Sunmi poured her heart about her heartbreaking past for the first time on Talkmon.
She began by revealing that she chose to become a celebrity because her dad was too ill to work, so she needed to start making money fast.
“Honestly, I decided to become a celebrity because of my dad. When I was in 5th grade, I lived with just my dad and my two younger brothers. But my dad was sick, and it continued to get worse. He would wear breathing masks at home, but it got so bad that he had to go to the hospital. Our financial situation was poor, but my dad couldn’t move and I was the oldest child. I wondered what I could do. My teachers told me to become a teacher but you have to study over 10 years for that. I needed money now.” — Sunmi
She went to auditions alone and was finally accepted by JYP when she was 14 years old.
“That’s why I decided to become a celebrity. At a young age, I thought that was the best and fastest way to make money. BoA was very active at that time, so I wanted to become just like her. I continually went to auditions alone by bus. I was accepted into JYP as a trainee when I was 14. My little brothers took care of my dad while I trained in Seoul (They were 12 and 10 years old).” — Sunmi
As she continued training, miles away from home, she became overwhelmed with stress and started to ignore her dad’s messages.
“I was the only girl in the family, so the love my dad had for me was very special. He relied on me and adored me a lot. He always texted me in a jokingly-complaining tone, like ‘Aigo your dad is suffering…’, ‘I think it’s time for me to leave…’, and ’Please take care of the kids, Sunmi…’ He always sent me something like that and I always responded.
But I was so tired from being a trainee and my stress continued to pile up. And with my dad’s situation… It was too much for me to handle at a young age.” — Sunmi
One day, she decided to ignore a message from her dad but she never knew it would be his last…
“But one day he texted me, saying ‘I’m leaving.’ I thought my dad was just complaining because he was having a hard time so I didn’t respond. He passed away the next day.” — Sunmi
But her dad never once held it against her… Even to his last dying breath, he only had love for Sunmi.
“He passed away 3 months before I debuted. If only he had held on a little bit longer… He also dreamed of becoming an artist. When I went to prepare his funeral, my brothers gave me a letter from him. At the end, he wrote, ‘I hope you’re my daughter in the next life too.’” — Sunmi
It became the biggest regret of her life.
I continuously regret not picking up his phone calls or responding to his messages.” — Sunmi
Surprisingly, she revealed that JYP and those around her helped her father with medical bills.
“[JYP] helped out a lot, along with my uncles… my teachers helped us a lot too.” — Sunmi
Sunmi’s story brought the whole studio to tears as they consoled her.
“I think your father left peacefully, hoping that you’ll focus on your future.” — Sunmi
Thanks to the love and nurture from her dad, Sunmi was able to become one of the hottest artists in K-Pop!
He’s probably smiling down at her with so much love and pride.