The South Korean pop star Rain has come under fire after reports revealing his relationship with a top TV actress suggested he might be flouting the terms of his compulsory military service.
Rain’s relationship with Kim Tae-Hee, a TV drama star with a massive following in Japan, was first reported on Tuesday by a tabloid magazine, sparking a fan frenzy on the internet.
The magazine published photos showing Kim, 32, wearing a cap and surgical mask, getting into a car driven by the singer, who is halfway through the two-year military service that is mandatory for Korean men.
“They are currently getting to know each other with feelings for each other,” Kim’s agency said in a statement, confirming the two had been dating for about a month. Fan excitement over the matchup between two of South Korea’s most high-profile celebrities was tempered by questions over how – as reported by the magazine – the couple had managed numerous dates over the past four weeks. During their military service, Korean men are largely confined to their barracks and given little free time.
One of the tabloid pictures of the couple showed Rain, 30, driving a private car in military uniform, contrary to service guidelines, and not wearing his army beret.
The defence ministry's website has been bombarded with messages calling for Rain to be disciplined, with more than 3,000 people signing an online petition urging an investigation. – AFP