Kim Jong-un's love life: North Korean dictator's marriage, children and rumors of flings are shrouded in secrecy
Sarah Sanders' recent claims in her book have grabbed one too many eyeballs and people can't help but wonder about Kim Jong-un's love life
Kim Jong-un — who has served as the Supreme Leader of North Korea since 2011 and the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea since 2012 — is back in the news. No, his death rumors are not floating in the air again. It's his love life that seems to be the talk of the town. Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders recently disclosed a few secrets in her new book, 'Speaking for Myself', and one of them was about how US President Donald Trump once joked that she would need to "take one for the team" after Jong-un "winked" at her during the Singapore summit.
Shedding light on the events of the 2018 bilateral meeting between Trump and Kim, she narrated, "We made direct eye contact and Kim nodded and appeared to wink at me. I was stunned. I quickly looked down and continued taking notes." She claims Trump later told her, "Kim Jong-un hit on you! He did! He f***ing hit on you!" She then said, "Sir, please stop!" in response to the president's suggestion. Recalling his exact words, she penned down, "Well, Sarah, that settles it..." and added, "You're going to North Korea and taking one for the team! Your husband and kids will miss you, but you'll be a hero to your country!" She also pointed out how Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly both "howled with laughter".
Before the book could find its way to the shelves, the news grabbed one too many eyeballs and people couldn't help but wonder what Kim Jong-un's love life was like. Shrouded in mystery, not many details are known about him. State-run media reports his birth date is January 8, 1982, but as per an ABC report, rumors say he could have been born in 1983 or 1984 too. Back in 2012, it was first revealed that the young woman seen at his side was his wife, Ri Sol-ju. Soon after, TV footage “showed the two laughing with each other, touching a child's hair together and clapping while watching a performance.”
There was no clear story about how they met, whether it was a love or arranged marriage. According to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, she “had been a member of a troupe of performance artists and had received etiquette training for about six months before taking on the role of first lady.” Later, reports also said she had been particularly trained to become the North Korean leader's consort. First seen in video footage released by Pyongyang in February 2011, Yonhap news agency said she had taken a six-month course in the duties of a first lady, as per the Telegraph.
Reportedly, she was active in North Korea's Unhasu orchestra until 2011 and had performed for Kim and his father on New Year's Eve 2010, according to Chosun Ilbo newspaper. Quoting a source, the outlet added, "There is a possibility Jong-un chose her as his wife after seeing her at the concert hall." Not many details are known about her, but reports say she was a Kim Il-sung University graduate. If rumors are to be believed, she was raised in the northeastern province of North Hamkyong by her academic father and her doctor-mother.
A BBC report says analyst Cheong Seong-chang told the South Korean Korea Times newspaper, "The late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il arranged his youngest son's marriage in a hurry after suffering a stroke in 2008." The two reportedly got hitched in 2009 and allegedly gave birth to a son in 2010.
In 2013, Dennis Rodman met Jong-un. As he watched a basketball game with the authoritarian and dined on sushi, reports circled that he was one of the few high-profile Americans to meet Kim. Later, Rodman praised him as a "great leader" and said it was "amazing" that the North Koreans were "so honest." As per New York Daily News, Rodman also said, "He's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him," adding, "Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome." Meanwhile, Vice magazine correspondent Ryan Duffy said that Kim was "socially awkward" and avoided eye contact.
It was only after Rodman's visit that he revealed Jong-un and Ri had a second newborn daughter named Ju-ae. "I held their baby Ju-ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as well. [Kim's] a good dad and has a beautiful family," he told The Guardian.
Since 2016, Ri's presence around Jong-un decreased and there was much chatter on social media and on news websites about it. As media outlets noticed she hadn't been seen with him for roughly seven months, many wondered if the two had differences and were separated. However, there were no official reports. South Korean intelligence sources say the couple was blessed with a third child in 2017 and the gender of the baby is not known.
Since Ri hasn't been seen with Jong-un, rumors claim that the little one might be a love child. Later, intelligence sources attributed her absence to her pregnancy and revealed that she had given birth in February 2017, according to a Business Insider report. Now while there are no official reports, the riddles around his marriage remain unanswered. It is also noteworthy how there are several uncontested claims over the wives and girlfriends of Jong-Un's father and grandfather.
It is said Kim II-sung had six children and two wives. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-II is believed to have seven children with four women even though he had only one legal wife, as per the same report. In fact, Kim Jong-un was born to Kim Jong-Il's mistress Ko Young-hee who had two sons, Jong-un and Kim Jong-chul.
Could Kim Jong-un have followed their footsteps? Now with the recent revelations made by Sanders, social media is shocked and can't stop wondering if Jong-un really tried to flirt with her. However, we can't really tell the truth if we have only one side of the story, can we?