Song Hye Kyo has one of the most beautiful faces in Korean television. But this Hallyu star has proven that she is more than just a pretty face as seen in her popular collection of work both in the small and big screen. Hailed as one of Korea’s highest-paid actresses here are seven of her most notable K-dramas to date.
1. Worlds Within (2008)
In this series Song Hye Kyo transforms into Joo Joon Young, a production director (PD) in a network station. She works alongside Jung Ji Oh (Hyun Bin), who is also a PD at the same company. Both are under tremendous pressure to produce a hit drama series.
Joon Young sees Ji Oh as her sunbae and admires his work as a director. As with any working relationship, complications tend to arise, both professionally and personally. However, what makes things more interesting between the two is that they dated briefly back in college which ended on bad terms. But when they broke up with their current partners, they decided to give each other another try.
Many people would say that this drama was more about Song Hye Kyo and Hyun Bin’s Love Story. Their romantic and sensual scenes exuded palpable chemistry which turned out to be the highlight of this drama. To refresh everyone’s memory, or if it’s the first time you’re hearing this, it was during this time that the two started a relationship off screen—and the vibes were unmistakeable! Although it was sad that their real-life romance did not last, at least die hard fans have this 16-episode drama to look back on.
More than it’s love story and good casting, this series also gives viewers a look behind the scenes of a TV drama production.
2. Full House (2004)
This popular drama is one of the K-drama classics and it is even considered a pioneer in the romantic-comedy genre. It was a huge success in Asia which helped propel the Korean wave and pushed Rain to Hallyu superstar status.
In this story, Song Hye Kyo plays an aspiring scriptwriter named Han Ji Eun. She lives in a house built by her late father which was called “Full House.” While Ji Eun may be pretty optimistic, she was also gullible. She got tricked by her friends into going on a trip abroad, and when she returned she found that her house was sold to a famous actor, Lee Young Jae (Rain) with whom she has made several unfortunate encounters on her trip. Even though they don’t get along, the two agreed to an unusual living arrangement. Jie Eun agreed to work as his maid so she can buy her house back.
Young Jae has been in love with his best friend, Kang Hye Won (Han Eun Jung) for over a decade, but she doesn’t share the same feelings. Instead, she has her eyes set on Yoo Min Hyuk (Kim Sung Soo). Desperate to stir some jealousy, Young Jae proposed to contract marriage with Ji Eun, and in return, she can have her house back. Ji Eun agrees to this plan and will be his wife for a year. But this arrangement revealed more than they expected. Both of them started to learn the struggles of a married couple and even ended up genuinely caring for each other.
Song Hye Kyo was only 23 years old when this drama was filmed, but she was gaining notoriety then after her work with Autumn in My Heart.
3. Autumn in My Heart (2000)
By this time Song Hye Kyo already starred in several dramas and sitcoms, but this series was considered her breakthrough role.
The story goes way back in childhood when Choi Eun Suh (Song Hye Kyo) and her brother Yoon Joon Suh (Song Seung Heon) got into an accident. When they are brought into the hospital, routine blood tests revealed that their blood type doesn’t match. It turns out that Eun Suh was switched at birth to no less than her classmate, Yoon Shin Ae (Han Chae Young), who lives with her single mom who runs a small restaurant.
After the two have been returned to their real families, the former brother and sister lost touch with each other. Several years later, Joon Suh grows up to become an artist who owns a small workshop in Sokcho, Gangwon-do Province. Coincidentally, Eun Suh was working at a hotel nearby, and it was inevitable for the two to finally reconnect. This reunion ignited some feelings between the two. But a love triangle ensued when Han Tae Seok (Won Bin) came between them.
Things turn for the worse when Eun Suh finds herself in a fatal health scare. The story wraps up tragically, which still gives everyone all the feels even after two decades since its premiere.
4. All In (2003)
Song Hye Kyo also dabbled into some fast-paced drama with characters that are far from her usual sweet image. It is set in the glamorous world of high stakes gambling, with a story based on the true-to-life tale of a professional poker player, Jimmy Cha.
Kim In Ha (Lee Byung Hun) is a professional gambler who was raised by his uncle. He grows up learning how to cheat his way into winning card games. As a teenager, he falls in love with Min Soo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo), whose dad owed money to the wrong people, which eventually got him killed. In a fit of revenge for the heartbroken Soo Yeon, In Ha sets fire to the gangster’s warehouse which causes him to unintentionally kill someone. This landed him in jail for arson and manslaughter at the young age of 18. Meanwhile, Soo Yeon is taken by the church and she sets her sights on becoming a nun.
Upon his release several years later, In Ha manages to land a job at a high-end casino where he crosses paths again with Soo Yeon. In a strange twist of fate, she has left the church to become a casino dealer. Hopelessly entangled with the mob, the casino underworld, and his own past, In Ha has to go all in and risk everything to keep the woman he loves by his side
5. That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013)
The story starts with Oh Young (Song Hye Kyo), a blind woman who is heir to a large conglomerate. She lives a lonely life having been estranged from her mother and brother at a young age, and her father passing away recently. She is now left under the care of her family’s lawyer and her caretaker, who used to be her father’s mistress.
One day, she receives a letter from her brother which prompts her to track down the address. But when she arrived there, her brother was nowhere to be found, but she was greeted by his friend Oh Soo (Jo In Sung), who shares the same name. He is known as a playboy and a gambler who is swimming in debt.
Following the tragic death of Oh Young’s brother, he sees this as an opportunity to pretend to be him so that he can gain access to the family’s wealth and finally pay his debts. He schemes with his best friend, Park Jin Sung (Kim Bum) and Moon Hee Sun (Jun Eun Ji) to devise a plan to win over Oh Young’s trust and eventually steal her wealth. However, it was he who was in for a surprise. Over time, he learns more about her struggles and realized that they are more alike than he thought. He slowly develops feelings for her which complicate their plans and leave him deeply conflicted.
6. Encounter (2018)
This drama centers around the complicated romance between a free-spirited Kim Jin Hyuk (Park Bo Gum) and the wealthy CEO, Cha Soo Hyun, (Song Hye Kyo).
Soo Hyun’s life has always been in the spotlight and an enviable one at that as she seems to have everything and yet remains unhappy. She married into a powerful family who engaged in business and politics. Unfortunately, that ended in divorce through which she acquired the Dongwa Hotel Chain as alimony.
On a business trip to Cuba for hotel expansion, it was there where she met Jin Hyuk who ends up being her tour guide around Havana. To their delight, this chance meeting proved to be pretty magical and memorable. Little did they know that their paths are about to cross again but in different circumstances.
When they came back to Korea, they met at Donghwa Hotel, where Jin Hyuk ended up working. While their polarizing backgrounds made it difficult for them, they still wind up growing deeply in love with each other. But will this be enough to conquer all the odds?
After a two-year-long hiatus for both stars, this onscreen return is perfect for some heartwarming holiday binge-watching. It’s a slow-burn romance that thrives off this off-kilter awkwardness.
7. Descendants of the Sun (2016)
This drama is a special one for Song Hye Kyo both professionally and personally. Besides being one of the most well-received love stories in K-dramaland, it was also the project that brought Hye Kyo her to the arms of her future husband—even though that didn’t end well.
In this story, Hye Kyo suits up to play the role of a trauma surgeon, Kang Mo Yeon. While working at the ER, she met special forces Captain Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) while he was chasing down a thief on their day off. It was love at first sight for Shi Jin, and his prodding eventually led to an actual date. However, whenever they try to spend time together, work calls and must always come first. On top of that, they notice that they also have conflicting core beliefs, which eventually pushed them to put a stop to this budding romance before it moves forward into an actual relationship.
However, when hospital politics placed Mo Yeon in a sticky situation, she and a team of healthcare workers were assigned to a clinic in Urk. Unexpectedly, she met Captain Yoo Shi Jin once again. Even though they are in the midst of a volatile situation, will their feelings be enough for second chances?
Descendants of the Sun has gained local and international success which birthed the Song-Song couple. It also spurred adaptations in countries like Vietnam, China, and the Philippines.