IU is a South Korean singer-songwriter, composer, and actress. She is one of the most famous solo artists in South Korea. She has received many awards and accolades in the music, TV, and film industries. She is considered one of the most influential music artists in South Korea.
- 1 Wiki/Biography
- 2 Physical Appearance
- 3 Family
- 4 Relationships/Affairs
- 5 Signature/Autograph
- 6 Career
- 7 Controversies
- 8 Awards, Honours, Achievements
- 9 Car Collection
- 10 Assets & Properties
- 11 Net Worth
- 12 Favourites
- 13 Facts/Trivia
IU was born as Lee Ji-eun on Sunday, 16 May 1993 (age 30 years; as of 2023) in Songjeong-dong, Seoul, South Korea. Her zodiac sign is Taurus. She became interested in working in the entertainment industry at a very young age and began to take acting classes. She began her elementary education at Seoul Guui Elementary School and then she joined Hanam Cheongyeon Elementary School in Gyeonggi-do. Later, she studied at Seoul Yangnam Elementary School in Seoul. After she completed her elementary education, she had to move with her family to Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province due to her family’s depreciated financial condition. She lived with her younger brother, grandmother, and cousin in a studio apartment for more than a year in extreme poverty. Her grandmother used to sell small hair accessories at a market.
She began her middle school studies at Gwangjin Middle School in Seoul and then she joined Singok Middle School in Gyeonggi-do. Later, she studied at Eonju Middle School in Gangnam-gu. When she was studying in middle school, she used to sing at her school’s sports competition and get compliments for her performance, after which, she developed an interest in singing and decided to pursue her career in singing. She gave 20 auditions; however, she failed in all of them. Many fraud entertainment companies scammed her. Later, she began to train at Good Entertainment. When she was a trainee at Good Entertainment, she was supposed to debut in a five-member girl group; however, the girl group didn’t debut. Later, she left the company. In 2007, she signed with LEON Entertainment company. In an interview, while talking about her poor living condition during that time, she said that she used to love staying at the studio, as in the studio, she could eat as much as she wanted and also sleep there. In 2012, she graduated from Dongduk Girls’ High School in Seoul.
After completing her studies at Dongduk Girls’ High School, she decided not to study further. In an interview, while talking about why she did not go to college, she said,
First of all, I didn’t feel confident at all about taking College Scholastic Ability Test because I couldn’t study at high school due to my hectic schedules. I did poorly in high school. And there was nothing I wanted to study and learn in college. Even if I was accepted by college, I couldn’t attend my classes. Think about it. I couldn’t attend my classes when I was a high school student. Do you think I can attend my classes at college? No. I thought it was waste of time. Actually, my mom wanted me to enter college because she couldn’t enter college. She couldn’t because she didn’t have enough money. But, I promised her I would try harder than those who entered college. I promised her I would study hard about music, and she understood me. And actually, media outlets say I didn’t enter college because I’m a person of upright character, but it’s not true. I didn’t enter college just because I was not a good student and I didn’t feel confident about attending my classes.”
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 45 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Figure Measurements (approx.): 30-26-30
She belonged to a lower-class family in South Korea.
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Lee Jinkook, and her mother’s name is Kim Misam. She has a younger brother named Lee Jong-hoon.
She is unmarried.
Jang Woo-young of 2PM
In 2011, IU had a rumoured relationship with Jang Woo-young of the South Korean pop band ‘2PM.’ She met Jang Woo-young when they played the role of each other’s love interests in the 2011 K-drama ‘Dream High.’ Since ‘Dream High’ was her first TV show, she felt a little nervous to shoot romantic scenes with him. So to remove that awkwardness, they began to meet each other and were often spotted having dinner together. Reportedly, they were dating each other; however, they later clarified that they were just friends.
Eunhyuk of Super Junior
IU and Eunhyuk got to know each other as both of them belong to the South Korean music industry. In 2012, IU and Eunhyuk took a picture together in which he appeared to be shirtless and both of them were sitting on a bed.
IU accidentally posted the picture on Twitter and fans were shocked after seeing that picture. She deleted the photo as soon as possible and apologised to her fans, but the photo already went viral before she could delete it. Later, fans and media began to spread the alleged rumours that both of them were in a relationship with each other. She denied the dating rumours; however, Eunhyuk never denied nor confirmed the rumour. The rumours of their marriage and her pregnancy also went viral; however, the management companies of Super Junior, SM, and IU clarified that they were good friends. According to sources, they dated each other for about three years (2012 to 2015). In an interview, while talking about her photo incident with Eunhyuk, she said that she had nothing but to apologise for what she did, she could even eat properly as she kept thinking about the mistake. She said,
I was so sorry to many people. Since I did it myself, I thought, who should I feel the most apologetic to? Should I be sorry to the people who loved me? Or should I be sorry to the people who loved the person I hurt (the other person in the photo)? I also thought a lot about, should I go out and apologize to everyone and clear up all the misunderstandings, or should I just stay quiet? I pushed back variety shows as much as I could because of that. That day, Yoo In-na came over. We’re really close. She just fed me continuously. She kept making conversation on other topics, and even when I said, ‘Unni, you can leave’, she stayed by my side and kept feeding me. Even after that, she would go onto the radio and say, ‘I want to listen to IU’s song right now! This is IU’s song’. I thought, ‘She’s so stupid’, but I was so sorry and thankful. It made me realize how many people I’ve hurt just from one action.”
IU and Lee Hyun-woo, a South Korean actor, were best friends; however, fans and media speculated that there was more to their relationship than just friendship when Dispatch, a Korean media outlet, spotted them together walking out of a movie theatre in 2013. After IU and Hyun-woo were clicked together, their pictures went viral.
Later, IU said that she had no idea that someone was clicking their pictures and when they were on their way back from the theatre Hyun-woo received many calls from his agency to inform them that their pictures were circulating on social media. Later, he apologised to all the male fans of IU as his intention was not to hurt them.
In 2014, IU allegedly began to date Jang Ki-ha, a South Korean singer, actor, and radio host. He was one of the best friends of IU. In 2015, the management companies of the couple confirmed their relationship. The couple had a rough relationship as it was quite hard for them to spend time with each other due to their busy and packed-up schedules; however, it is said that both of them began to grow apart due to IU’s closeness with South Korean actor and singer Lee Joon-gi. In 2017, their management companies confirmed that they were not together anymore as they had to break up because of their busy schedules.
Lee Joon-gi, a South Korean actor and singer, and IU were cast in lead roles opposite each other in the 2016 South Korean TV series ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.’ Their relationship outside of work made people suspect that they were in a relationship. After the show ended, their rumoured relationship ended with it. Many fans blamed Lee Joon-gi for being the reason for Jang Ki-ha and IU’s break up.
Kang Ha-neul, a South Korean actor, and IU were suspected to be dating each other after they were cast in lead roles opposite each other in the 2016 South Korean TV series ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.’ Their on-screen chemistry gained a lot of attention; however, both said they were just good friends. On 10 September 2017, IU and Kang Ha-neul were reportedly spotted at a cafe, one day before his enlistment in the Korean army. After their meeting, dating rumours began to pop up; later, Kang Ha-neul’s agency denied all those rumours by saying that he did meet IU at a cafe, but the two were not involved in anything romantic with each other.
IU became friends with Lee Jong-suk, a South Korean actor and model, at SBS’s Inkigayo, a South Korean music program, when both of them were in their mid-20s.
On 31 December 2022, Lee Jong-suk’s agency, HighZium Studio, released a statement confirming Lee Jong-suk and IU’s relationship. The statement read,
Hello. This is HighZium Studio. This is an official statement regarding the exclusive article about actor Lee Jong Suk. Actor Lee Jong Suk and IU recently progressed from being close acquaintances into being a couple, and they are maintaining a serious relationship. Please show lots of support so they can continue their beautiful relationship. Thank you.”
They began to date each other four months before the release of the official statement. According to a Korean media outlet, the couple celebrated Christmas of 2022 together in Nagoya, Japan. They have been friends for a long time before they officially began dating each other. In an interview, Lee Jong-suk talked about his relationship with IU and having feeling for her even when they were in their mid-20s. He said,
It was big beyond puppy love, but I had regrets as it couldn’t be achieved. We were friends for a long time, and now it turned out like this. How should I say this. Even when I was working hard living my own way, she was a strange existence who always took up a corner of my heart.”
In 2008, after training for ten months at LEON Entertainment, she debuted as a singer with the song ‘Lost Child’ from her debut EP ‘Lost and Found.’ On 18 September 2008, she performed live as a singer for the first time by singing ‘Lost Child’ at Mnet’s music program ‘M Countdown.’ On 20 September 2008, she made her debut at MBC’s Show! Music Core.
Her first album failed; however, she was grateful for that. On 23 April 2009, she released her second album ‘Growing Up.’ At the end of the same year, she launched her second EP ‘IU…IM.’ On 3 June 2010, she released the song ‘Nagging’ featuring Lim Seul-ong of the boy band ‘2AM.’ The song remained at the first position on the Gaon Digital Chart for three weeks, one week after debuting at the 12th position. On 9 December 2010, she released her third EP ‘Real’ with the lead single ‘Good Day.’ After the release of the album ‘Real,’ while she was promoting it, her songs topped many music charts including M Countdown, Music Bank, and Inkigayo. The song ‘Good Day’ secured the number one position at Billboard’s ‘The 100 Greatest K-pop Songs of the 2010s.’ In March 2011, British singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae had her first solo concert in Seoul in which IU performed as an opening act.
In the same year, she released her second studio album, which was titled ‘Last Fantasy.’ The lead single of the album, ‘You & I,’ is one of the most successful songs of IU with 5 million digital copies sold in around one year. It secured 1st position on Gaon Chart and Billboard K-pop Hot 100 chart. In June 2012, she had her first concert tour, ‘Real Fantasy,’ in South Korea. All the tickets to her concert were sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale, and 71% of the tickets were purchased by males, which was unusual for a K-pop concert.
In 2013, she released her third studio album ‘Modern Times.’ The album topped the Gaon Album Chart with seven of its songs at the top ten positions on the Gaon Digital Chart. The album grabbed the second position on Billboard’s ’25 Greatest K-Pop Albums of the 2010s’ list. In 2014, she released her sixth EP and first cover album titled ‘A Flower Bookmark’ She collaborated with South Korean singer Kim Chang-wan and did a remake of his 1984 song ‘The Meaning of You,’ which was featured in her album. The remake song became the best-selling single of 2014. In the same year, she did her debut performance at the KCON music festival held in Los Angeles. In 2017, she released her fourth studio album, Palette, which peaked on the Billboard World Albums chart. The lead single of the same name was featured by G-Dragon, a famous rapper of the K-pop boy band ‘BigBang.’
Billboard magazine listed the song ‘Palette’ at sixth position on the list of ‘Best K-Pop Songs of 2017’ and the album ‘Palette’ as the best K-pop album of 2017. The song was featured on the list of ’25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going’ by the New York Times magazine. In 2018, on the occasion of her tenth debut anniversary, she released the song ‘Bbibbi,’ which crossed one million unique listeners on Melon, South Korea’s biggest music site, just 16 hours later of release of the song. On 28 October 2018, she went on her first Asian tour titled ‘IU 10th Anniversary Tour Concert.’ On 6 May 2020, IU collaborated with Suga of BTS and released a single track titled ‘Eight.’
In 2021, she released her fifth studio album titled ‘Lilac.’ In 2023, she was featured in the song ‘People Pt.2’ by Suga of BTS from his album D-DAY.
She entered the Japanese music industry by signing with EMI Music Japan. On 14 December 2011, she released a Japanese EP titled ‘I□U,’ which was a collection of her previously released songs. In 2012, she held her first concert in Japan at the Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo. The Japanese version of her song ‘Good Day’ was ranked 5th and ‘You & I’ peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. In 2013, she released her second Japanese album, ‘Can You Hear Me?,’ which consisted of her first original Japanese songs.
She has written many songs. In 2015, IU released her seventh EP ‘Chat-Shire’ and wrote lyrics to all seven tracks of the album. She has written more than 70 songs. Some of the songs that she has written for herself and other artists include ‘Believe in Love,’ ‘Alone in the Room,’ ‘Hold My Hand,’ ‘Through the Night,’ and ‘Friday.’ She wrote lyrics to all the tracks of her 2021 album ‘Lilac.’
In 2011, she composed her first song ‘Hold My Hand,’ which was from the romantic comedy TV series ‘The Greatest Love.’ In 2012, she composed the lead single ‘Peach’ from her album ‘Spring of a Twenty Year Old;’ the song was ranked second on the Gaon Digital Chart and third on the Billboard K-pop Hot 100. She has composed many other songs including ‘Friday’ from her album ‘Modern Times – Epilogue,’ which topped the Billboard Korea K-pop Hot 100 chart after the two weeks of its release. In 2015, she composed the music for five out of seven songs of her EP ‘Chat-Shire.’
In 2011, she debuted with the teen drama TV series ‘Dream High’ in which she played the role of shy and overweight girl Kim Pil-sook, who wants to be a professional singer.
In 2013, she was cast in the lead role as Lee Soon-shin, an average girl who is not good at anything and is considered a loser, in the TV series ‘You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin.’ She also recorded a self-composed song titled ‘Beautiful Song’ for the TV show with her co-actor Jo Jung-suk. In the same year, she played a lead role in a romantic-comedy TV series ‘Bel Ami’ in which she played the role of a playful and carefree girl named Bo-tong, who is in her 20s and had a major crush on a guy since high school. In 2016, she appeared in a lead role in the popular historical K-drama show ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo’ based on the Chinese novel ‘Bu Bu Jing Xin.’ She played the lead role of Hae Soo, an optimistic girl, who does time travel and goes back in time. In 2019, she starred in a lead role in tvN’s fantasy mystery drama series ‘Hotel del Luna’ as Kim Gyu-ri, who was the grumpy owner of Hotel del Luna and loved luxurious things such as expensive clothes and cars.
Variety & Reality Shows
She has made appearances and performed on various South Korean variety shows including KBS’s ‘Star Golden Bell,’ SBS’s ‘Kim Jung-eun’s Chocolate,’ and KBS’s ‘You Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook.’ She has covered songs of many popular South Korean bands such as Girls’ Generation, Sweet Sorrow, Super Junior, and BigBang.
In 2009, she debuted as a TV presenter by hosting Gom TV’s weekly music chart show. She has appeared as a regular guest on many radio shows including KBS Cool FM’s ‘Kiss the Radio,’ KBS 2Fm’s ‘Volume Up,’ and MBC Standard FM’s ‘Starry Night.’ In 2011, she participated as a celebrity contestant in an ice-skating reality TV show titled ‘Kim Yuna’s Kiss & Cry’ and was disqualified in the eighth episode.
From 2011 to 2013, she hosted the music program, ‘Inkigayo.’ She has also hosted MBC’s quiz show ‘Quiz Show Q’ with South Korean DJ and singer Park Myeong-su and Sun Bom Soo.
In 2022, she debuted with the drama film ‘Broker’ in which she played the role of a single mother named So-young, who decided to leave her baby at the baby box, but later she goes back to take the child. Ben Rolph, a senior film critic, praised her performance in the film.
As of 2022, she has made donations of ₩4.3 billion since 2008. Since 2011, she has been donating all the money that she earns from fan meetings. Since 2012, she has been the ambassador of anti-bullying campaigns in schools conducted by the National Police Agency of South Korea. In 2013, she became an honorary member of the police force and in 2014, she was promoted to an honorary senior police officer for two years. In 2014, she organised a small-scale concert at Sogang University’s Mary Hall. The tickets to the show were sold out within 10 minutes after going on sale. Many singers performed guest acts at her concert including Kim Jong-hyun, Jung Yong-hwa, Hwang Kwanghee, and Kim Bum-soo. The profits made from the concert were donated to the victims of the Sewol Ferry Disaster. In 2015, 2018, 2019, and 2020, she made a donation to the Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation of ₩100 million to help underprivileged children. In 2016, she created the IU scholarship at Dongduk Girls’ High School and regularly donated to the scholarship to help those students who needed financial help. In 2018, she took part in the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, an internet challenge to spread awareness about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and donate to help people suffering from it. On 4 May 2018, on the occasion of Korean Children’s Day, she made a donation of 100 million won to Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation to help families with low income. In 2019, she made a donation to the Deaf Senior Citizens Support Center of ₩50 million. On the occasion of her 11th debut anniversary, she donated ₩100 million to elderly people living alone and another ₩100 million to the Korean Foundation for Support of the Senior Citizen. In 2019, Forbes listed her on its ‘Asia’s 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy: Catalysts For Change’ list and became the youngest to be listed.
Accused of Sexualizing the Protagonist of a Children’s Book
In 1970, the English edition of the children’s book ‘My Sweet Orange Tree’ by José Mauro de Vasconcelos was published. The storybook talks about the life of a five-year-old Brazilian boy Zeze living in Rio de Janeiro. In 2018, IU released a song titled ‘Zezé.’ Some lines from the song stirred controversy for sexualizing Zeze in the song. The lyrics are,
Zeze, come on up the tree quick and kiss the leaves, don’t be naughty and don’t hurt the tree, come up the tree and get the youngest leaf … you are innocent but shrewd, transparent but dirty and there is no way of knowing what’s living inside.”
Many news agencies criticised IU for allegedly sexualizing Zeze. She apologised for it and said,
I swear I did not write the lyrics to sexualise a five-year-old child. The Zeze in my song is a third-party fictional creation taken from the motif in the original novel. However, after listening to the opinions of those who have listened to the song, I came to realise that its contents could have given offence and even caused some to grieve. I am wholly responsible for my immature handling of things as a lyricist.”
In 2015, she faced backlash as her song ‘Red Shoes’ allegedly sound similar to the song ‘Here’s Us’ by the German band Nekta. She has faced plagiarism accusations for six songs including ‘Good Day,’ ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘Bbibbi.’ A complaint was filed against her in South Korea for copying songs and dismissing copyright violation concerns. She has rejected plagiarism charges many times. IU’s agency EDAM Entertainment said,
We came across news articles of [IU] getting reported to the police for plagiarism but received no official contacts from the investigative agency and we didn’t yet check the content of the aforementioned indictment.”
Accused of Being a North Korean Spy
In 2023, an extremist group in South Korea spread the news by distributing flyers in the parking lot of a building saying that singer and actor IU is a North Korean spy. The flyers depicted that she was involved in the 2015 Daejang-dong scandal in which the then-mayor of Seongnam, Seoul, Lee Jae Myung, was allegedly providing profit to a private business firm in exchange for personal monetary benefits.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Won Excellent Rookie Record of the November for her EP ‘Lost and Found’ at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Awards
- Won Digital Bonsang for the song ‘Nagging’ at the Golden Disc Awards
- Received Photogenic Award at the Korea Visual Arts Festival
- Won Artist of the Year Award at the Melon Music Awards
- Received Best Collaboration Award for the song ‘Nagging’ featuring Seulong at the Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Received New Generation Singer Award at the Republic of Korea Entertainment Arts Awards
- Won Song of the Year Award for the song ‘Good Day’ at the Melon Music Awards
- Won Hot CF Star Award at the Mnet 20’s Choice Awards
- Received Best Vocal Performance – Solo Award for the song ‘Good Day’ at the Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Won Bonsang Award at the Seoul Music Awards
- Won Popular Artist Award at the Asia Model Awards
- Won Song of the Year – February for the song ‘Only I Didn’t Know’ at the Gaon Chart Music Awards
- Received Female Musician of the Year Netizen Vote Award and Best Korean Pop Song Award and Song of the Year Award for the song ‘Good Day’ at the Korean Music Awards
- Received Favorite Female Singer Award at Nickelodeon Korea Kids’ Choice Awards
- Won Bonsang Award at Seoul Music Awards
- Received the Best 3 New Artists (Asia) Award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards
- Won Best Female Solo Singer Award at the Korean Entertainment Awards In Japan
- Won Top 10 Artist Award at the Melon Music Awards
- Received Best Solo (Female) Award at SBS MTV Best of the Best
- Won Best Female Artist and Most Popular Vocalist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Won Best Solo (Female) Award at SBS MTV Best of the Best
- Won Best Female Solo Award at Soompi Awards
- Won Album of the Year Award for the album ‘Palette’ and Best Songwriter Award at the Melon Music Awards
- Received Best Female Artist Award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Won Best Female Solo Artist Award at the Philippine K-pop Awards
- Won Digital Bonsang and Digital Daesang Awards at the Golden Disc Awards
- Received Best R&B/Soul Award for the song ‘Bbibbi’ at the Melon Music Awards
- Won Best Album Award for the album ‘Palette’ at the Seoul Music Awards
- Won Song of the Year – October Award for the song ‘Bbibbi’ at the Gaon Chart Music Awards
- Received Best Female Solo Award at Soompi Awards
- Won Idol Champ Fan’s Pick – Solo at the APAN Music Awards
- Received Best Lyricist Overseas Awards for the song ‘Love Poem’ and Outstanding Song of the Year Award for the song ‘Eight’ featuring Suga of BTS at the Asian Pop Music Awards
- Won Song of the Year – November for the song ‘Love Poem’ Gaon Chart Music Awards
- Best Vocal Performance – Solo Award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards
- Won Digital Bonsang and Digital Daesang for the EP ‘Blueming’ at the Golden Disc Awards
- Received five awards including Best Female Artist, Best Songwriter, and Artist of the Year at the Melon Music Awards
- Won Best Female Artist, Best Vocal Performance – Solo, and Best Collaboration Awards at the Mnet Asian Musi Awards
- Won Album Bonsang, Digital Bonsang, and Digital Daesang at the Golden Disc Awards
- Received Best Pop Album Award for the album ‘Lilac’ at the Korean Music Awards
- Received Best Female Solo Artist and Top 10 Artist Award at the Melon Music Awards
Film & TV Awards
- Won the Best Couple Award (with Jo Jung-suk) for the TV series ‘You Are the Best!’ at the KBS Drama Awards
- Won Best New Actress Award for the TV series ‘You Are the Best!’ and ‘Bel Ami’ at the KBS Drama Awards
- Won Idol Academy Award and Heart-wrenching Award at the SBS Drama Awards
- Won Best Couple Award (with Lee Joon-gi) for the TV series ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo’ at the SBS Drama Awards
- Won Top Excellence Award and Actress in a Miniseries for the TV series ‘My Mister’ at the APAN Star Awards
- Won Artist of the Year – Television/Film Award at the Asia Artist Awards
- Won Asia Hot Artist – Television/Film Award at the Asia Artist Awards
- Won Best Actor Award and Popularity Award (Actress) at the Asia Artist Awards
- Won the Most Popular Actress Award for the TV series ‘My Mister’ at the Baeksang Arts Awards
- Won Best Actress – Television for the TV series ‘My Mister’ at the Baeksang Arts Awards
- Won Best Actress Award at the Korea First Brand Awards
- Won Popular Star Award for the South Korean film ‘Broker’ at the Blue Dragon Film Awards
- Received Popular Star Award for the film ‘Broker’ at the Buil Film Awards
- Won Best New Actress Award for the film ‘Broker’ at the Chunsa Film Art Awards
- Received Popularity Award at the Youth Film Festival
- Received Best New Actress Award for the film ‘Broker’ at the Golden Cinematography Awards
- Won Best New Actress Award for the film ‘Broker’ at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
- Won the Most Popular Actress Award for the film ‘Broker’ at the Baeksang Arts Awards
- 2015: Honoured with Prime Minister’s Commendation Award at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards
- 2018: Honoured with Donation Angel Award by the Journalists Federation of Korea
- 2020: Honoured with Presidential Commendation by National Tax Service
- 2023: Received ‘A Proud Korean Who Makes Korea Honorable’ Award at the K-Star Awards
- She has been listed many times on the ‘Korea Power Celebrity 40’ list of Forbes. She was ranked 3rd on the list in 2012, 8th in 2013, 5th in 2018, and so on.
- In 2019, she was placed in Asia’s Annual Heroes of Philanthropy by Forbes.
- In 2021, she was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 (Asia) list.
- In 2021, she was ranked 9th on the ‘Most Influential People in Broadcasting and Entertainment’ list by Sisa Journal
- In 2023, she was placed 135th on ‘The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time’ list by Rolling Stone
Note: She has many more awards and accolades to her credit.
IU owns a Porsche Cayenne.
Assets & Properties
In 2012, IU purchased a villa in Bangbaedong for $748,400, which she sold for $766,200 in 2019. In 2021, she purchased a luxury penthouse flat of around 2,600 sq ft at Eterno Cheongdam worth $11.7 million. Reportedly, she paid the whole amount for the flat in cash.
She owns a property worth $3.43 million in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, which she uses as her studio. She owns a vacation home worth $1.64 million in the Yangpyeon district of Gyeonggi-do province and also purchased the land surrounding the home for $596,000. According to reports, she lives at the 56-storey Raemian Caelitus apartment complex in the Yongsan district; the apartments in the complex are worth around $2.6-$3.3 million.
As of 2023, IU’s net worth is estimated to be $35-$40 million. She is one of the wealthiest idol singers in South Korea.
- Singer(s): Gummy, Ha Dong-kyun, Taeyang, Corinne Bailey Rae
- Song(s): ‘Old Love’ by Lee Moon-sae and Hwang Joo-myung, ‘Ugly Duckling’ by Seung Yeon-son, ‘Officially Missing You’ by Geeks and Soyou
- Book: ‘One Day I Died’ by Lee Kyung-hye
- Character: Thumper from ‘Bambi’ (1942)
- Food: Raw fish, sweet potato, mint chocolate ice cream
- Snack(s): Geonbbang (hardtack), chocolates
- Her stage name IU is derived from ‘I and You,’ which represents that we can become one through music.
- IU’s fandom’s name is ‘Uaena’ and every syllable in the name has a different meaning; ‘U’ stand for ‘You,’ ‘ae’ is Sino-Korean for ‘love,’ and ‘na’ is Korean for ‘me.’ She calls her male fans ‘Geonbbang’ (a South Korean dry bread) and her female fans ‘Konpeitõ’ (a Japanese sugar candy). Her fandom’s color is neon or lime green.
- In childhood, IU’s nickname was Lee Ji-geum in which ‘geum’ means gold. When ‘Lee Ji-geum’ is typed in Hangul on an English keyboard it spells ‘dlwlrma,’ which is also IU’s Instagram account’s name.
- She is often referred to as ‘Bong-Si’ as she resembles the South Korean comedian Shin Bongsun.
- Her other nicknames are ‘Jingjjang’ and ‘Gasiyu.’ In Jingjjang, ‘Jing’ is short for Jieuni or Jingni (IU’s real name is Lee Ji-eun) and ‘jjang’ means ‘the best.’ Gasiyu means ‘GodessU.’
- She has earned the titles of Nation’s Little Sister and Nation’s Sweetheart.
- She is known for her sweet yet powerful voice. She has a soprano vocal range. According to Myung-jin Bae, her voice also has mezzo-soprano qualities.
- When she was studying in elementary school, she was the president of the class. She secured 1st and 2nd positions when she was studying in middle school.
- In childhood, she used to collect marbles; however, she was not good at playing with them.
- She is an avid reader and got this hobby from her mother. She has read many books including ‘Demian’ by Hermann Hesse, ‘Essays in Love’ by Alain de Botton, and ‘Pavane for a Dead Princess’ by Park Min Gyu.
- In her leisure time, she likes journaling or writing in her diary and playing games on the computer.
- She likes to listen to melancholy songs.
- She considers Corinne Bailey Rae, an English singer, as her role model.
- In winter, she does not like to wear layers of clothing and has been often spotted wearing only two t-shirts.
- According to Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), her personality type is INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging).
- She does not like to go shopping. Reportedly, she sometimes only spends 10 Korean Won in a month.
- Her ideal type is South Korean singer Taeyang of the boy band ‘BigBang’ and South Korean actors Yoo Ah In and Yoo Seung-ho.
- When she received her first paycheque, she bought a car for her father.
- Before debuting as a singer, she auditioned for many entertainment companies including the popular South Korean Entertainment agency JYP; however, she was rejected. Later, the owner of the agency, J. Y. Park, said that he was disappointed by his decision not to select her.
- According to her, South Korean singer Bae Suzy is the prettiest singer out of all singers. If IU were reborn, she wished to look like her.
- The money that she received from her first fan meeting, she donated all of it.
- On the day, when students took their college entrance exam, CSAT, in South Korea, she didn’t take the exam and went for the jacket photoshoot of her music album.
- In 2011, she appeared on MBC Radio’s show ‘Shim Shim Tapa,’ where she hand-fed rice balls to her fan.
- She wants to record a song with her fans and watch a movie with them.
- To write the lyrics of her 2014 song ‘4AM,’ she woke up at 4 am every day for a week, wrote down whatever she thought at that time and made that into the lyrics of the song.
- She warm-ups her voice by eating a cup of hot ramen hastily.
- She wants to collaborate with Rosé of Blackpink.
- When IU appeared in her first South Korean TV series, ‘Dream High,’ her parents forbid her from doing a kissing scene in the series and she had to follow their instructions.
- IU does not like to go on blind dates.
- In an interview, she said that she is not attracted to good-looking men.
- She likes to eat raw animal liver and mochi, a Japanese dessert.
- According to one of IU’s cousins, IU likes to dance sexily in the karaoke room.
- IU has a thing for pretty waistlines because, according to her, skinny jeans look good on them. She thinks that she does not have an attractive body.
- She once organised her music concert on a bus.
- In February 2012, she became the ambassador of the Korean National Police Agency.
- Her mother did not want IU to drive a car when IU got her driver’s license as she would just cause accidents.
- In 2014, IU revealed that she was diagnosed with bulimia, an eating disorder in which a person eats a large amount of food and causes self-induced vomiting to lose weight. In an interview, while talking about her eating disorder, she said,
Because I was so stressed, even the smallest thing would actually make my skin crawl. I was really unhappy. Once I started disliking myself, there was no end to that. I kept digging deeper and deeper into a hole of self-pity. I was so lethargic and felt like I only had two choices – to sleep or to eat. So whenever I wasn’t sleeping, I was binge eating.”
- In 2018, when she resigned from LEON Entertainment, she requested the company to give employment security and salary raises to all 40 of her staff members instead of getting a large amount of money as her down payment for her contract.
- She has been featured many times on the cover of Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Bazaar, and more.
- IU’s song ‘Heart’ from her 2015 album ‘Chat-Shire’ was one of those K-pop songs which were used by the Defence Ministry of South Korea for its propaganda broadcasts when South Korea had a tense standoff in August 2015 with North Korea to advertise the youth culture of South Korea.
- In 2015, IU was listed as ‘Person of the Year’ by Ize magazine and ‘Women of the Year’ by GQ Korea.
- IU has experienced paranormal activities quite a couple of times. In an interview, she shared one incident when she was recording for the song ‘You & I.’ She said,
There was a small argument with the song composer, so we temporarily put the recording session on hold. I saw that my manager headed into the recording booth, but when I checked, there was no one in there. He came out of a completely different room.”
- Reportedly, she has also seen ghosts in reality and later, in dreams, when she was living in her dorm. In 2011, she appeared on the SBS TV show ‘Strong Heart,’ where she shared her experience and said,
When I was sleeping at the dorms while recording ‘Good Day,’ I experienced a ghost that would whisper ‘I love you’ and blow into my ear. I saw the ghost in my dream later on, and he was very handsome.”
- When she was living in her dorm, she saw Seo In-young, a South Korean singer and actress, in her dream and scared her. She got so scared after that dream that she told her CEO that she could not live in that dorm anymore. In an interview, while talking about the incident, she said,
I had a dream in which Seo In-young unni kept walking towards me laughing in her high-pitched tone. I suddenly had a feeling that this wasn’t a dream. I opened my eyes and saw a girl sitting next to my bed. Her hair was disheveled and wore baggy old clothes. She was looking down, but at that moment, she lifted her head… and she was me. I was so scared and told the CEO that I really couldn’t stand living there anymore and that I even saw myself. So, he allowed me to go live at home.”
- IU shares a very close bond with Yoo In-na, a South Korean actress. Yoo In-na considers IU as her whole life.
- In 2022, IU held her concert, ‘The Golden Hour: Under the Orange Sun,’ at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which made her the first Korean female artist to do so.
- She is one of the brand ambassadors of the luxury brand Gucci. In 2023, she attended the Gucci Cruise 2024 held in Seoul, South Korea. She posed for a picture with famous Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, CEO of Gucci Marco Bizzarri, Hollywood actress Dakota Johnson, and American actor Blake Lee.
- She follows a non-vegetarian diet.