With his pretty looks and amazing acting, Song Joong-ki has found a permanent place in many hearts. Song’s career spans over 15 years, with roles in fan favourite productions such as Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), Running Man (2010-11), Descendants of the Sun (2016) and Vincenzo (2021). Descendants of the Sun was particularly important, not only because the show was such a global hit and it further cemented his popularity, but also because it was where he met his now-divorced wife Song Hye-kyo.
Outside of acting, which he has won many awards for, Song Joong-ki is also big on philanthropy. He has been an advocate for children suffering from cancer and has also helped raise awareness and funds for the Korea Childhood Leukemia Foundation. He had also donated money to aid post-earthquake efforts in Sichuan and Nepal. More recently, Song quietly donated money to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Song Joong-ki’s achievements aside, we’re celebrating his 38th birthday (on September 19) with 12 interesting facts you might not know about him.
For those who watched the television series Triple (2009), you might remember Song Joong-ki’s character as a short-track speed skater. But did you know, Song was actually a short-track speed skater and even won awards? He started skating during his schooling years, played for his hometown’s regional team and was part of the Korean National Sports Festival thrice. Nursing an injury as well, Song later made the decision to quit as there were difficulties in making it on the national team beyond just talent.
Song Joong-ki revealed in an interview that he had devoted himself to studies after leaving sports in hopes of achieving good grades to make up for the sense of loss. His efforts paid off, and he was a straight-A student in high school, obtained 380 out of 400 on the national college exam and went on to study Business Administration in the prestigious Sungkyunkwan University. Moreover, he took on the top leadership position of the student council in high school and was given an award for perfect attendance.
Another proof of his intelligence? Song won second place in KBS’s Quiz Korea, which also happened to be his first appearance on TV.
The 2008 erotic historical film is titled A Frozen Flower, and starred Jo In-sung, Joo Jin-mo and Song Ji-hyo as the main characters. Both Songs eventually became good friends and part of the popular variety series Running Man together.
In December 2022, Song Joong-ki revealed that he was dating British actress Katy Louise Saunders. The two had first met via a mutual acquaintance months prior. At the end of January 2023, the Korean actor shared that the two had registered their marriage and were expecting a child.
In June 2023, Song Joong-ki announced that the family of two is now a family of three as they welcomed a son into their midst. “This is like the most precious gift both of us have received as it is our biggest dream to set up a happy family.”
In an interview with GQ Korea, Song Joong-ki finally laid rumours about his wife Katy Louise Saunders to rest. “At first, I didn’t think much of the rumours. To people like us, that is part of life and even if a lot of people knew about our relationship, it’s not like our love was going to change. But to be honest, when some of the rumours just grew unbelievable, I felt angry.”
“Other than the name of the university she graduated from, most of the other rumours are not true. While my frustration was growing, Katy said, ‘There’s no need to get angry at these people.”
The rumours lobbied against them included speculation that Saunders was a single mum after old photos resurfaced of her looking pregnant. There were even photos of her with a young child, presumably her daughter.
Together with beauty editor Hwang Min-young, the two co-authored a book titled Beautiful Skin Project For Men in 2010. Featuring various photos that celebrate Song Joong-ki’s pretty and youthful features, the book quickly reached number one on the bestseller list within a month of publication.
While we are used to following our favourite celebs on social media, Song Joong-ki can be considered late to the game when he only opened his own official Instagram on Valentine’s Day this year. While we don’t know what took him so long, Song had revealed in a 2016 interview with KBS1TV’s News9 that “The reason is simple. I’m not tech-savvy at all. I don’t use [social media] because I’m not good at it. I don’t know how to use it.”
With iconic roles in productions such as Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), A Werewolf Boy (2012), Descendants of the Sun (2016) and Vincenzo (2021), Song Joong-ki has cemented himself as one of the biggest Korean actors of his generation. In fact, Song is also one of the highest-paid actors right now, with South China Morning Post estimating his fee to be over 200 million won (S$228k) per episode of Vincenzo.
While we can’t imagine Song Joong-ki to be anything but an actor, he didn’t aspire to be one at first. In a 2013 interview with KBS’ Star Date, Song revealed that his childhood dreams included being a diplomat and a staff member at a broadcast company, besides wanting to become an actor. In a letter from his high school teacher that was revealed on a show, Song apparently dreamt of becoming a news anchor too.
Besides being an actor, Song could have sung and danced into our hearts as an idol singer. In an interview with Issuedaily, Song shared that he once received an invitation from an entertainment agency to be a trainee for an idol that is said to be very popular now. In addition, Song was also asked by the late Korean designer André Kim to model in a fashion show after his appearance on Quiz Korea.
In August 2021, Song Joong-ki made headlines for all the right reasons after his neighbours complained that the roads between their houses were too narrow for them to drive through. What did Song do? He offered to give up 1,500 sq ft of his 9,000 sq ft Itaewon home in order to widen the roads and rectify the problem.
This came after news that Song went above and beyond to help the team behind the Korea International Accessible Dance Festival (KIADA) promote their event. He put on a tux and recorded a 49-second clip telling people more about the festival after reading up about its six-year history.
Indonesian actress Felicya Angelista wanted to prank her husband and actor Caesar Hito when she told him that her pregnancy ‘craving’ was to receive a video call from Song Joong-ki. Much to her surprise, her wish came true when Hito contacted a friend in South Korea to help set it up. What a fan service!