HomeStoriesThe Uncanny Similarities “Queen Of Tears” Bears With A Real-life Heiress Story

The Uncanny Similarities “Queen Of Tears” Bears With A Real-life Heiress Story

The new tvN K-Drama Queen of Tears just premiered its first two episodes a few days ago and successfully captured the hearts of audiences. The comic romance depicts the story of a couple going through a marital crisis, primarily due to the difference in their family backgrounds.

“Queen of Tears” poster | tvN

With just two episodes released, the drama’s story has already reminded some viewers of a real-life marriage story that was once front-page news in South Korea. In 1999, when Samsung heiress Lee Boo Jin married Lim Woo Jae, the latter received the nickname “Mr. Cinderella” because his marriage changed his social status overnight from humble background.

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Lim Woo Jae and Lee Boo Jin | Yonhap

Lee Boo Jin, the second daughter of Samsung’s multinational conglomerate chairman Lee Kun Hee, was blessed with both striking beauty and business acumen like her father. She currently oversees the Shilla Hotel, one of the leading luxury hotels in Seoul. Her grandfather was the founder of the Samsung Group, which started as an exporter of fruit and dried fish.

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Lee Boo Jin

Similar characteristics can be seen in the main character of Queen of Tears, Hong Hae In (played by Kim Ji Won), who is a third-generation heiress of the Queen Group conglomerate. With an enviable beauty and sharp business sensibilities, Hae In is a successful guardian of the Queen shopping center.

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Kim Ji Won as Hong Hae In

Lee Boo Jin’s husband, Lim Woo Jae, was a university graduate who worked as an employee of a security service affiliate of Samsung Group. When he got married to Lee, the entire country was in shock at this unusual match.

Lim Woo Jae

Similarly, in the K-Drama, the male lead, Baek Hyun Woo played by Kim Soo Hyun), is a prestigious law school graduate who worked as an ordinary employee of the Queen Group before unexpectedly marrying into the family.

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Kim Soo Hyun as Baek Hyun Woo

The first time Lee and Lim met was at a Samsung Foundation charity event in 1995 when the Samsung heiress was an undercover intern at the company. The first episode of Queen of Tears shows a similar meet-cute, where undercover intern Hae In draws the attention of Hyun Woo. Both in the real and the reel versions of the relationship, the men were unaware of the women’s wealthy background during the relationship.

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(Above) The actual wedding photo of Lee Boo Jin and Lim Woo Jae and (below) the “Queen of Tears” wedding

In 1999, Lee Boo Jin and Lim Woo Jae’s marriage became a topic of national interest. But this dream-come-true wedding soon ran into troubles, leading to Lee filing for a divorce in 2014 and taking sole custody of their son. Similarly, in Hong Hae In and Baek Hyun Woo’s marriage, things go sour within three years, with Hyun Woo filing for divorce.

Even some of the marriage troubles faced by the Samsung couple appear to have been adopted by the drama on screen. After their fairytale marriage, Lim was sent to study in the US by his wife’s family. He was sent to acquire an MBA from MIT, which widely differed from his undergraduate degree. Later, Lim Woo Jae confessed that studying abroad was extremely difficult for him, and he even contemplated suicide at one point.

Similarly, in the show, Hyun Woo is pressured by his in-laws to go to the US and acquire an MBA despite being a lawyer. The restraints of belonging to a conglomerate family drive him to extreme extents as well, where he confesses to his therapist that he’d rather be physically stabbed than have his in-laws find out that he is scheming to get a divorce.

Since Queen of Tears has only unveiled two episodes, it is hard to predict which direction the story will take next. However, given the usual K-Drama tropes, one can root for a happy ending. But in real life, Lee Boo Jin and Lim Woo Jae’s marriage ended in a bitter divorce battle, which was settled in 2020 with Lee ordered to pay USD 12.1 Million Dollars in an asset split to Lim.



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