Jang Ja-yeon’s Ex-Boyfriend Said He Never Heard of Yoon Ji-oh
A 39-year-old man identified as Mr.Choi stated that he dated Jang Ja-yeon for about a year, until a month before her death in March 2009. Following her death, Mr. Choi was asked a series of questions by the police as a testifier, based on messages and call records that were exchanged between him and the actress.
On May 23, 2019, SBS’s ‘funE‘ news outlet released an interview that Mr.Choi recently participated in, during which he talked about the actress. He stated that when Jang Ja-yeon was edited by suicide after telling him, “I’m sorry, I can only say that I’m sorry to you” the day before, he felt guilty for not being able to protect the actress. In addition, he shared that he didn’t want to mention the actress’s name in public out of respect for her family.
During the interview, Mr. Choi said, “I recently read an article about an actress who argues that she was good friends with [Jang Ja-yeon]. While hearing her say things like “I think [Jang Ja-yeon] was sexually abused” and, “She may have been drugged,” I thought she was crossing the line. The least I can do is prevent further defamation of [Jang] Ja-yeon.”
Mr. Choi continued, “[Jang] Ja-yeon, who was the same age as me, had pride in herself and was bright. We met five times a week, went to each other’s houses, and I even met [Jang] Ja-yeon’s sister and brother at her house many times.” He added, “Around the time we broke up, [Jang] Ja-yeon was taking pills for sleep deprivation and frequently said things like, ‘I’m exhausted’ and, ‘I want to die.’ We met up and exchanged phone calls even after we broke up. When she asked, ‘Where should I die?’ I could only respond, ‘Don’t do that.’ I was shocked when I heard that she was found at a location that she had previously mentioned [to me].”
This is the first time Mr. Choi has publicly spoken up about the late actress. He continued to explain, “The [Jang] Ja-yeon that I knew would never sexually entertain anyone for money. She was better off than most people her age. She did have to immediately change into different clothes and leave for meetings with people at her company, even when we were hanging out together, but [Jang] Ja-yeon considered that as part of her duty as an actress.”
Mr. Choi elaborated, “I had taken her back home to Bundang after her meetings a few times. Other times, she texted me, ‘My manager is coming to pick me up. I’ll come to your house after the meeting.’ We exchanged simple conversations just like any other couple. I don’t remember a time our conversation was cut off for a long time. Our friends and I find it difficult to believe the statement “Jang Ja-yeon was high on drugs.” Because they had been broken up, Choi stated that he didn’t know about Jang Ja-ye’s whereabouts in the month prior to her death.
Mr. Choi shared, “Before we broke up, [Jang] Ja-yeon said that she was having a hard time because of some problems with her agency. I asked her if she needed help with finding a new agency, but she refused. [Jang] Ja-yeon had a big dream of wanting to grow as an actress. Many people who started their careers in the entertainment industry around the same time as she had already become stars, and when they took on good roles, [Jang Ja-yeon] expressed that she was upset.” Mr. Choi further stated, “She said that she was under a lot of pressure because she had to look for another role after ‘Boys Over Flowers.’ She was having a hard time due to sleep deprivation, and she called me and expressed her concerns while under the influence of her pills. Even then she said, “I love my sister and brother so much that I cannot die.”
While Mr. Choi said he would like to know the truth behind the death of the late actress more than anyone, he can’t trust the words of Yoon Ji-oh that are being published through news outlets. “I couldn’t contact [Jang Ja-yeon’s family] after the funeral, but I’m sure they feel the same way I do,” continued Mr. Choi, “I can’t read an article if it mentions [Jang] Ja-yeon’s name because I get scared. But this person named Yoon Ji-oh, who has no idea of what was going around at the time, is making detrimental statements about Jang Ja-yeon, such as [Jang Ja-yeon] being drugged and sexually abused and having to sexually entertain [ figures] and by serving drinks.”
Mr. Choi concluded, “I, as well as those who were very close to [Jang] Ja-yeon, have never heard of [Jang] Ja-yeon mentioning Yoon Ji-oh’s name before. But for Yoon Ji-oh to publish a book that mentions [Jang Ja-yeon’s] name and produce merchandise? That’s a cruel thing to do. Everyone who was close to Jang Ja-yeon and questioned as a testifier has never been threatened nor followed.”