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K-Pop Idols Becoming K-Drama Actors Is Nothing New

BY Julie Jones | Sep 10, 2014 12:25 PM EDT

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K-drama fans are used to seeing k-pop idols take drama roles, but some new fans may not be familiar with the musical careers and past dreams of a few favorite actors.

For example, new k-drama fans may not realize that Eric Moon, now playing Jung Yu Mi's ex in "Discovery of Love" had a previous career as a member of the iconic k-pop group Shinhwa.

Eric Moon, whose real name is Moon Jung Hyuk, was one of the six members of the boy band that debuted in 1988 and topped the charts for years to come.

Formed under SM Entertainment, the very influential band changed agencies in 2003 when all the members began to pursue solo careers. They made a comeback in 2012 with their tenth album "The Return" and a concert tour. But many non-Korean fans may be better acquainted with more recent idol groups.

Since 2003, Eric Moon has been in more than a half dozen dramas, including "Spy Myung Wol" and "Que Sera Sera."

It may be a little easier to get a chance to act if you've already been an idol.

But some top actors first considered a music career then had to abandon it until after they succeeded as actors. Yoon Sang Hyun wanted to be a singer and was once a trainee in an idol group with fellow actor Go Se Won.

When Go Se Won recently appeared on the program "Same Age Friend," he said that Yoon Sang Hyun would have been the group's leader.

"Yoon Sang Hyun left by himself to make it on his own," said Go.

And he did make it on his own, but as an actor. His most recent appearances were in the dramas "I Hear Your Voice" and "Gapdong," but he may be best known for his role as the Hallyu star Oska in "Secret Garden."

His acting success led back to musical success. He has since then released singles, an album and contributed to the soundtracks of at least four dramas.

So Ji Sub originally wanted to be a rapper. That interest led to a modeling assignment with a rapper Kim Sung Jae and eventually an acting career.

"I did modeling because I wanted to see Kim and also because it was the best way to earn good easy money," he told the Korea Herald.

Besides appearing in dozens of dramas, films and music videos, including "Phantom" and "The Master's Sun," So Ji Sub also got to release some of his own music.

In June he released his third electro-hip-hop album, 18 Years. That's how long he has worked as an actor. He wrote and composed the title track.

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