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Why did Wonder Girls' leader leave K-pop? Sunye explains exit from iconic 2nd gen JYPE group

Sunye got much hate from the general public as they thought she abandoned her girl group for a man
Being pressurised from their debut days to losing her father and grandfather affected Sunye's decision to leave Wonder Girls (@BBC_blockberry/Twitter, JYP Entertainment/Naver)
Being pressurised from their debut days to losing her father and grandfather affected Sunye's decision to leave Wonder Girls (@BBC_blockberry/Twitter, JYP Entertainment/Naver)

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: From turning heads with her introduction on ‘Mom Is An Idol’ with a cover of BTS’ ‘Butter’ to reuniting with former JYPE colleagues Sunmi, JYP, and Jo Kwon, former Wonder Girls leader Sunye has finally returned to K-pop as a soloist. Wonder Girls was one of the biggest girl groups in the early 2010s and were also responsible for bringing K-pop to the West from being the first K-pop act to chart on Billboard Hot 100 to opening for Jonas’ Brothers’ world tour. They also have viral hit songs like ‘Nobody’ and ‘Tell Me’ that is still much loved in South Korea. 

However, right at their peak, leader Sunye ended up leaving. While she was still in Wonder Girls, she married and had a child. JYP shared that she was still in the group but they went on hiatus after which she left. Wonder Girls revamped and came back for a couple more years before disbanding in 2017. On ‘Mom Is An Idol’, during the mini JYPE reunion, Sunye apologized for delaying group comebacks. Sunmi had assured her that they were always grateful as Sunye had been the first member of the group and had looked after the girls as a mother.


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Why did Sunye leave Wonder Girls?

With Sunye returning to K-pop a decade later on ‘Mom Is An Idol’ and her debut as a soloist, many Knetizens slammed her for abandoning Wonder Girls at its peak since she was their leader. Well, on September 2, Sunye came on Channel A’s ‘Golden Clinic’ to talk about the hardships as an idol and why she actually left Wonder Girls. While she was the leader of one of the most successful girl groups at the time, Sunye revealed that she had a hard time and was pressurized due to high expectations right from their debut. Since she was an idol to whom teenagers looked up, she had to be careful about what she said or even the lyrics of the songs she sang.

Her being overly cautious started weighing on her which affected her mental status. Sunye also added that she knew the general public hated her as they felt she had left Wonder Girls for a man. But that wasn’t the case. The K-pop idol explained, “At the time when we were on our road to success, my grandfather and father both passed away. Having family funerals in a row, was the moment when I had to rethink the life I was living. You can be reduced to a handful of ashes in a moment. I couldn't be happy on stage like I used to before. Isn't my anxious heart going to damage the group dynamic and the members..?”

Sunye was the leader of one of the biggest global girl groups in 2000s, Wonder Girls (@sunye.m/Instagram, @wondergirlsworld/Facebook)
Sunye was the leader of one of the biggest global girl groups in the 2000s, Wonder Girls (@sunye.m/Instagram, @wondergirlsworld/Facebook)

Sunye also added that she left abruptly because she did not want her members to get hurt as the general public wanted her to leave. She said, “At that time, the general public thought that Wonder Girls couldn't promote because of me and that was the misunderstanding. Actually, Wonder Girls was preparing to become a band, that's why they had the hiatus. But I thought to myself because I didn't want to hurt the members anymore, I had to reveal my position officially. I wanted to resolve this cleanly, so I gave what the general public wanted from me.”

'I feel sorry'

Knetz were touched as they left comments like, “Even at that time, I thought that people who swore at her must've been crazy in their heads. I support Sunye,” “The fact that she withdrew because of her wedding actually shows that she cares for her team no?” and “As another human, I can understand her and I feel sorry.... People will never be able to express and rationalize everything they do, but for celebrities, it's a job that makes you stand in front of the public, there will always be misunderstandings because of this.”

One fan commented, “She has her family now and she is trying to pursue her idol career. Now is the perfect timing for her, in my eyes she is the biggest winner here. She will maybe be able to have both.” Another fan brought back JYPE’s handling of the situation, “Unfortunately WG and JYP used Sunye’s absence as the reason why they couldn’t make a comeback. I remember how many times they said they were waiting on Sunye. They could’ve just admitted they were going to practice for their band and save some of the hate Sunye got.” Another fan shared, “Breaks my heart to see Sunye explaining her departure from WG and apologizing to her fans.” One tweeted, “Just f**king cried sunye i love you.”





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