Kang Daniel is a South Korean singer and songwriter who burst onto the scene after winning Produce 101 season 2 as part of the boy-band Wanna One. The group released four super-successful albums before disbanding. After a half-year hiatus from music, Daniel formed his own agency and released his chart-topping debut EP, Color on Me.

Park Jihyo is the leader of the K-Pop girl group, Twice. Jihyo became a founding member of the group after successfully participating in the reality show, Sixteen. The band made history when their debut song became the fastest K-pop debut single to reach 100 million views on YouTube.

It came as a surprise to fans when it was announced that Daniel and Jihyo were dating

You might be used to an entertainment scene where music stars date freely among each other, but in South Korea, it’s rare for a K-Pop duo to date. Labels include no-dating clauses in the contracts they offer to music stars, making it difficult for artists to get into relationships.

After news outlets in South Korea announced that Daniel and Park were dating, most fans expected that their labels would refute the rumors. However, the stars’ labels confirmed the relationship.

It turned out that the dating ‘ban’ on Park’s contract had expired. The ban had run its three-year course from 2015 to 2018, and after it elapsed, Jihyo was freed to date. Kang operated under his own label, KONNECT Entertainment, and so he didn’t have contract-imposed restrictions on his dating life.

After the news broke, Kang posted a message on his website apologizing to fans for failing to announce the relationship sooner. “First of all, I’m really sorry to everyone who may have been very surprised when they saw the sudden news this morning,” Daniel wrote. “I’ve received so much from fans and I feel grateful. I’ll try to return more than that in the future.”

Jihyo claimed that she feared for her life after details about her dating life leaked

Park Jihyo
The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins

Jihyo came under criticism in early January 2020 after using a term that is viewed as degrading to men. She apologized for her online outburst and blamed it on her struggles with fame. She pointed to the false rumors that claimed that she was in one of the sex tapes found in convicted rapist Jung Joon-young’s phone.

She also stated that her public romance with Kang Daniel put more stress on her. “In August, my private life became known, and there were a lot of rumors as well,” Park wrote. “Because of that, my anxiety and fear became so overwhelming that saying just one thing, or performing, in front of people was scary and hard.”

Since then, Park and Daniel have endeavored to keep their relationship private. As far as we can tell, they are still together, but their romance is a lot more secret than before.