Choi Jin-hyuk’s Early Discharge from Military Service
Choi Jin-hyuk, the prolific actor from dramas such as The Heirs and Emergency Couple, definitely had smooth sailing in a career filled with successful dramas, but did you know that his military service is all rocky roads? He had been in the industry for over nine years before enlisting, even going through a survival show before debuting, yet it all came down to an injury that ended his time in the military.
So let’s go into detail and discuss Choi Jin-hyuk’s journey before, during, and after the military.
Before Enlisting to the Military
In his time as an actor, Choi Jin-hyuk is known for having acted in very successful dramas, such as Gu Family Book, The Heirs and Emergency Couple. He has a sizable fandom and deals for a few commercials because of the success of these dramas. Before all of the fame, he was just another contestant in an actor-survival show titled Survival Star Audition in 2006.
Sadly, Choi Jin-hyuk, who was approaching the age of 30, chose to serve in the army by 2015. He announced the news in 2014, after his hit series Fated to Love You. The announcement is no surprise to fans, as it is known that Korean men are supposed to serve the army before they hit 30. What came as a shock was his choice to serve in active duty, despite being given the choice to serve in the police force, which is known to be a less strenuous activity.
Choi Jin-hyuk had previously mentioned that he thought about doing his service as part of the police force, or opting for a desk job instead. Unlike others who have to apply with certain certifications or medical conditions to opt out of active duty, Choi Jin-hyuk was offered a spot to be part of the Seoul Police Promotional Team, which would allow him to serve the theater division as part of his duty. His fans expected him to take this route, as it is what other actors have usually done, and what would suit his career best. This is why his choice to serve in active duty was a so unusual to some of the fans.
The actor was to enlist on March 31st of 2015, but took the time to host a fanmeeting beforehand, on March 2nd, 2015. During this fanmeet, he answered some of the fans’ remaining questions and showed how he is preparing to enter the service. Under the command of the MC, who dressed up as an officer, he performed some of the drill practices and survival techniques usually used in the army. He spent time with fans to share his sorrows and hopes for the 18 months to come, as the fans prepared a special event for him to say their goodbyes.
The day before his enlistment, Choi Jin-hyuk posted a picture previewing his new hairdo, since to serve in the military, men have to get a buzz cut. This picture was of significance to fans because Choi Jin-hyuk has expressed his desire to have a quiet enlistment, without the presence of press and fans during the day it began. The next day, he was enrolled into one of the recruitment centers in Gyeonggi-do Province, without much fuss.
7 Months of Military Service
The day of his enlistment caused quite a buzz, as he was enlisting with two other celebrities, JYJ’s Jaejoong and Super Junior’s Sungmin. In an interview, he mentioned his wish for all three of them to have a pleasant service, despite mentioning beforehand that they were not close. As mentioned before, there were no big ceremonies for his enlistment, he was only joined by his senior and close actor friend, Choi Min-soo.
Korean men, in general, are due to serve for 18 months in the military, with breaks in between to see family and friends, which are about a week or two in length. Choi Jin-hyuk, who chose to serve in active duty, was only able to serve a total of 7 months, from March 2015 until October 2015, because of an injury he acquired in the army.
There was nothing much remarkable to say about his military service, as it seems he did not cause any trouble for the military, nor did he slack behind his comrades. That’s impressive in itself, considering that at the time, he was not the only celebrity enlisting, and previous celebrities were already notable for having extravagant and overly-done enlisting ceremonies. Sadly, he suffered a knee injury while he was doing one of the military drills.
Knee Injury During Military Service
His agency released a statement in regard to the injury, revealing that Choi Jin-hyuk has had a history with knee problems throughout his career, and those problems led to this injury being worse than it should have been. The injury was first thought to be able to heal with treatment, but after further observation, it was said to require surgery.
He then had to be admitted into the hospital for the surgery and further observation by a team of doctors. As the knee condition had been an issue even before his enlistment, it seems that it couldn’t be recovered from quickly, and required Choi Jin-hyuk to rest further. This caused him to be released from duty for the remainder of his military service, and to his taking a one and a half year hiatus, until his return in 2017.
Choi Jin-hyuk’s Activities, Post-Military Discharge
Following his knee injury and discharge from the military, he took a year and half hiatus to rest, heal his knee, and go through physical therapy. Despite fans’ expectations for the actor to return to acting right away, they respected his decision and waited for him to return to the small screen.
In 2017, he returned with the large and ambitious OCN project, Tunnel. He was cast as one of the leads, portraying the character Park Gwang-ho. The story itself centers around a detective who travels through time to solve crime mysteries. Unfortunately, the star’s comeback is overshadowed by some controversy surrounding the drama, as some viewers point to its similarities with another hit drama, Signal.
By the time Tunnel ended, is had proved to have its own unique twist to the time-traveling crime mystery genre that has become popular in very recent years. On top of that, the viewership sky rocketed as the drama reached its climax, proving to be another hit on Choi Jin-hyuk’s lists of successes. Choi Jin-hyuk’s stint in the army might not have been a very fortunate one, but he is slowly rebuilding his career towards a brighter future.