With heartfelt confessions of love, steamy kisses, witty banter, and undeniable loyalty – a few K-drama couples have truly raised the bar on romance. In fact, their sizzling chemistry inspired a series of fan-made video dedications, petitions for spinoffs, and real-life marriages. Here’s a look at a few duos that are deemed iconic.
The Hallyu wave has given the world the most exciting set of shows – from action thrillers to historical sagas. However, many irrespective of the genre are remembered for the chemistry between the protagonists. These are often marked by slow-burn romances, exciting will-they-won’t-they instances, misunderstandings underlined by jealousy, and wholesome dates. Not to mention, kiss scenes that will have your heart racing. At times, these duos are so convincing they spark dating rumours. Some have even gone on to marry each other in real life. Naturally, they make the series binge-worthy. If you’re in the mood for love, here’s our pick of the best Kdrama on-screen couples.
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Kdrama on-screen couples who are absolute goals
Lee Young Joon and Kim Mi So in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
We’re starting this list out strong with one of the most iconic couples in Kdrama history. Lee Young Joon (played by Park Seo Joon) is an arrogant, intelligent, and suave chairman who depends on his dedicated secretary Kim Mi Soo (played by Park Min Young) to stay at the top of his game. When she decides to quit after working by his side for nine years, he spends a considerable amount of time trying to understand why (hence the name of the show). He also sprouts a series of hilarious instances in an attempt to convince her to stay. Along the way, he wins her over with sincerity and consistency. While she brings stability and logic to the relationship, he spices things up with spontaneous, grand dates and grander presents. The two share an electric chemistry, complete with banter and instances of flirting that will make your heart flutter. Not to mention, the show has some of the most popular kiss scenes.
Yoo Shi-Jin and Kang Mo-Yeon in Descendants Of The Sun
If there’s anything we’ve learned from action-packed romances it’s that nothing gets sparks flying like a series of life-and-death instances. Take for instance South Korean Special Forces agent Captain Yoo Shi-Jin (played by Song Joong-Ki) and Haesung Hospital surgeon Kang Mo-yeon (played by Song Hye-Kyo). It is attraction at first sight for both as the former flirts his way into a date. The two attempt to pursue a relationship while grappling with their respective hectic schedules. The banter between them is exceptional, with Yoo Shi-Jin consistently teasing Mo-Yeon. Things get moving when fate brings them together in a war-torn country called Urk where doctors and the army work in tandem to keep peace and treat locals. There, the two tackle near-death experiences, save each other’s lives, and risk it all to be with each other – a turbulent but electric equation. No surprise then that the chemistry translated into real-life marriage for the two actors.
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Ri Jeong-Hyok and Yoon Se-Ri in Crash Landing on You
Perhaps one of the most popular Korean dramas around – Crash Landing On You gave the Kdrama world the most steady, dedicated couple in North Korean captain Ri Jeong-Hyok (played by Hyun Bin) and South Korean millionaire businesswoman Yoon Se-Ri (played by Son Ye Jin). The story goes that the latter has a paragliding accident which lands her in North Korea. Discovered by the former, she attempts to escape the authorities. Ri Jeong-Hyok makes multiple dangerous sacrifices to help her do this. Although at first, he appears to not care much for her, he consistently shows up for her in difficult circumstances, ensures she’s comfortable, and protects her. In turn, she risks her life for him and looks after him. There are plenty of electrifying romantic moments in the show – including when he crosses the border to kiss her goodbye or she runs through a field of armed officers for one last embrace. This is a classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
Seo Jung-hoo/Park Bong-soo and Chae Young-shin in Healer
Another action-packed tale that got the sparks going, Healer looks into the life of a night courier (played by Seo Jung-Hoo) who transports high-value items for well-paying clients (often illegally) under the radar. When he’s tasked with hunting for a girl named Chae Young-Shin (played by Park Min Young) who’s an entertainment journalist at a small-time publication, he poses as Park Bong-Soo – an aspiring reporter – to stay close to her. The two discover a mutual appreciation and inexplicable affection for each other. Also a part of the storyline? An underlying theme of an old murder incident connected to a group of rebellious journalists who ran an illegal broadcasting station.
In a complex turn of events, Young-Shin falls for the Healer, while treating Bong Soo as a friend. The latter, meanwhile, also finds himself drawn to her, protecting her from danger at the risk of his own life several times over. As the story progresses, he reveals himself to her and the two pursue a sizzling relationship – underlined by the threat of being torn apart. There are plenty of romantic scenes shared by the two that have gone down as some of the steamiest in K-drama history. Besides, they’re near inseparable once they get together, which is heartwarming. If that’s not chemistry, we don’t know what is.
Noh Ji-Wook and Eun Bong-Hee in Suspicious Partner
A popular romantic Korean courtroom drama – Suspicious Partner sees prosecutor Noh Ji-Wook (played by Ji Chang Wook) and legal trainee Eun Bong-Hee (played by Nam Ji-Hyun) get off on the wrong foot, with the latter mistaking the former for a pervert in the subway train. They meet again at work, with Ji-Wook being Bong-Hee’s mentor. He tests her limits – making her work round the clock with little to no appreciation. However, when she’s accused of murder and has only him to rely on, things take an executing turn. The two discover love as they follow the trail of a dangerous criminal, bantering and looking after each other while inebriated. Sparks fly when the criminal breaks into her room, forcing her to move in with her boss. The two share knowing looks, banter endlessly, express jealousy, confess their feelings for each other, and pose as each other’s partner to get the other out of sticky situations. Their steamy kiss on laundry day ranks right at the top of the hottest Kdrama scenes – making this on-screen couple quite popular.
Sung Duk Mi and Ryan Gold in Her Private Life
This light-hearted show follows Sung Duk Mi (played by Park Min Young), a talented gallery curator who also happens to be an ardent K-pop singer’s fan under the radar. She keeps both lives separate until a series of unfortunate events leave her with a new boss Ryan Gold (played by Kim Jae-Wook). The two get off to the wrong start, with the former branding him arrogant and temperamental and the latter seeing her as inconsistent. The two banter while also looking out for each other, falling in love in the process. And when they have to pretend to date, things get quite interesting. Through the course of their dreamy dates, they can’t help but be drawn to each other and feel jealous of the possibility of either being with someone else. Naturally, there’s plenty of chemistry here to keep viewers hooked.
Hong Do-Sik and Yoon Hye-Jun in Hometown Cha Cha Cha
A popular feel-good Kdrama – Hometown Cha Cha Cha has the classic big-city girl-small-town boy couple trope. This involves dentist Yoon Hye-Jun (played by Shin Min‑A) and jack-of-all-trades Hong Do-sik (played by Kim Seon-ho). Right at the outset, the two lock horns, with the former pegging the latter as eccentric and the latter seeing her as high-maintenance. However, through the course of her stay in the town, they grow closer – their chemistry being underlined by rib-tickling banter and sweet romantic gestures. Do-Sik painstakingly restores a damaged shoe that she holds dear to her heart, cooks for her, and ensures she doesn’t want for anything. She, on the other hand, makes an effort to grow closer to those he holds dear and helps him open up emotionally. The two share the dreamiest confessions, low-key dates, have endearing drunken nights together and navigate meeting the parents as well as jealousy when Hye-Jin’s former college mate-turned-hotshot-television-director expresses interest in her. Their chemistry will warm your heart.
Vincenzo and Hong Cha Young in Vincenzo
Perhaps one of the most underrated duos in Korean drama circles – Vincenzo’s leads share a fiery chemistry. The story follows an Italian consigliere (played by Song Joong Ki) with a dark past who leaves the mafia to return to his homeland South Korea to wrap up some unfinished business. There he finds himself entangled in a war against a corrupt conglomerate alongside eccentric lawyer Hong Cha Young (played by Jeon Yeo-Bin). At first the two lock horns. However, after a heartbreaking incident, they begin to work together, growing into one of the best partners in entertainment history.
The two risk their lives for each other, banter, have heated discussions, share meals together, laugh together, and truly grow into their romance. Their mutual respect and admiration for each other is evident in the way they interact. Sparks fly when they need to pose as an engaged couple and kiss at an art gallery while chasing down evidence. A popular instance of the two’s chemistry is when Cha Young decides to head to a party and unabashedly makes Vincenzo jealous by stating there’d be men around. No surprise then that fans rooted (and continue to root) for the two to end up together.
Do Bong Soon and Min Hyuk in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Do Bong Soon (played by Park Bo-Young) is an intelligent woman with superhuman strength who aspires to star in a video game. Life brings her face-to-face with Min Hyuk (played by Park Hyung-Sik), a gaming company CEO who hires her to be his personal bodyguard. The former is innocent and dependable while the latter is charming and quirky – making for an exciting couple. The two discover romance while working together to unravel a set of crimes and navigate the threats made to Min Hyuk. They banter, pose as each other’s partners, and look after each other. And when Min Hyuk risks his life for Bong Soon, sparks fly. There is plenty of jealousy and heartwarming dates to go around as well. If puppy love chemistry is what you seek, this couple won’t disappoint.
Kim Bok Joo and Jung Joon Hyung in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
This sports drama follows Kim Bok Joo (played by Lee Sung Kyung) an aspiring weightlifter who aims to go to a college that will help her pursue her dreams as well as Jung Joon Hyung (played by Nam Joo Hyuk), a popular swimmer who’s just as ambitious. As they juggle their respective careers, they fall in love. Despite being different in terms of personalities, they make their relationship work. This includes thoughtful presents, open displays of affection, some good old-fashioned jealousy, and consistency. The two constantly prioritise each other and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. This healthy chemistry makes them one of the most adored couples in Kdrama circles.
Seo Ye Ji and Kim Soo Hyun in It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
Two young people from different worlds meet and fall in love in this popular Korean drama. The story follows Kang Tae (played by Kim Soo-Hyun) who works at a psychiatric hospital to help provide for his autistic older brother. There he meets celebrated children’s book author Moon-Young (played by Seo Ye-Ji). The former’s patience and strong will complements the latter’s anti-social eccentric disposition. However, it’s Moon Young who takes the lead in the show, flirting with Kang Tae consistently, helping him eventually open up to her. Their shared childhood trauma brings the together, allowing them to be vulnerable with each other. Along the way, they learn to love each other wholly, healing parts of each other unknowingly.
Which of these Kdrama couples do you ship?
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This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin who starred in Crash Landing On You and Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo who featured in Descendants Of The Sun got married in real life.
Answer: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, Healer, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, and Suspicious Partner are a few Kdramas with plenty of kissing scenes.
Answer: What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, and Crash Landing on You are a few good romance K-dramas.