Ask any K-pop fan if they know who Kim Heechul is, and chances are, they probably do. After all, the Super Junior member has made a name for himself not only on the K-pop scene, but also the variety show circuit.
The 36-year-old, who celebrates his birthday today, is known for his quirky personality (he calls himself Space Big Star to allude to his universe-wide personality), no-holds-barred attitude and wit – all of which has earned him spots on variety shows. But beyond his witty comments, how much do you actually know about Heechul, or as his fans call him, Heenim? Here are 12 things to know about him.
He admitted he had a bad personality when he was younger
When Super Junior-M’s Henry and SHINee’s Taemin appeared on Life Bar, a show where Heechul was a host on, they admitted that they had been ignored by Heechul when they greeted him as trainees. The Super Junior member didn’t refute their claims and admitted that he had a bad personality back then. However, Henry said that Heechul has since become really kind.
He almost didn’t debut in Super Junior – and it was by choice
Heechul revealed on a variety show that he almost left SM Entertainment because he didn’t like having to do what the trainers and staff told him to do. He even went back to his home in Gangwon-do before he was convinced to come back.
He is loyal
His close friends and members have all attested to his loyalty, stating it as one of his strongest points. EXO’s Baekhyun, whom is he close to, revealed on the 4 Things Show, “Once he has treated you as a dongsaeng (younger sibling) even once, he will take care of you as if he is personally affected.”
He is unique
Ask anyone to describe him, and they would probably describe him as strange or unique. EXO’s Baekhyun said that SM Entertainment’s founder Lee Soo Man once told Heechul, “There will never be another person like you.”
He used to call himself the “blue chip” of variety shows
And for good reason too – getting him on a show is akin to being guaranteed good ratings. When the second season of Family Outing wasn’t doing well, Heechul was brought on as a regular cast member. He is now on four variety shows, and will be heading another next week.
He had a bad car accident in 2006
He was involved in a car accident after attending member Donghae’s father’s funeral in August 2006. The accident occurred after the tires malfunctioned as the car switched lanes. He suffered severe injuries, including fractures in his legs that required 10 hours of surgery and seven iron rods to be inserted, as well as a cut on his tongue. He was only discharged from the hospital two months after the accident, and made his comeback with the group in November that year.
He is a fan of Evangelion’s Asuka and Frozen’s Anna
Heechul is known to be an avid fan of Asuka and collects figurines of the character. In fact, he even has a life-sized pillow of her that he sleeps with. Apart from Asuka, he was also a fan of Anna when Frozen first came out. He even bought merchandise of the Frozen character and cosplayed as her for Super Junior’s concert.
His celebrity connections are impressive
He is not only friends with JYP’s Park Jin Young, but also top stars such as Son Ye Jin – whom he once revealed was his ideal woman – and even former professional gamers! One of his friends, comedian Lee Jin Ho, revealed that one of the reasons why Heechul can be friends with so many female celebrities is because he doesn’t meet them with the intention to date them – he just treats them like little sisters.
He hasn’t forgotten his music roots
Heechul admitted previously that he joined SM Entertainment because he wanted to be in a rock band. Although he since debuted in Super Junior, a group that is known for their dance songs, he still ventures into rock and rock ballad territories as side projects with TRAX’s Kim Jung Mo and singer Min Kyung Hoon, the lead vocalist of rock band Buzz and current member of Knowing Brother.
He is a huge fan of Ahn So Hee
Heechul revealed himself to be a fan of the former Wonder Girls member since she first debuted. In the past, he would imitate her line and choreography in “Tell Me”. He continued to display his fanboy ways every time he appears on a show with her. More recently, he unabashedly called her name out on Knowing Brother when asked to imagine who he would want as his wife – Sohee or TWICE’s Momo, whom he is also a fan of.
He has an opinion about sasaeng fans who chase him around in taxis
After his car accident, the singer is extremely cautious about safety on the road (as everyone should be). When Super Junior came to Singapore in 2011, the van with Heechul and Leeteuk was involved in a six-car pile-up after one of the vans chasing them suddenly hit the brakes. Heechul wrote a lengthy message about it on his Twitter account, telling fans the danger such behaviour poses to others.
He loves animals
Any Heechul fan would know that he loves animals and has a Russian Blue that has been with him for 14 years. On a recent Instagram Live, he choked up while talking about the fate of a dog he fostered and gave up for adoption. According to him, dog was ill but the new owner refused to get it treated. When Heechul asked him to give the dog back to him to receive treatment, the owner asked for money, but then refused to commit when Heechul asked them to name a price. Heechul revealed that the dog will likely be euthanised.
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