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‘Queen of Tears’ vs. Reality: Lee Boo Jin’s Marriage Saga Mirrors TV Series

Hotel Shilla’s CEO Lee Boo Jin
Marriage of Lee Boo Jin and Lim Woo Jae
Similarities in Storyline and Fashion

In a shocking twist on the tvN series Queen of Tears, episode 10 saw Hong Hae In, played by Kim Ji Won, reveal a secret terminal illness at a press conference. This came as she resumed her role as a department store CEO, all to shield her husband, Baek Hyun Woo (Kim Soo Hyun), from Yoon Eun Sung (Park Sung Hoon).

Viewership for Queen of Tears remains strong. The 10th episode achieved the drama’s highest ratings in metropolitan and nationwide areas, averaging 20.9% and 19.0% respectively. The episode also secured the top spot in its time slot across all channels, including terrestrial broadcasters.

The success of Queen of Tears has sparked comparisons between the drama’s central character and Lee Boo Jin, the Samsung family’s eldest daughter, and Hotel Shilla’s CEO.

Viewers of Queen of Tears have drawn parallels between Hong Hae In and Lee Boo Jin, the CEO of Hotel Shilla and the eldest daughter of the Samsung family. This is evident in online discussions, where comments mentioning Lee Boo Jin frequently appear alongside searches for the drama.

Comparisons between the character Hong Hae In and Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo Jin likely stem from similarities in their portrayals.

Queen of Tears explores a relationship dynamic where the central character, Hong Hae In, comes from a wealthy family (the Queens Group) and falls in love with Baek Hyun Woo, a regular employee she meets during an internship. Initially unaware of her background, Baek Hyun Woo expresses his genuine feelings and proposes, confident in his ability to care for her.

Following the revelation of Hae In’s family background, Hyun Woo retreats to his hometown of Yongduri. Hae In actively pursues their marriage, even traveling by helicopter to secure it. Despite a seemingly happy start, their marital bliss wanes after three years. The drama explores themes of difficulties navigating in-law relationships, the potential impact on mental health, and the pressures that can lead to a “show-window” marriage where appearances differ from reality.

Queen of Tears explores themes that resonate with real-life experiences. The drama delves into the challenges couples face when living with in-laws and the pressures associated with pursuing higher education.

CEO Lee Boo Jin made headlines when she married a regular employee Lim Woo Jae in 1999. At the time, Lim Woo Jae was a bodyguard for Lee Kun Hee and Lee Boo Jin, and the Samsung family tried to hide the fact that Lim Woo Jae was a bodyguard by lying that he was an employee of Samsung C&T.

The love story of a chaebol and a commoner was so noteworthy it was called a “male Cinderella” story. Lee Boo Jin’s parents, Lee Kun Hee and Hong Ra Hee, strongly opposed the couple’s relationship, and Lee Boo Jin even went on a hunger strike to win her true love, a situation similar to the drama.

The setting where Lim Woo Jae lives with his in-laws and finishes an MBA program is almost identical to the drama. The similar story doesn’t end there. It was revealed that Lim Woo Jae and CEO Lee Boo Jin filed for divorce in 2014, and the two finally completed the divorce proceedings in 2020 after a lawsuit that lasted for 5 years and 3 months.

The outfits worn by Hong Hae In in the drama are strikingly similar to those of CEO Lee Boo Jin. Hong Hae In wore a black jacket from Alexander McQueen in the drama, similar to the outfit that became a hot topic when CEO Lee Boo Jin wore it at the shareholders’ meeting in 2022, with only slight differences in detail.

Lee Boo Jin has gained recognition for her consistent choice of Alexander McQueen at annual shareholder meetings. This fashion choice has even earned the event the nickname “Lee Boo Jin’s shareholder meeting fashion.” Interestingly, the drama Queen of Tears features a scene in Hong Hae In’s dressing room where she says, “How can I die leaving these clothes behind?” This has sparked online discussions, particularly when it was revealed that the clothing in the scene was provided by the domestic brand DINT.

In addition, Hae In’s outfits in the drama, which give off a chic vibe with jackets and blouses, evoke the charismatic image of Hotel Shilla’s CEO Lee Boo Jin.

Another factor contributing to the comparisons between Hong Hae In and Lee Boo Jin is their shared dedication to business pursuits. In Queen of Tears, Hae-in exhibits a strong work ethic and strives to achieve a significant sales target for Queens Department Store. This ambition could be interpreted in various ways, such as a drive for success or a means to secure her position within the company.

Similar to the character of Hong Hae In, Lee Boo Jin, CEO of Hotel Shilla, is known for her dedication to the business world. Notably, she played a key role in securing Louis Vuitton for Shilla Duty-Free at Incheon Airport in 2010. Stories about her efforts to persuade Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Group, have become well-known anecdotes within the business community.

Queen of Tears is proving to be a hit in the chaebol drama genre, with consistent growth in viewership. This success might be attributed to the drama’s fresh take on the chaebol trope. Instead of relying on typical clichés, it delves into a more realistic portrayal, potentially capturing viewers’ interest through relatable themes and fashions that echo real-life chaebol families.

In a speech at the 51st regular shareholders’ meeting, Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo Jin outlined plans to solidify the company’s brand and explore expansion opportunities to maintain their market leadership.

She also emphasized the need to secure profitability to continue growth amid increasing economic uncertainties, stating, “We will focus our capabilities on improving profitability.”

Lee Boo Jin has drawn comparisons to her father, the late Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee, in terms of both personality and management style. This is reflected in the nickname “child most like Chairman Lee Kun Hee.” With her leadership at Hotel Shilla, Lee Boo Jin has garnered a reputation for strong business acumen. As a result, there is significant interest in her future business endeavors, which may extend beyond Hotel Shilla.

Photo = News 1, Online Community, tvN, Hotel Shilla

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