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In this Korean name, the family name is Choi.
Choi Ji-woo
최지우
'골든듀' 포토콜 최지우 (2).jpg
Born
Choi Mi-hyang

June 11, 1975 (1975-06-11) (age 45)
Paju, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Education
  • Busan Sooyoung Elementary
  • Dukmoon Girl's High School
  • Busan Women's College - Aerobic Dance
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present
Agent YG Entertainment
Children 1
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization Choe Ji-u
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Chiu
Birth name
Hangul
Revised Romanization Choe Mi-hyang
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Mihyang

Choi Ji-woo (born Choi Mi-hyang on June 11, 1975) is a South Korean actress. Considered one of South Korea's most beautiful women, she has received critical acclaim for her work in a wide range of melodramas, most notably Beautiful Days (2001), Winter Sonata (2002), Stairway to Heaven (2003), The Suspicious Housekeeper (2013) and Temptation (2014), as well as the romantic comedy series Twenty Again (2015) and Woman with a Suitcase (2016).

Career

1994–1998: Beginnings

Choi Mi-hyang was first discovered when she won a talent audition organized by MBC in 1994, then made her acting debut in the drama series War and Love in 1995. Afterwards, she adopted the stage name Choi Ji-woo.

She was cast in her first major role in 1996 film The Gate of Destiny, but her limited acting skills resulted in her being replaced during filming. In the next couple of years Choi continued to star in both TV dramas and films, including The Hole (the Original version of Hollywood thriller Hush), as well as the romantic comedies First Kiss with Ahn Jae-wook and The Romantic President with Ahn Sung-ki. It was her portrayals on TV of tragic heroines with a pure and innocent image—notably in Truth opposite Ryu Si-won and Beautiful Days opposite Lee Byung-hun—that boosted her rising popularity.

In 2002, she reunited onscreen with Bae Yong-joon (she previously had a supporting role in his 1996 drama First Love) that she would star in her most famous, iconic role. Directed by Yoon Seok-ho as the second installment of his "season dramas," Winter Sonata became a phenomenal hit throughout Asia and has been credited as one of the initiators of the Korean Wave. As a result, Choi gained wide pan-Asian recognition, especially a huge following in Japan where she acquired the nickname Ji-woo Hime ("Princess Ji-woo"). In 2009 she and Bae reprised their roles as voice actors for Winter Sonata Anime. She continues to be a lucrative star and brand in Japan, fetching high licensing/broadcasting rights for her dramas and selling out concerts and merchandise (tvN's E News compiled a list of the top Hallyu stars in Japan based on their approximate gross incomes for the first half of 2011, and Choi was number five with approximately US$2 million).

After the success of her 2003 melodrama Stairway to Heaven with Kwon Sang-woo, Choi again attempted to break into film. She played a terminally ill heroine in Now and Forever, and a character in comedy Everybody Has Secrets ("The Original Version of Irish film About Adam). Both films were poorly received by critics and audiences in South Korea, but performed well at the Japanese box office.

Choi then spent the next few years overseas, shooting the Chinese drama 101st Proposal with Sun Xing, and the Japanese drama RONDO opposite Yutaka Takenouchi. She returned to Korean television in 2007 in Air City alongside Lee Jung-jae; her role was the Chief Operating Officer of Incheon Airport.

2009–2012: Breakthrough

In 2009, she starred opposite Yoo Ji-tae in the drama Star's Lover, playing a top actress who falls in love with an ordinary man. Choi received Template:SK won per episode, the highest salary for a Korean actress at the time (her record was later broken by Go Hyun-jung's Template:SK won for the 2010 drama Daemul).

That same year, she set up her own management agency called C,JW Company with her brother as CEO. She also joined the ensemble cast of semi-improvisational mockumentary Actresses, arguably her most significant film yet.

During the press conference for the 2011 series, Can't Lose, co-starring Yoon Sang-hyun, featuring a lawyer couple facing their own divorce suit, she was asked if she worried about shedding her pure and innocent image. Choi said, "I've had the same image for 15 years. Isn't it time for me to break out? I was a melodrama queen and now I want the title of romantic comedy queen." She added that she had gained more fans after showing her cheerful, easygoing side as a guest on the reality show 2 Days & 1 Night.

In 2012, Choi was cast in the Chinese drama City Lovers, in which she portrayed the CEO at an event management company opposite Qin Hao, a newly employed businessman at her firm.

Later that year, she became the host of Choi Ji-woo's Delicious Korea on food lifestyle cable channel O'live TV alongside fashion designer Jung Kuho. The 5-episode show, which aired from November 23 to December 21, 2012, aimed to promote Korean cuisine and culture to the world, and the two hosts traveled through South Korea and introduced little-known regional food to the viewers.

She next headlined the 2013 remake of the hit 2011 Japanese drama Kaseifu no Mita. In The Suspicious Housekeeper, Choi played the titular character, an icy and stoic yet amazingly capable housekeeper who comes to work for a recently widowed father and his four children. Despite the difficulty of not being able to react to her costars, Choi said she chose the role because she "was really charmed by the way the heroine refrains from letting her emotions show."

2014–2016: Acting setback

In February 2014, Choi signed with the talent agency YG Entertainment. She then reunited with previous costar Kwon Sang-woo in Temptation; she played a rich woman who makes a dangerous offer to a married man.

Choi joined the fourth season of travel-reality show Grandpas Over Flowers in 2015, where she and Lee Seo-jin backpacked through Greece with veteran actors Lee Soon-jae, Shin Goo, Park Geun-hyung and Baek Il-seob. This was followed by the cable series Twenty Again, where she played a woman who became a wife and mother at 19 then decides to experience campus college life for the first time at age 38 when she becomes a university student alongside her 20-year-old son.

In 2016, Choi returned to the big screen in seven years, starring in the ensemble cast romance film Like for Likes. The same year, she starred in the legal romance drama Woman with a Suitcase.

2017–present: Career resurgence

In 2017, Choi was cast in the family melodrama The Most Beautiful Goodbye, a remake of the drama The Most Beautiful Goodbye in the World by Noh Hee-kyung.

In 2019, Choi made a cameo appearance as herself in episode 13 of the Netflix drama, Crash Landing on You.

Personal life

Choi majored in aerobic dance at Busan Women's College. She later enrolled in Hanyang University's Department of Theater and Film and completed her first year; however she had to withdraw from college studies due to her hectic work schedule.

Choi was married on March 29, 2018. Choi announced that she was pregnant with her first child on December 23, 2019, and gave birth to a daughter on May 16, 2020.

Filmography

Television series

Year Title Role Network
1995 War and Love MBC
1996 MBC Best Theater "사랑, 그 하나만으로도" MBC
First Love Kang Seok-hee KBS2
Three Guys and Three Girls (guest appearance) MBC
1997 Happiness Is in Our Hearts Seon Kyung-ah SBS
1998 Love Yoo Ji-young MBC
1999 Love In 3 Colors Eun Ji-soo KBS2
Love Story Min-jung (episode 2: "Message") SBS
2000 Truth Lee Ja-young MBC
Mr. Duke Jang Soo-jin MBC
2001 Beautiful Days Kim Yeon-soo SBS
2002 We Are Dating Now (cameo, episode 15) SBS
Winter Sonata Jeong Yoo-jin KBS2
2003 Stairway to Heaven Han Jung-seo SBS
2004 Full House Herself (cameo, episode 3) KBS2
101st Proposal Li Shao Rong BTV
2006 RONDO Choi Yoon-ah TBS
2007 Air City Han Do-kyung MBC
2008 Star's Lover Lee Ma-ri SBS
2009 Winter Sonata Anime Jeong Yoo-jin (voice) SKY PerfecTV!
2011 Fuyu no Sakura 冬のサクラ Inaba Tatsuki's Korean girlfriend
(cameo, episode 2)
TBS
Can't Lose Lee Eun-jae MBC
2012 City Lovers female CEO AHTV
2013 The Suspicious Housekeeper Park Bok-nyeo SBS
2014 Temptation Yoo Se-young SBS
2015 We Broke Up (cameo) Naver TV Cast
Second 20s Ha No-ra tvN
2016 Woman with a Suitcase Cha Geum-joo MBC
First Seven Kisses Goddess Naver TV Cast
2017 The Most Beautiful Goodbye Yeon-soo tvN
2020 Crash Landing on You (cameo, episode 13) tvN

Film

Year Title Role
1996 The Adventures of Mrs Park Eun-jin
1997 Hallelujah Bar madam (bit part)
The Hole Su-jin
1998 Alien Kim's daughter (voice)
First Kiss Song Yeon-hwa
1999 Nowhere to Hide Kim Ju-yeon
2002 The Romantic President Choi Eun-soo
2004 Everybody Has Secrets Han Sun-young
2005 Shadowless Sword Female martial arts gosu -Special Participation
2006 Now and Forever Han Hye-won
2009 Actresses Herself
2016 Like for Likes Joo-Ran

Variety show

Year Title Role Network
2008 Line to the Law Center VTR appearance NTV
2012 Choi Ji-woo's Delicious Korea Host O'live TV
2013 MBC Human Documentary - Love Narration MBC
2015 Grandpas Over Flowers Cast member (season 4) tvN
2017 Candy in my Ears - Season 2 Cast member tvN
2019 Coffee Friends tvN

Music video

Year Song Title Artist
1996 "Endless Love(moo han ji ae)" Kim Jung-min
1998 "Scenery" Goo Bon-seung and Jang Dong-gun
"Na Na Na" Yoo Seung-jun
1999 "For Your Soul" Jo Sung-mo
2003 "The Young Prince's Dream" Cha Tae-hyun
2013 "Ziugae" ALi

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1995 Korea's Isabelle Adjani Contest N/A N/A Won
1996 KBS Drama Awards Best New Actress First Love Nominated
1997 18th Blue Dragon Film Awards The Hole Nominated
1998 34th Baeksang Arts Awards Won
21st Golden Cinematography Awards Won
1999 14th Golden Disk Awards Golden Video Best Actress For Your Soul Won
20th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nowhere to Hide Nominated
2000 37th Grand Bell Awards Nominated
MBC Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Mr. Duke, Truth Won
2001 SBS Drama Awards Beautiful Days Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2002 38th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress (TV) Winter Sonata Won
Model Line Best Dresser Awards Swan Award N/A Won
KBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Winter Sonata Won
Popularity Award Won
2003 Andre Kim Best Star Awards Female Star Award N/A Won
26th Golden Cinematography Awards Most Popular Actress The Romantic President Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Stairway to Heaven Won
Top 10 Stars Won
2004 40th Baeksang Arts Awards Most Popular Actress (TV) Won
4th Proud Korean Awards
(Journalists Federation of Korea)
Recipient N/A Won
2005 41st Baeksang Arts Awards Hallyu Special Award N/A Won
The Motion Pictures Association of Korea N/A Won
2006 Dior Timeless Beauty Awards Recipient N/A Won
2007 MBC Drama Awards Popularity Award, Actress Air City Nominated
2009 International Cultural Industry Exchange Foundation Awards Recipient N/A Won
4th Seoul International Drama Awards Inducted into the Star Hall of Fame N/A Won
36th Tourism Day Presidential Commendation N/A Won
SBS Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Star's Lover Nominated
Best Couple Award with Yoo Ji-tae Nominated
2010 World Tourism Cities Forum Top Popularity Award N/A Won
2011 MBC Drama Awards Popularity Award, Actress Can't Lose Nominated
Best Couple Award with Yoon Sang-hyun Nominated
2012 7th Asia Model Festival Awards Asia Star Award N/A Won
Seoul International Social Work Conference Social Welfare Award N/A Won
2013 SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special The Suspicious Housekeeper Nominated
2014 7th Korea Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress Nominated
SBS Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Drama Special Temptation Nominated
Netizen Popularity Award Nominated
Best Couple Award with Kwon Sang-woo Nominated
2016 MBC Drama Awards Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama Woman with a Suitcase Nominated
tvN10 Awards Best Actress Second 20s Nominated
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