Oftentimes, when K-Pop idols leave their group or stop being active in the industry, it can be a mystery as to what happened to them. While some try to return to normal life and leave the spotlight, others try to pursue solo careers or become actors instead. These are four different former or currently inactive K-Pop idols that you may be curious about where they are today!
1. Lee Joon (former MBLAQ)
Lee Joon debuted with former boy group MBLAQ back in late 2009, where he had the role of vocalist and main dancer. Until he left MBLAQ in October 2014, the group produced three single albums, seven EPs, and one full-length studio album. MBLAQ was a fairly successful group in their time, selling over 300,000 albums overall. Though the remaining members — Seungho, G.O, and Mir — still haven’t technically disbanded, they haven’t had a release since 2015.
In 2008, even before he debuted as a K-Pop idol, Lee Joon began his acting career at the age of 20 with a role in the sitcom That Person Is Coming. Since then, he has taken part in seven different films and 19 different K-Dramas.
After leaving MBLAQ, he continued to pursue his acting career and also released his first solo digital single “What I Want to Give to You” in October of 2017 just before his military enlistment began. He served his time from then until 2019, and his now he is continuing to focus on his acting career. His newest work, 7 Escape, is set to air beginning September 15.
2. Lena (former 6MIX)
6MIX was a pre-debut group formed by JYP Entertainment that included future TWICE members Jihyo (known as Jisoo at the time), Jeongyeon, Sana, and Nayeon, as well as two other trainees, Minyoung and Lena. Though the six-member girl group was planned to debut between 2014 and 2015, they ended up disbanding with the four future TWICE members going on to participate in the survival show Sixteen that formed TWICE.
Even though she trained with JYP Entertainment, she is also known to be close with BLACKPINK‘s Jennie!
While Lena first became known for featuring in labelmate Sunmi‘s “Full Moon” and had a promising future as a talented dancer in the K-Pop industry, she left JYP Entertainment before SIXTEEN aired for reasons still unknown. After she left the company, she returned to the United States where she was born and, in 2015, participated in and was one of the four winners of the Miss Korea USA pageant.
Last year, Lena joined the cast of Netflix’s drama series Partner Track.
She also periodically updates her Instagram account, but has not made a post since January 2023.
Samuel first entered the K-Pop entertainment industry at the age of 11 as a trainee at Pledis Entertainment, where he was originally expected to debut with future group SEVENTEEN. He left the company in 2013, however, due to his mother thinking he was too young to be a K-Pop idol.
In January 2015, he debuted in the hip-hop duo 1Punch which was formed through a collaboration between Brave Entertainment and D-Business Entertainment, during which period he went by the stage name Punch. His co-member, One, ended up getting scouted by YG Entertainment which led to the disbandment of the duo only eight months after they debuted.
In 2017, he participated in the second season of Produce 101, in which he ended up placing #18 overall and thus didn’t make it into Wanna One (much to the surprise of fans). He made his debut as a solo artist in August of the same year with the mini-album Sixteen, and from then until 2018, he released a total of one full-length studio album, two EPs, and three non-album digital singles.
Tragically in mid-2019, after he moved back to his home state of California, his father was killed suddenly, and between this event and growing issues with his agency Brave Entertainment, Samuel has been fairly separate from the K-Pop industry. He is, however, quite active on TikTok and Instagram, with 1.9 million followers on TikTok and 3 million on Instagram, and has spoken before about possibly setting up his own agency!
4. Kyulkyung (former PRISTIN)
Kyulkyung became a trainee at Pledis Entertainment after she was scouted by the company in China in 2009, at which point she moved from her home country to South Korea. She participated in the first season of Produce 101 in early 2016, and ended up ranking 6th overall which landed her a spot in I.O.I.
She debuted with the group in May 2016, and promoted with them until their planned disbandment in January 2017. Only two months later, she debuted with the Pledis Entertainment group PRISTIN, and also was chosen to be part of their sub-unit PRISTIN V that debuted in May 2018. In August of the same year, she started her solo career in China with the digital single “Why”, as well as taking part in several television soundtracks and even started her acting career as well.
When PRISTIN sadly disbanded in May 2019, Kyulkyung decided to stay with Pledis Entertainment. She has also created her own independent agency, Zhou Jieqiong Studio. She has released 11 OSTs for a multitude of different Chinese dramas, and has acted in four different dramas, with a fifth, A Forbidden Marriage, currently in the works.
5. Somyi (formerly of DIA)
Somyi was officially added to DIA on April 5, 2017. Prior to that, she was actually a big fan of the group, even being part of the group’s official fanclub.
Shortly after joining DIA, both she and fellow DIA member Yebin joined KBS‘s Idol Rebooting Show The Unit, but Somyi failed to make it into the final group. She would continue to be a part of DIA until her departure from the group in January 2022.
Just prior to and following her departure from DIA, Somyi became active as a streaming personality. She later explained on broafcast why she became a streaming personality, which was due to her family’s financial issues. She had to work to make money for her family and also took part-time jobs at restaurants and did modelling work.
6. Jang Gyuri (formerly of fromis_9)
Jang Gyuri debuted with fromis_9 on January 24, 2018 after placing 9th in Idol School.
She late joined Produce 48 alongside fellow Idol School contestants Bae Eun Young, Jo Yuri, and Lee Sian. She placed 25th overall, meaning she did not make IZ*ONE and returned to fromis_9.
She also gained popularity as an actress, playing the role of nurse Sun Byul in the popular K-Drama It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.
When fromis_9’s contracts were transferred from Stone Music Entertainment to Pledis Entertainment, Jang Gyuri decided to maintain the original terms of the contract instead of modify them following the transfer. Because of this, she departed fromis_9 on July 31, 2022. Since then, she has continued her acting career, having a role in Cheer Up and also in Season 2 of Player. She also signed with a new agency, Just Entertainment, to focus on her acting activities.
7. Bang Yedam (formerly of TREASURE)
Bang Yedam was well known by fans for years prior to his debut with TREASURE as he was famously just 10 years old when he auditioned for K-Pop Star 2. He ended up joining YG Emtertainment after placing second place on the show. But a three year long silence left fans concerned for his future…
… Until his sudden apperance as part of YG Entertainment’s trainees in a battle against JYP Entertainment’s trainees on Stray Kids!
He competed on YG Treasure Box as one of 29 trainees attempting to become part of TREASURE. He placed first amongst the vocal team, making him a confirmed member of the group. He promoted with TREASURE until November 2022, when YG Entertainment announced he would be leaving the group and company to focus on his producing career.
YG Entertainment Announces They Have Terminated Their Contract With Bang Yedam And Mashiho — TREASURE To Continue As 10 Members
Recently, he signed with GF Entertainment to focus on his activities as a producer and a singer.
8. Jinni (formerly of NMIXX)
Jinni debuted with NMIXX on February 22, 2022. However, just ten months later, JYP Entertainment announced she would no longer be a part of NMIXX and has terminated her contract.
Jinni Terminates Her Contract With JYP Entertainment, NMIXX To Continue As Six Members
Following her departure from NMIXX, Jinni would become active on social media, opening her own Instagram account.
She took her next step to returning to the celebrity lifestyle by signing with UAP in April 2023. She has since become the model for mixsoon and is also a model for MAC.
Her most recent TikTok post hints at her solo comeback as well.