Han Ye-seul (born Leslie Kim on 18 September 1981) is an American-born South Korean actress. She made her acting debut in the sitcom Nonstop 4 (2003), and has since played leading roles in television dramas such as Couple or Trouble (2006), Tazza (2008), "Spy Myung-wol" (2011) and Birth of a Beauty (2014), as well as the films Miss Gold Digger (2007) and Penny Pinchers (2011).
Leslie Kim (or Kim Ye-seul-i in Korean) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She attended Cerritos High School and graduated from Cerritos College with an associate degree in Computer Graphics. She is fluent in both English and Korean.
She began her modeling career in South Korea after winning the SBS Supermodel Contest in 2001. Under the stage name Han Ye-seul, she made her acting debut in the popular sitcom Nonstop 4 in 2003. Han quickly rose to fame, and she renounced her U.S. citizenship in 2004 and became a naturalized South Korean citizen to continue establishing herself in Korean entertainment. But her performances in Forbidden Love (2004) and That Summer's Typhoon (2005) received poor reviews, with critics dismissing her as primarily a commercial model and not a real actress.
Han starred in Couple or Trouble (also known as Fantasy Couple, 2006), a remake of Overboard written by the Hong sisters. She was praised for her comic timing and the series was a hit.
She continued starring in screwball comedy genres with her first film Miss Gold Digger (2007). Despite the film's box office failure, Han's won several Best New Actress accolades from local award-giving bodies, including the prestigious Grand Bell Awards and Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Han starred in Tazza (2008), a TV adaptation of Huh Young-man's manhwa of the same name. This was followed up with the Lee Kyung-hee-penned Will It Snow for Christmas?.
Spy Myung-wol controversy
In 2011, Han was cast as the titular character in Spy Myung-wol. But the series gained notoriety when Han failed to show up for her scheduled filming on August 14–15 and instead flew to Los Angeles on August 16; it was the first instance of a leading actor abruptly leaving in the middle of a Korean drama shoot. Her then-agency SidusHQ cited conflicts with television director Hwang In-hyuk over her working conditions, and that exhaustion had compromised her judgment. Han's absence effectively halted production, and the KBS network lambasted her actions as "unilateral, irresponsible and will not be tolerated," while Lee Kim Productions threatened legal action. After extensive press coverage, Han returned to Korea and continued filming Spy Myung-wol on August 18. Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, she apologized but maintained that her demands had been legitimate, "I want to believe that I did the right thing." Han drew criticism from TV industry professionals and viewers, but fans defended her, saying the stressful Korean drama live-shoot system was at fault.
Romantic comedy film Penny Pinchers was released two months after Spy Myung-wol finished airing.
After the Spy Myung-wol controversy, public backlash resulted in Han taking a three-year hiatus from acting.
In late 2014, she made a comeback in Birth of a Beauty. This was followed with leading roles in romantic comedies Madame Antoine (2016), and 20th Century Boy and Girl (2017).
On 2 May 2011, Han hit a man with the surname Do on the hip with the wing mirror of her Porsche while driving into the parking lot of her home in an apartment building in Samseong-dong. Do sustained minor injuries and Han's lawyers offered him ₩5 million in compensation, but Do claimed that she had fled the scene. Her then-agency SidusHQ denied this, saying she had apologized and checked if he was okay (but did not step out of her vehicle). After an investigation, police cleared Han of the hit-and-run allegations.
In May 2013, Han dated YG Entertainment record producer Teddy Park. The two were reported to have broken up on October 24, 2016.
In January 2015, the FSS included Han in a list of people who were found to have violated the foreign currency-related law by failing to report their asset acquisition (such as real estate overseas) to relevant authorities. This referred to a commercial building in Koreatown, Los Angeles that Han had bought in 2011, but her agency KeyEast issued a statement that the omission had been a technical mistake, because Han had transferred the building's ownership to a company in which she was the major shareholder and was unaware that she should report it.
|2007||Miss Gold Digger||Shin Mi-soo|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens||Susan Murphy/Ginormica (voice, Korean dubbed)|
|2011||Penny Pinchers||Gu Hong-sil|
|2003||Nonstop 4||Han Ye-seul||MBC|
|Nonstop 5||Han Ye-seul (cameo)||MBC|
|2005||That Summer's Typhoon||Han Eun-bi|
|2006||Couple or Trouble||Anna Jo / Na Sang-shil|
|2008||Tazza||Lee Nan-sook / Mi-na||SBS|
|2009||Will It Snow for Christmas?||Han Ji-wan|
|2011||Spy Myung-wol||Han Myung-wol||KBS2|
|2014||Birth of a Beauty||Sara / Sa Geum-ran||SBS|
|2016||Madame Antoine||Go Hye-rim||JTBC|
|2017||20th Century Boy and Girl||MBC|
|2004||MBC Gayo Daejejeon||MBC||Host|
|전파견문록||Guest, episode 233|
|Inkigayo (Popular Music)||SBS||Host|
|2005||Good Morning||Guest, episode 2157|
|2006||MBC Drama Awards||MBC||Host|
|2007||Ya Shim Man Man||SBS||Guest, episode 239|
|Golden Fishery: The Knee-Drop Guru||MBC||Guest, episode 70|
|She's Olive: Han Ye-seul in L.A.||O'live|
|Sang Sang Plus||KBS2||Guest, episode 160|
|Entertainment Weekly: Guerrilla Date||Guest, episode 1203|
|2008||24 Hour Famine||SBS||Guest|
|Entertainment Weekly: Guerrilla Date||KBS2||Guest, episode 1252|
|SBS Drama Awards||SBS||Host|
|2009||46th Grand Bell Awards||Host|
|2010||4th Asian Film Awards||Host|
|2014||Running Man||SBS||Guest, episode 219|
Music video appearances
|2004||"You Are Different"||Han Ye-seul||Track 6 on Nonstop 4 OST|
|"Say It"||Shinhwa feat. Han Ye-seul||Track 11 on Winter Story 2004–2005|
|2005||"Memory"||Han Ye-seul||Track 2 on That Summer's Typhoon OST|
|2007||"Make Me Shine"||Han Ye-seul||Track 1 on Miss Gold Digger OST|
|2009||"Love Class"||Mighty Mouth feat. Han Ye-seul||Track 2 on Love Class EP|
Awards and nominations
|2001||SBS Supermodel Contest||Juliet Award||N/A||Won|
|2004||6th Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best OST||"You Are Different" - Nonstop 4||Nominated|
|MBC Entertainment Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Sitcom/Comedy||Nonstop 4||Won|
|2006||MBC Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress||Couple or Trouble||Won|
|Popularity Award, Actress||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Oh Ji-ho||Won|
|2007||43rd Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|Most Popular Actress (TV)||Won|
|2008||3rd Asia Model Festival Awards||Model Star Award||N/A||Won|
|44th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best New Actress (Film)||Miss Gold Digger||Won|
|45th Grand Bell Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|BMW Popularity Award, Actress||Won|
|29th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|31st Golden Cinematography Awards:||Best New Actress||Won|
|7th Korean Film Awards||Best New Actress||Nominated|
|SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Planning Drama||Tazza||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|2009||45th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actress (TV)||Nominated|
|2014||SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special||Birth of a Beauty||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|Best Couple Award with Joo Sang-wook||Won|
|2015||15th Huading Awards||Best Global Actress in a TV series||Won|
|2016||9th Korea Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Madame Antoine||Nominated|