Park Bo Gum Helped Pay Off Father’s Debts

As his father’s guarantor, he was forced to apply for bankruptcy given the huge debts owed.

Korean actor Park Bo Gum, who starred in Reply 1988 and Love in the Moonlight, seemed to have had a quick rise to fame. However, the good-natured actor had actually gone through a tough childhood, and even incurred a huge debt due to his father, which influenced his decision to join showbiz in order to pay off the debts.

With his clean, wholesome image, Bo Gum has become an advertisers’ darling, taking on ads for various products from beverages to fashion and even condoms.

“Nation’s Younger Brother”

As his mother passed away when he was in fourth grade, the family got into dire financial straits. Bo Gum started sending out his singing demos to agencies when he was 15.

In 2011, he officially debuted with a supporting role in the movie Blind which was followed by 2012’s Runway Cop and A Still Picture. He scored a breakthrough when his roles in 2014’s Wonderful Days and Nodame Cantabile snagged a Best New Male Artiste nomination at the KBS Drama Awards, while 2015’s Reply 1988 saw him win over many fans with his childlike innocence as Choi Taek, and he was nicknamed the “Nation’s Younger Brother.” He won a Best Actor award at 2016’s KBS Drama Awards for his role in period drama Love In the Moonlight.

Father’s Debts Made Him Bankrupt

When Bo Gum was 15 years old, he had been a guarantor for his father, who borrowed 300 million won to start a business. Due to the interest rates of personal moneylenders being much higher than banks, the sum owned had snowballed to 800 million won by 2014.

Unable to pay the sum, the actor applied for bankruptcy exemption from Seoul central district court and was declared bankrupt in 2016. Later, he reached a consensus with the creditor and several months later, the courts announced he was no longer under bankruptcy protection.

In a previous interview when he discussed about applying for bankruptcy, the actor revealed that he did not begrudge his father and confessed his rueful feelings instead. “To be honest I was really upset–I had always wanted to be a son my dad can rely on and feel proud of. I am really sorry towards my father,” Bo Gum said.

Bo Gum was enlisted in August 2020, and assigned to South Korea’s Naval Cultural Promotion Team. He will be discharged from the military in April 2022.


This article is written by JoyceK for

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  1. £500,000+…..Wow. On a 16yr old boy!!! Poor kid…he really worked very hard. Such a good son…

    1. Yup he is such a good son and glad that he is successful now. Hope he is doing well in the military as life there is tough too but he will be fine.

  2. Curious, is it legal for a 15-year-old to be a guarantor?
    Such news of celebrity having to take on the repayment of their family member’s (usually father) loan when business failed does not seem to be uncommon. Unsure if 800 million won is a small amount to a popular celebrity like him but to regular people, it is a huge loan. There is nothing wrong to repay a loan but wondering if any of these celebrities’ fathers have been trying to take up an unnecessary huge amount. If the borrower is new to doing business, why not start smaller rather than jump into some big venture? It is like the Chinese saying (loosely translated) “Do not wear a such a big hat if one does not have a big head.”

    1. He was just a newbie in the industry. I guess his career did enable him to be a guarantor. But I doubt he realised the magnitude of the debt he took on…

      1. Maybe he just wanted to help his dad and did not think of the amount of the loan? Strange how he is youngest but yet has to take on such a huge burden. He has 2 older siblings too but I wonder why he as the baby of the family had to take on something so big?

      2. @HeTieShou I wonder why too? Maybe he had the most potential and the loan giver will only accept him as the guarantor…Potential high money earner…

    2. Very good points and we don’t know all the details. I just hope his dad did not take out loans like Prince’s dad did from those illegal lenders. I wonder the same things. Same thing happened to Nicky Wu’s dad too and it took them 12 to pay it off. Their fathers probably took a big risk but it did not work out in the end. Just like with investments too as many start big thinking they will profit but in the end ends up losing it all. Basically, everything is a gamble.

      1. Yes, Prince and Nicky were both in such positions too…Many years of their earnings went to paying of debts.

      2. But the good thing was Nicky was able to help his dad pay it all off but sadly Prince was not able to but had to cut his dad off. It is sad as family relationships get negatively affected in cases like that.

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