Fans who are familiar with the happenings of the Korean pop idol industry know that it often occurs that due to some reason or other, idols get ejected or choose to leave their group. Fortunately, though, there exist some idols who rejoined their groups after leaving, making their fans very surprised and ecstatic.
Idols usually leave their group to pursue their acting or modeling careers with more dedication, and some go on long hiatuses or part ways with their group in order to take care of their mental health. These idols have a greater chance of rejoining the groups later, as opposed to the idols who are kicked out of their group by their agencies no matter how much their fans want them to be back (although these rare instances do exist).
Fans of Kpop are appreciative of this new route of companies taking care of their idols’ mental health and letting them take mental health breaks. On that note, here is a list of some of the idols who rejoined their groups after leaving.
Sunmi of Wonder Girls
Sunmi had announced in 2010 that she would be taking her departure from Wonder Girls after staying with them for three years, stating her reasons for being able to focus on pursuing her higher studies. But when she came back to JYP with a solo debut in 2013, Sunmi got criticized by fans of Wonder Girls for being selfish and got accused by the general public of crawling back into the industry to make money.
However, Sunmi recently confessed in 2021 that back when she left the group, she was actually putting her mental health first. Sunmi has revealed that she has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Of course, eventually, Sunmi made her comeback along with her group Wonder Girls in 2015, blessing us all with the 80s-themed bop I Feel You.
Heesun of Pink Fantasy
Heesun, the (first generation) maknae of Pink Fantasy, announced her withdrawal from the group in October 2019, stating her need to receive treatment and therapy for depression and anxiety. Heesun had been having a hard time back then due to the inappropriate comments she’d receive on her social media posts, and her agency MyDoll Entertainment along with her family members, agreed that this would be the best choice for her. A point to be noted is that Heesun was fourteen years old back then! Regardless, she made became one of the idols who rejoined their groups after leaving when she made her way back to Pink Fantasy, first as a guest member and then permanently in 2021.
Euaerin of 9MUSES
Euaerin was one of the OG members of 9MUSES who made her debut in the Korean industry with the group in August 2010. But soon after debuting, Euaerin, along with fellow members Bini and Rana, left the group to pursue solo activities in Japan. Euaerin then came back to 9MUSES in April 2011 and eventually graduated from the group finally in 2016. She has been pursuing a modeling career ever since. But she has expressed her love for making music on stage during her sting on The King Of Masked Singer and said that she wants to take on the stage with her 9MUSES members someday.
Mark of NCT DREAM
The whole multi-unit framework of NCT is difficult to understand and explain even for the most die-hard NCTzens, but allow us to try: NCT Dream is a sub-unit of NCT where new teenage members will make their debut and then eventually graduate from Deam to some other NCT unit after turning eighteen. By this logic, Mark Lee, who remains one of the most beloved and irreplaceable members of NCT Dream, was supposed to leave the sub-unit around 2017. Accordingly, Mark Lee was made to graduate from NCT Dream at the end of 2018. But thankfully, the sounds of the protesting fans were loud enough that SM Ent. did away with the graduation concept and reinstated Mark as a permanent member of NCT Dream in 2021.
Yoon Kye Sang of G.O.D.
Yoon Kye Sang had been a part of g.o.d. since 1999 but quit the group in 2004, turning a lot of his fans against him. According to Yoon Kye Sang, his reason behind leaving g.o.d. was largely misunderstood: he left the group not to pursue an acting career but because he wanted to quit being a celebrity. But when opportunities to act in both television and movies came through to him, he accepted them and found himself enjoying the art. However, it was announced in 2014 that Yoon Kye Sang would be reinstated in the group along with the other members in celebration of g.o.d.’s 15th anniversary. He then went on to release albums as a group member and also penned the lyrics to some songs.
Minzy of 2NE1
Anything said about the fate of 2NE1 feels like picking at the barely-healed wound. After debuting at a tender teenage year, Minzy finally couldn’t take the depression that constantly being put on the backburner in YG Entertainment brought to her and finally left the group in April 2016, following which 2NE1 went into hiatus (not that it made any difference since 2NE1 were barely given any chance to promote anyway). 2NE1 was officially disbanded by YG in November 2016, after which all the members eventually went to separate companies. Well, 2NE1 recently made a surprise appearance at the 2022 Coachella Music Festival, and Minzy was there too, officially making her one of the idols who rejoined their group after leaving.
Joon Park of g.o.d.
Known for being adept at coolly dealing even with racist robbers in American streets, Joon Park is not known for letting anyone step on him. But back in 2001, when g.o.d. was at its peak, topping charts in South Korea, Joon Park found himself at the center of a ridiculous controversy that embroiled when news of him dating actress Han Go Eun broke out! The agency g.o.d. was under back then. SidusHQ then announced their decision to kick out Joon Park from the group without feeling the need to consult the other members or to inform Joon himself before releasing it to the press.
Thus, Joon Park called out a press conference, where he broke down in tears, talking about the frustration he faced due to the lack of freedom and agency he has had and the ridiculousness of people making him out to be the villain for his grievous deed of being a thirty-something-year-old man who is dating consensually! Soon after, his fellow g.o.d. members held press conferences themselves, publicly stating their support for Joon Park and condemning SidusHQ. Soon after, Sidus HQ retracted its original decision of terminating Joon’s contract and reinstated him in the group.
Saem/Yina of BP Rania
The member changes of BP Rania is a rollercoaster ride that absolutely nobody paid for. With their shady company DR Music bringing in foreign members and several instances of them mistreating their members are enough to keep them in the news often. Saem was part of the original lineup of BP Rania and debuted in 2011. After ceasing to attend Rania events in late 2014, it was eventually announced in 2015 that Saem had indeed left the group. However, she reappeared in the group in late 2016, having changed her stage name to Yina. Despite being one of the idols who rejoined their group after leaving, she barely showed up for any group promotions and said goodbye to the Rania chapter finally in 2017, stating her wish to focus on her acting career.
Kiseop of U-KISS
Kiseop joined the group in 2009 and left after a decade in 2019 due to him not renewing his contract with NH Media. Kiseop then went on to marry Jung Yoona the same year. After changing agencies, Kiseop announced that he had rejoined U-KISS in 2022. That makes him a notable addition to the list of idols who rejoined their groups after leaving.