A look back at the short-lived romance of Descendants of the Sun stars Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki
SEOUL: South Korean power couple Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo announced on Thursday (Jun 27) they are parting ways after just a year of marriage.
The news came as a shock - many fans had rooted for the stars of the hit TV series Descendants of the Sun and lovingly dubbed them the SongSong Couple.
Here’s a look back at the events leading up to their split.
MAY 2015: FIRST SCRIPT READING FOR DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN
Former Running Man cast member Joong-ki attends the first script reading for Descendants of the Sun (DOTS), mere days after his military discharge. Also attending the session in Yeouido, Seoul is veteran actress Hye-kyo, who has acted alongside stars like Rain and Hyun-bin. With this being both the stars' comeback drama and the script by star screenwriter Kim Eun-sook, anticipation for the drama is high.
JUN 2015: FILMING FOR DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN BEGINS
Lead actors Hye-kyo and Joong-ki begin filming in Seoul. Several months later in September, the entire cast and crew leave for Greece, where they stay for about a month to shoot episodes crucial to the drama's plot.
In photos of the cast on set, the connection between the two lead stars is palpable, and fans take notice.
FEBRUARY 2016: DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN PREMIERES
DOTS premieres simultaneously in South Korea and China, and is an instant hit.
The show is exported to a whopping 27 countries and territories, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, England, France, Italy and the US, just halfway through the airing of all the episodes.
JUNE 2016: BAEKSANG ARTS AWARDS
The couple attend the prestigious Baeksang Arts Awards together amid dating rumours, and take home the awards for Most Popular Actor and Most Popular Actress. DOTS is also awarded the top prize for television.
Hye-kyo also makes a surprise appearance at Joong-ki's fan meeting in China. Onstage, Joong-ki tells Hye-kyo "you're really pretty". The actress then posts a photo of them on Instagram, with the hashtag #SongSongCouple.
JUNE 2017: SONG-SONG COUPLE SPOTTED IN BALI
The pair is spotted on two separate occasions in the same week at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport, but their agencies deny they were on holiday together. Blossom Entertainment, Joong-ki's agency, says the actor was on vacation with friends before the start of promotional activities for his movie Battleship Island, while Hye-kyo's agency insists she was in the Indonesian honeymoon island for a project meeting and that the duo did not cross paths.
JUL 4, 2017: WEDDING ANNOUNCEMENT
The actors' agencies finally confirm the romance, taking it a step further to announce that their wedding ceremony will be held on the "final day of October".
Explaining why they kept the relationship under wraps, Blossom Entertainment and United Artists say in their joint statement: "A marriage is not only a private matter but also a meeting between two families, so it was a delicate situation in many ways.
“There was no choice but to be cautious prior to marriage, and so we are at last conveying this message. We ask for everyone’s understanding."
AUGUST 2017: HUSBAND-AND-WIFE COLLABORATION "CHALLENGING"
At a press conference to promote Battleship Island in Singapore, Joong-ki denies future collaborations with his wife-to-be, saying that such tie-ups will only be "challenging".
"Work is work, so it may be a little tough to be on the same production," he says.
OCT 31, 2017: FAIRYTALE WEDDING
The couple get married in a private star-studded ceremony at an open-air section of the luxury Shilla Hotel in Seoul.
Spotted in the wedding photos are DOTS actress Kim Ji-won, Joong-ki's good friend and former Running Man co-star Lee Gwang-soo, other members of the RM cast, Joong-ki's labelmate Park Bo-gum, K-pop stars Lee Donghae and Lee Junho, as well as Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi.
Their agencies issue a joint statement at the close of the event, saying: "We appreciate the great attention and love for their wedding. It was successfully completed with congratulations from many, and proceeded quietly in a private matter."
JULY 2018: RETURN FROM 'HONEYMOON'
Several months after tying the knot, the couple announce their return to the small screen. Joong-ki announces a reunion with DOTS' Kim Ji-won for historical fantasy Arthdal Chronicles, while Hye-kyo is set to star alongside Reply 1988's Park Bo-gum in Encounter.
MAY 28, 2019: "MARRIAGE HAS MADE ME EMOTIONALLY STABLE"
At a press conference for his new drama Arthdal Chronicles, Joong-ki doesn't betray any signs of distress, saying: "After marriage, I earned stability of mind. My wife encouraged me to keep focusing throughout the shooting and I finished the filming well thanks to her."
JUN 27, 2019: JOONG-KI FILES FOR DIVORCE
Joong-ki issues a statement through Blossom announcing he has filed for divorce.
"I am sorry to give the bad news to those who love and support me," he says, as cited by Yonhap.
The star doesn't offer a reason for the divorce, only saying: "I hope that we will wrap up the divorce procedures smoothly, rather than blaming each other.
"I ask for your understanding for the difficulties in elaborating on private affairs, but I will repay everyone with good (acting) projects by breaking out of this wound and doing my best in acting."
Hye-kyo's agency responds, saying the actress is also "taking steps for divorce, after cautious considerations with her husband". Unlike the male Song, the actress suggests "a personality difference" as the reason for the divorce.
"The two sides inevitably made this decision, unable to overcome their differences," says her agency.
Yonhap reports that the couple have agreed upon most of the terms of their divorce, including the division of assets, leaving only a few details left for further negotiation. The divorce proceedings are unlikely to take a long time, the report adds.
Hye-kyo's co-star in Encounter, Park Bo-gum, releases a statement through Blossom Entertainment after rumours surface of a possible romance between the two.
In the statement, the agency that also manages Joong-ki says it will take legal action against those that circulate false rumours.