they are feeling upset while thinking back on the things we’ve said to one another. I feel even more sorry because I, too, understand those feelings all too well,” a part of the letter read.

Karina also acknowledged the delay in writing the letter, saying she believed her fans would have been taken aback by the news.

“Starting now, I want to do a good job filling the places where MYs have been wounded. I have always been sincere towards MYs, and even now, each and every one of you is truly precious to me. Although this letter may be too short to express all of my feelings, thank you for reading it. In the future, I want to show you a more mature side, without disappointing MYs, as I work even harder in my activities,” Karina wrote.

Fans also took to the comment section and were seen showing their support for the 23-year-old singer, whose real name is Yu Ji-min. Many also dropped their best wishes and love for the couple.

“You don’t need to apologise for feeling. I will always root for your happiness. You deserve all the love, support, all the good things," wrote one of them.

The news of Karina’s relationship first broke on 27 February, with Karina and 25-year-old Lee, later confirming the two had met last year. Lee’s agency C-JeS Studio asked for “warm respect... as this involves his private life”.

But some of Karina’s fans drove to the headquarters of SM Entertainment, the company that formed and manages aespa. These trucks have become a common practice used by K-pop fans to show support or discontent in recent days.

“Is the love given to you by Karina fans not enough? Why did you choose to betray the fans? Please apologise directly. Otherwise, you will see a decrease in album sales and empty concert seats,” one of those messages read.

However, not everyone was unhappy about the relationship with Lee, who debuted in the drama Memories Of The Alhambra in 2018 and gained prominence after starring in the hit fantasy period drama Alchemy of Souls.

Karina has led the four-woman aespa since their debut in 2020, with the single Black Mamba. Last year, their record-breaking album My World sold 2.1m copies in South Korea.