Chaeyoung and Zion. T© Getty Images

Twice’s Chaeyoung Confirms Relationship With R&B Singer Zion. T

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Love is in the air for the members of the K-pop girl group Twice! Chaeyoung has confirmed that she has been dating R&B singer Zion. T for the past six weeks.

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The news was broken by a South Korean media outlet before it was confirmed by the idols’ respective agencies. According to the report, Chaeyoung and Zion. T had been spotted on intimate dates around the city after being introduced by mutual friends. Chaeyoung’s agency JYP and Zion. T’s The Black Label released a statement confirming that the two were, in fact, in a relationship.

This news comes at the heels of another relationship rumour involving a Twice member. A week ago, group leader Jihyo was reported to be in a relationship with Olympic gold medalist Yun Sung-bin. The two were spotted together on several dates and were, reportedly, regular visitors to each other’s apartment too.

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While the news of these Twice members’ relationships has been well received by fans, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The strong fan and idol relationship that’s the basis of the K-pop culture in the country makes it nearly impossible for idols to come out and confirm their relationships. This is also why many young idols have to adhere to a dating ban by their agencies.

Aespa member Karina confirmed that she was in a relationship with actor Lee Jae-wook in February but had to issue a written apology to her fans after it.

The relationship confirmation was received with enormous backlash for the couple, with fans sending protest trucks to the idol’s company that stated “Wasn’t the love of fans enough for you?”.

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The couple announced their break-up recently, citing mental stress from the backlash as one of the reasons for their separation.

Another K-pop relationship controversy came in the form of the Han So-hee, Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Hyeri love triangle recently. Actress Han So-hee and Ryu Jun-yeol went public with their relationship recently, claiming to have gotten together back in November 2023. An Instagram Story from Lee Hyeri, who was dating Ryu Jun-yeol right before he started dating Han So-hee, sparked curiosity among the fans and led them to believe that the relationships might have overlapped.

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Han So-hee took to Instagram to clarify that theirs wasn’t a “transit relationship” (a term used for rebound relationships in the country) and they had started dating after the two had broken up. After severe trolling from fans, Han So-hee and Ryu Jun-yeol announced that they’d broken up. The controversy threw light on the sexist outlook of many fans as both Lee Hyeri and Han So-hee were trolled and dragged for the relationship and pestered for clarifications but Ryu Jun-yeol wasn’t questioned about his involvement in the scandal even once.

Previously, similar scrutiny and negativity had surrounded idols like Blackpink’s Jennie and BTS’ V when rumours of them being in a relationship had surfaced. Blackpink member Lisa’s rumoured relationship with LVMH heir Frederic Arnault also faces similar scrutiny but is spared the vitriol, perhaps, because of Arnault not being an idol and having his own legions of passionate fans who think they have a stake in the idol’s personal life.

Things aren’t that dire since there have been several examples of K-pop idols and celebrities dating each other or non-famous people in the past that have been well-received by their fans. Popular soloist and actress IU announced, back in 2022, that she is in a relationship with actor Lee Jong-suk. Red Velvet’s Joy and her fellow idol Crush revealed that they had been dating in 2021 and are still going strong.

Here’s hoping that these recent relationship confirmations mark a shift in the culture of idols’ personal lives being dictated by fan reactions.