The Top Korean Drama Stars Who Earn A Fortune
Move over American TV stars and say hello to some of the top stars in Korean dramas. While previously only aired in Korea, with streaming services like Netflix sharing a variety of popular South Korean movies and tv series to countries around the world, the fame of many of these stars have spread.
So much so that many offer international endorsements and product posts on their social media. With South Korean tv and films using popular actors interchangeable – with far more frequency than you’ll see Western TV shows do, the stars listed below have multiple income streams and are some of the highest paid actors around.
1. Hyun Bin
Notable as one of the highest-paid Korean actors around, Hyun Bin is one of the top performers of his generation by people of all ages. He started off with cameo appearances on popular series, but really came into his own during the 2005 rom-com My Lovely Sam-Soon.
His top film is considered to be Late Autumn, that aired in 2010, though many fans prefer him in Confidential Assignment which aired in 2017. He earns on average $113 000 per series episode and was awarded a president’s award during the 50th Savings Day event back in 2013 for having saved $3.3 million.
2. Jun Ji-Hyun
Noted as the highest paid female Korean actor, Jun Ji-hyun is also the current ambassador for Alexander McQueen’s label. She earns roughly $85 000 per episode and shot to fame in My Sassy Girl, which aired in 2001, and the film was her first Grand Bell Award for Best Actress.
She’s recently starred in the Kingdom prequel, Kingdom: Ashin of the North, which aired internationally on Netflix in 2021. She will be starring in Cliffhanger which centres around the lives of national park rangers.
3. Kim Soo-Hyun
Kim Soo-hyun is possibly the best well-known Korean drama star and has two Grand Bell Awards to his name (the equivalent of America’s Academy Awards). He’s recently starred in the series One Ordinary Day – a BBC remake of Criminal Justice – and is said to be earning $440 000 per episode.
He started off with being recognised for the K-Drama Kimchi Cheese Smile in 2007, while The Thieves, a 2012 hit, and Secretly, Greatly, a 2013 series helped propel him to fame and fortune. Once his military service was done, Kim returned in Hotel del Luna for a brief cameo and has since done the series It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, which he was reportedly paid $155 000 per episode.
4. Jo In-Sung
Debuting in the tv show Jump, South Korean star Jo In-sung has made a name for himself in both film and television series through several diverse roles where he’s being paid $90 000 per episode – that’s as much a crypto slots jackpot win.
He has been well-received by critics and fans in works that include Spring Days which aired in 2005, The King which aired in 2017, and his latest role in the film Escape from Mogadishu that aired in 2021. In fact, Escape from Mogadishu is the current highest-grossing film in South Korea this year.
5. Song Hye-Kye
Revered as one of the most charismatic Korean actors in her generation, Song Hye-kyo is also one of the top earning K-drama stars. She shot to fame in the film Descendants of the Sun which aired in 2016.
She’s been earning awards and acclaim since the early 1990’s in series such as Full House that aired in 2004, Autumn in My Heart which aired in 2000 and films like The Crossing which aired in 2014. Currently, she’s buys with Now, We Are Breaking Up, and earns just over $40 000 per episode. She also offers product endorsements on her social channels, which she charges at around $760 000 per product, or $460 000 for sponsored content on Instagram.