Ricky Kim: I committed career suicide by getting married at 28

8 May 2016 / 5 months 2 weeks ago
Tan Kee Yun
The New Paper
May 8, 2016

Is starring in reality TV shows really a fast-track route to fame and fortune? 

Not for Korean-American actor Ricky Kim, a regular cast member of hit Korean reality programmes Let's Go! Dream Team, Law Of The Jungle and parenting-themed series Oh! My Baby.

He told The New Paper in an interview on Thursday: "Reality television is a very useful tool for gaining popularity, awareness and letting people know who you are... but it has not sped up my career at all.

"However, I'm comfortable with that."

The suave 34-year-old father of three was in town with his theatre actress-wife Ryu Seung Joo, 38, and two of their children, daughter Tae-rin, five, and son Tae-oh, three, to promote Oh! My Baby.

It airs on Thursdays at 11pm on ONE (StarHub TV Ch 124, 820 and 823; Singtel TV Ch 513 & 604).

Fans of Kim, Tae-rin and Tae-oh can catch the trio at a meet-and-greet session tonight at Waterway Point.

Kim did not bring his youngest daughter, eight-month-old Tae-ra, on this trip.

He said: "My golden rule as an entertainer is to be as transparent as I can be.

"I would never want to create a false image of myself, or be packaged into something I'm not, just so I can be more famous.

"I got married at 28, which is career suicide for most celebrities. But I didn't care, I love my wife.

"We had our first baby a year later. Career suicide No. 2.

"Guess what I did after that? I had another baby. And then one more."

With a laugh, he added: "In 2010, I opened up my life on reality TV by first announcing my marriage on national TV and next, by inviting my then-pregnant wife onto Let's Go! Dream Team.

"Everyone thought I was crazy. What I did ran contrary to what most Korean entertainers would do."

He explained that most celebrities in Korea tend to hide the fact that they have wives and children.

"I can probably name 10 people in showbiz right now whom you think are single. No, they're not. But you'd never know, because that's their golden rule," he said.


"It's not mine, though. Mine would be to always be real and touchable. I grew up in Kansas (in the US) and I'm a country boy.

"I love hugs and I'm down-to-earth, not some fake upper echelon guy who is so elite and 'Louis Vuitton'."

It's the same simple principle he applies to Oh! My Baby, which he, Ryu, Tae-rin and Tae-oh appear in.

"When we have a family event and there are no cameras around, we behave in exactly the same way as we are on the show," said Kim.

"For us, nothing is off-limits (for) TV. In fact, when I first mentioned that to the directors, they were taken aback because most of the other families had boundaries which they didn't want the show to step across. So you saw a lot of perfect kids.

"We were the first imperfect, non-scripted family who showed everything.

"The only condition I had for the directors: Do not interfere in the way I raise my children."

Are the little ones aware that they are TV stars now?

"My children have been around cameras since they were born - even before the show started - as both my wife and I are in showbiz," said Kim.

"Doing photo shoots, putting on make-up and getting my hair done have always been part of my lifestyle and they're used to that.

"At their age, they don't know what fame is. It's a topic I don't broach... In the meantime, they're just happy kids enjoying themselves."

This article was first published on May 7, 2016. 
Get The New Paper for more stories.

Join in the talk