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Actress admits to affair with Lee Jae-myung

June 11,2018
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Lee Jae-myung, Kim Boo-sun
The race for Gyeonggi governor was thrown into uncertainty on Sunday as actress Kim Boo-sun confirmed rumors of an affair between her and leading candidate Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party.

Former Seongnam Mayor Lee, who has been married since 1991, has been accused of having an affair with Kim for about 15 months starting in December 2007. Kim is a single mother with a daughter whose father, she told media outlets, left her after their daughter was born in 1988. Kim claims that Lee told her he was single when they first met in December 2007 and that they spent one night together in Incheon that month.

Rumors first started circulating about the affair in 2010.

“I met a politician who used to be a lawyer, who has clear skin, and he told me he was single,” she was quoted as saying by Hankyoreh in November 2010. “We went on a date in Incheon and a few days later we had sex.

“The next morning I found him leaving hurriedly, and I asked him if he has kids at home,” she was quoted as saying by the paper. “He didn’t say anything, which meant he did have kids at home, that he was not single.”

Kim’s candid interview didn’t specifically point the finger at Lee, but rumors quickly circulated online suggested that he was the politician.

“Kim at the time denied that it was me,” Lee wrote on his Facebook account on June 1.

The scandal arose again years later when Lee and Kim posted Facebook messages targeted at each other between 2013 and 2016.

Kim wrote a post in 2013 accusing Lee of “disappearing after saying he’d help with a case to get some child support from my daughter’s father.”

“Kim Boo-sun asked me for some legal help regarding some welfare funds for her child but it turned out she had already received it,” Lee wrote on his Facebook account in January 2016. “But when this case did not go as she wanted, she began to blame me for things.”

“Are you happy lying to everyone, you fake virgin from Seongnam,” Kim wrote on her Facebook account a few days after Lee’s post.

After Lee said he would press charges against her for libel, Kim apologized on her Facebook account in the same month, stating, “We are of no further relation other than regarding this case.”

The scandal resurfaced most recently when Kim Young-hwan, the opposition Bareunmirae Party’s candidate for Gyeonggi governor, brought it up repeatedly during the campaign, including on June 5 in a televised debate among Gyeonggi gubernatorial candidates.

On Thursday, Kim Young-hwan held a press conference at the National Assembly, holding up a photo of Kim Boo-sun, which he said was taken in Incheon in 2007, adding that Lee took the photo for her.

“The two met for the first time on Dec. 11, 2007, at a rally in Seoul, Kim Boo-sun told me,” Kim Young-hwan said in a press conference at the National Assembly in western Seoul Thursday. “The next day they went to Incheon and had beer and octopus together and took a photo of each other. Love began in Incheon.”

Lee denied the allegations again on Thursday. “I tell you, this is not true,” Lee said during an interview with CBS Radio. But on Sunday, Kim Boo-sun told Dong-A Ilbo that the rumors are true.

“Why would any actor lie about something like this?” Kim said in the interview. “I didn’t [take legal action against Lee] because my daughter told me not to go public about a romantic relationship. I didn’t want to put a smudge on her life with this.”

Kim’s daughter is also an actor. She has appeared on drama series “Reply 1994” (2013) and “Return” (2018), as well as in movies including “C’est Si Bon” (2015).

Lee’s profile rose during the presidential election last year with his straightforward criticism of the Park administration.

He has been leading the race for Gyeonggi governor with a 60.2 percent support rate according to Gallup Korea earlier this month, followed by former Gyeonggi Gov. Nam Kyung-pil of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) with 18.9 percent support. A poll by the JoongAng Ilbo last week put the support rate for Lee at 50.8 percent and Nam at 22.2 percent.

But the gap between the two narrowed after the rumors began circulating again, according to the JoongAng poll, which said that Lee’s 40.9 percentage point lead over Nam has slipped to 28.6 percentage points as of early June.

Opposition criticism of Lee is growing.

“Young adults have been demanding Lee step down from the election,” said Kim Woo-sik, Nam’s spokesman, in a written statement Sunday.

“Lee had better step down from the stage,” wrote LKP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo on his Facebook account Sunday. “We will find the truth behind these allegations so as to ensure the despicable being never steps into politics again.”

Democratic Party Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae supported Lee in a campaign event in Gwangju on Sunday. “Help out our Lee Jae-myung, and stop listening to all the talk,” she said.

BY ESTHER CHUNG, KIM HYOUNG-GU [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]