iKON recently spoke about their group struggles, leader B.I’s departure, Bobby’s sudden marriage, and more.
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On June 3, iKON’s Bobby, Donghyuk, and Junhoe appeared as guests on “Oh Eun Young’s Golden Clinic” where they candidly shared thoughts on their success, members, and much more with renowned psychiatrist Dr. Oh Eun Young.
Earlier this year, iKON’s YG Entertainment labelmates WINNER appeared on the same program where they got honest about their group dynamic, Song Mino‘s experience with panic disorder, the passing of Kim Jin Woo‘s grandmother, and more.
Junhoe shared, “At a time when I had a lot of concerns, I met with [Song] Mino and asked him how much I should share on ‘Golden Clinic.’ Mino said, ‘Once you’re there, you end up sharing everything.’ I’ve come to honestly share everything.”
When asked about their current concerns, all three iKON members revealed that they were extremely anxious. Donghyuk explained, “What’s tricky is that we don’t know why we’re anxious. We’re in our eighth year since debuting and including our trainee days, we’ve lived together for over 10 years. We remember the overwhelming moment of our debut and getting a momentary taste of the happiness of success because we received so much love. However, all the members have this unidentifiable anxiety.”
In his studio interview, Junhoe shared, “For starters, we’re in our eighth year since debuting. To be honest, we’ve had two primes: once at our debut, and once with ‘Love Scenario.’ But when looking critically, we don’t have that same influence as we did in the past and after that, we’ve been unable to move closer to the top [in terms of popularity]. We haven’t even stayed in the same place. I think [our popularity] has fallen, when looking fairly.”
Elaborating on their success with “Love Scenario,” Donghyuk explained, “What was a bit of a shock was that people didn’t know iKON, although they knew ‘Love Scenario.'” He continued, “Although that was our best year, people didn’t know who was in iKON.”
This led to the group’s first-ever public conversation about leader B.I’s departure from iKON in June 2019 following a drug scandal. Donghyuk shared, “Honestly, a difficult time for us as a team was when B.I left and we became six. I felt dumbfounded that the leader was not on the team, who did so much for us. During that time, I don’t think the members took a single step out of their rooms.”
Junhoe added, “As if it was someone else’s news, instead of feeling sad, it just didn’t feel real.” Bobby commented, “I couldn’t even think, ‘what do we do now?’ For a few months, I just lived each day thinking, ‘he’s gone.’ The absence of someone I’d lived with felt bitter, because the friend I had spent years with, up until yesterday, was suddenly gone.”
Bobby explained how this made him feel worried about the future of the group, saying, “Since the pillar-like member who did so much for the team was now gone, I thought, ‘Is this the end of iKON?'”
As the members were expressing so much joint responsibility for B.I’s scandal, Dr. Oh Eun Young told them, “You must’ve been in a position where you did nothing wrong, but had to take the blame and responsibility. Feeling like the reputation of iKON was damaged.” She added, “It must’ve been hard to talk about this among the members. However, even if you couldn’t have talked about it in front of the public, I believe the six members should’ve spoke about it deeply. You had to have comforted one another.”
After, the members spoke about their individual personalities and concerns. Junhoe spoke about his anxiety mixed with his confidence, as Donghyuk shared, “I’m worried because he often acts solely based on his mood these days.” Bobby added, “There are a lot of times when the six of us are sitting for an interview and Junhoe says something that completely catches us off-guard.”
Junhoe explained, “They all worry a lot about me. They worry whenever I open my mouth.” He continued, “I have confidence in myself. I believe ‘I’m bound to do well.'” However, he shared that over the past two years, that confidence had begun to waver.
He shared, “There was a largely controversial situation. Recently, I’ve become overly honest for no reason. For example, when our album came out, we did an interview. I was asked ‘which song do you like best on the album?’ I answered, ‘None of them.’ Even though I liked all the songs and our title track was good, there honestly wasn’t a song that I was super impressed by, so I said that.”
He continued, “When we were asked to share a message to fans, I said, ‘I’m sorry.’ It was our first album in a year and a half and I wanted to tell fans that because we made them wait so long.”
Bobby made everyone laugh as he chimed in, “It’s really refreshing at times, but there are also times when I wonder if he’s allowed to do that there.”
Dr. Oh Eun Young explained that this was Junhoe’s defense mechanism, saying, “You have a driving force and the ability to quickly make decisions. The downside is that you’re impatient and have a hot temper.”
Regarding Bobby, the members revealed that they don’t know much about him because he doesn’t talk about his feelings a lot.
Bobby commented, “They used to call me the mood-maker when we first debuted, but these days I think I’ve become extremely quiet. I feel awkward with everybody.” When asked if it’s awkward with his members too, Bobby replied, “To be completely honest, it’s awkward with everyone.”
Dr. Oh Eun Young responded, “Not speaking means you don’t like the opposite person. Since you’ve known them for over 10 years, I don’t think you’re unfamiliar [with them]. If it is awkward, are there times you don’t want to mix with them?” Bobby answered, “I don’t think speaking is good for me. I understand really well that this person is curious about me and I want to give them all the answers, but it’s tiring and bothersome to do that.”
Bobby recalled the time when he first felt like a nuisance to others and Dr. Oh Eun Young shared that his response must be the result of feeling hurt. Bobby responded, “Around that time, I thought that living as a celebrity was really different from what I imagined. At the time, I received a lot of love and recognition for ‘Show Me The Money’ and after that, I thought I’d be able to show myself and my music as I wanted.”
Because he was receiving mixed responses and opinions that overrode his own, Bobby thought, “People don’t want to see ‘me.’ They want to see the person they want me to be. There’s no reason to be 100 percent honest.”
Bobby explained that it’s hardest for him when he’s presented in a dishonest manner, such as when he has to smile when he doesn’t want to. He then revealed that he wasn’t happy at all during the peak of iKON’s success with “Love Scenario,” sharing, “I wanted to rest but I had to fulfill the expectations and attention of others, so I couldn’t sleep. Even though I’m not satisfied with this lifestyle, I felt pressure that I had to continue.”
Lastly, the members spoke about Bobby’s surprise announcement last August that he was getting married and going to be a father. Donghyuk was asked how he found out and he shared, “I think he told us all individually. I just hugged him silently. He was crying a lot. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry that much.”
Donghyuk continued, “Since I know Bobby and his personality so well, the reason I hugged him is because the fact that he told me means that he’s now taking responsibility for a life, and that this situation had happened. I could feel all his emotions of fear so there was nothing I could say to him.”
When asked how Bobby has changed since getting married, Junhoe answered, “His perspective on everything has changed. For me, what I want to do comes first, but I feel that he lives with his family in mind first, over what he wants.”
Regarding when he first heard the news, Bobby shared, “I felt really apologetic towards iKON. While it is a blessing [to have a baby], it was a situation where I could become an inconvenience for the group I’m in, because of the particular job of being an idol.” Despite his worries, Bobby revealed that he individually explained and apologized to each member, who all blessed and congratulated him in return.
Bobby was asked how this entire ordeal made him feel, but he shared that he didn’t get the chance to feel his emotions because there was so much to do right away, including notifying everyone of the news and planning for his marriage and the future.
He continued, “This is a job where you have to become a role model for young children and youth, but pregnancy before marriage is not quite exemplary. In terms of that, I felt sorry [to fans] that I wasn’t exemplary.”
After, Bobby revealed that he’s always separated his life as iKON’s Bobby from his life as human Kim Ji Won [Bobby’s birth name]. Although this appears smart, Dr. Oh Eun Young explained that isn’t always the case. She shared, “If you separate it too much, it becomes hard to integrate later on,” such as when trying to incorporate his happiness as a father into his music and sharing that with fans.
In response to Dr. Oh Eun Young’s advice, Bobby shared, “Instead of as human Kim Ji Won or Bobby, I will share and show you a lot as I am, so please look forward to it.”