On the 20th March episode of KBS 2TV’s ‘Win Win’, Shinhwa member Shin Hyesung talked about his regret after being fined 10 million KRW in 2010 for compulsive gambling.
“I disappointed the members, my family and the fans because of my foolish actions,” said Shin Hyesung, as he disclosed how he visited a casino in Las Vegas for the first time during a sightseeing trip, and found himself repeatedly going back after that. He said, “At first I ignorantly thought that it wouldn’t hurt anyone. When I realised that things were getting out of hand, I stopped. But the matter came to light 2 years later, I really regretted it and I really hated myself.”
During the gambling controversy, the Shinhwa members stood by Shin Hyesung, making it possible for him to repent and get through that dark period. He said, “After the controversy happened, I thought it was all over for me, but the members took the initiative to contact me and even made impromptu visits to my home, as if nothing had happened they were their usual noisy selves. This made me feel a strong sense of support.”
Junjin talked about his experiences with panic attacks, which resulted in a difficult period of time for him.
“While promoting the 4th album, the symptoms appeared. No matter how hard I tried, I always felt that people were looking at me in a strange way, and it was difficult back at home due to financial problems. There was a period of two months when I only lit candles at home and didn’t step out, I didn’t eat rice and after eating some meat or delivered food I would only drink soju. I lived like that.”
He added, “I would just worry by myself. For example, I can’t see well in one eye, then I’d worry if I can’t see well in the other eye too. I’d be in the car and think about whether people will come and hurt me.”
“Even now, I haven’t recovered fully”, said Junjin as he shared his difficulties from living with depression.
Lee Minwoo also talked about how the Shinhwa members helped him overcome a financial problem just before the 7th album promotions. As the sum he needed was too big, even the company couldn’t help and he even contemplated going to a private moneylender.
“At that time it was my birthday and Eric called me to the washroom and said, ‘Minbong ah~’ and gave me a big hug, before handing me what he said was my birthday present, which was the money that the members pooled together for me.”
“I remember holding on to the wall and crying. I was thinking, I really met the right people, I am blessed”, said Lee Minwoo as he teared up, feeling bad towards the members and also grateful for their help.
When MC Kim Seung Woo asked the Shinhwa members, “Did you really never ever encounter any disbandment crisis at all?”
Kim Dongwan then brought up the issue of contract renewal, “Each member received an offer from the company for a solo contract and everyone discussed the options without hiding anything from the other members. Everyone was troubled over which direction to go.”
(Note: Actually if I’m not wrong it was Andy who said that everyone each received a renewal contract for a solo career. What happened here was Dongwan suddenly said that no, he didn’t receive a renewal offer. I do think it’s the first time the members knew about this because Minwoo and Hyesung looked genuinely shocked and kept on asking Dongwan if he really didn’t receive the offer. Dongwan could only smile awkwardly. 😦 )
He went on to describe Eric’s extraordinary loyalty to the group. “At that time, Eric commanded the highest value and received an irresistible offer. But Eric said, I may have received this kind of offer but I can go to another company where we can all receive the same package.”
Eric later described the decision to move to another company. “We were seeing results from our overseas activities and it would have been right to stay at SM for the sake of our future, but looking at the various options and what we were earning for our work, we decided to take up the challenge despite worrying about the risks.” Lee Minwoo also turned down the renewal offer for a solo contract from the company despite their proposal to turn him into “Korea’s Usher”.
Eric touched on the process of drifting apart due to individual activities and military service. “I didn’t become part of Shinhwa to be an actor, and the other members didn’t become part of Shinhwa to start on individual activities. Because of Shinhwa we’ve received a lot of love, Shinhwa is our root and it has to be our core”, said Eric as he talked about how the members gathered together again despite the lure of individual activities.
And personally, one of the parts that really got to me today was when Andy was talking about missing out on the 4th album because his mother was sick and hospitalized in the U.S. He eventually came back to Korea (probably to work to raise money for the expensive hospital bills) and was living a hard life by himself in a hostel, trying not to get recognized and only being able to sleep after drinking soju and taking aspirin.
The MCs asked Andy why he didn’t seek the members out or talk to the members about it, he said, “I felt that my problems are my own, and I only wanted to show the cheerful Andy of Shinhwa.” ㅠㅠ
And throughout the whole time Andy was talking about this, Dongwannie was holding Andy’s hand...
Credits: TV Report + Sports Donga + Sports MK + Newsen + Absolut Shinhwa