BIN-JIN: A Love Story in Three Chapters (Part 2)

Updated: May 22, 2021

In Part 1 of this two-part special timeline on BinJin, Hallyu's newest power couple, we saw how fate teased both Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin, intertwining their paths yet also keeping them apart. Yet, it would also seem that someone grew tired of waiting for fate to play her tricks again, and so now, we begin to see tiny signs of reel ever so slowly becoming real.


Here, we walk you through everything we know of what happened between the time those grainy grocery photos from Los Angeles (LA) emerged and the long-awaited confirmation on January 1 of this year, plus the most recent developments. In the third chapter of Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin's love story, destiny finally allows our couple to crash land on each other.


2019


January

Son Ye-jin goes on vacation to the United States. On January 9, two days before her 37th birthday, an anonymous poster in an online forum claims to have spotted her and Hyun Bin having dinner with her parents in the US.

On January 21, pictures of the two actors grocery shopping together are posted online. Originally thought to have been taken at a Ralph's supermarket near LA's Koreatown, fans later speculate that the images could have actually been taken at a Pavilions grocery in Newport Beach, a highly affluent coastal city in Orange County, California. The Pavilions is a short drive away from The Resort at Pelican Hill, a posh golf resort Son Ye-jin is known to have visited in the past.

As the photos spread online and ignite dating rumors across the globe, VAST Entertainment and Son Ye-jin's agency MSteam both issue the expected denials. They claim the two are just friends who happened to be in the US at the same time and decided to meet up (and shop for groceries together, because that's such a friendly thing to do, right?). The agencies also categorically deny the dinner-with-parents rumor, saying her parents were in Korea.


This incident inspires the Bin-Jin fandom to eventually adopt the hashtag #InGroceryWeTrust as its battlecry.


It's important to point out that this is the first dating "scandal" that Son Ye-jin has ever been involved in throughout her entire career. (Note: Dating among celebrities, regardless of their age and status, is generally frowned upon by the Korean public and media, hence the pejorative term "scandal.") Now finding herself in this situation for the very first time, will the extremely private, guarded, and elusive Son Ye-jin lean into it, or will she run as fast as she can in the opposite direction?


April

Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin make their first public appearance together since the LA rumors. As endorsers for sister companies Mediheal and ma:nyo Factory, they attend the 10th anniversary celebration of L&P Cosmetics. Fans record them leaving the event together.


CHAPTER 3: CRASH LANDING ON EACH OTHER


In the Korean entertainment industry, “love teams” are not a thing, and it's uncommon for actors to do more than one project together. But you know how they say that if you want something bad enough, the universe conspires to make it happen? After repeatedly expressing their wish to work together again, the chance comes earlier than expected.


And so in 2019, following a decade of missed connections and a period of negotiating ways to get closer to each other, our power couple finally crash lands on each other.

May

The casting Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin for the newest drama by hit-making writer Park Ji-eun (My Love from the Star, Legend of the Blue Sea) is announced, reviving the dating rumors. With the initial English title Crash Landing on Love, the drama is inspired by the 2008 boating incident of a South Korean actress lost in North Korean waters.



July

The cast of Crash Landing on You gather for the drama's first script reading.


August to September

Filming begins in Switzerland and South Korea, with the cast and crew heading to Mongolia in September (as a stand in for North Korea).




November

Netflix releases the first official teaser.



December 9

CLOY is formally launched at a press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jongno, Seoul. Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin are all praises for each other's acting, echoing that they have wanted to work together again since The Negotiation days.


"Son Ye-jin is a good partner to me. I've seen and learned a lot more as an actor by working with her. She has a lot of ideas and inspires me." - Hyun Bin


“It’s rare for actors to meet again in another project, so I think this is fate. Hyun Bin is flawlessly suited to his character in the drama. Our chemistry, too.” - Son Ye-jin


When asked if they found their dating rumors burdensome, Hyun Bin responds, “As you can see, we just laughed it off. The rumors did not hinder my decision to choose this project. I had worked with and gotten close to [Son Ye-jin] through The Negotiation, and she was an actress I really wanted to work with again. The opportunity came, and I happily took it.”


Son Ye-jin adds, “I felt the same. Hyun Bin said everything I wanted to say. After working with him, I wanted to work with him again in a nice romantic comedy. I also didn’t hesitate to choose this project. I also believed he would be the perfect fit for the male protagonist of Crash Landing on You, Ri Jeong-hyuk, when I reviewed the [script]. Now, it seems we are also becoming more compatible in terms of acting.”


In their coverage of this press conference, Taiwanese entertainment reporters describe what it was like to witness their chemistry firsthand, and insist something must be going on between the leads. Korean entertainment reporters also can’t help but comment on and speculate about their chemistry.

Here they are bickering like an old couple in one of their 2-on-1interviews on the same day:


December 14

Fueled by excitement over Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin's first small screen pairing, CLOY debuts to high ratings on tvN.


Photo: tvN


December 24

Son Ye-jin uploads a photo of herself with Hyun Bin in Switzerland, wishing fans a Merry Christmas. (Fun fact: In Korea, Christmas is regarded as a couple’s holiday.)



December 28

Netflix releases the Couch Talk segment on its YouTube channel, The Swoon. In this widely-viewed promotional segment for CLOY (with over 8.6 million views as of this writing), the actors radiate serious old-couple vibes with their comfortable banter. See for yourself and enjoy the kilig (heart-fluttering moments)!

2020


January 11

Son Ye-jin celebrates her 38th birthday on the set of CLOY, as they film the drama’s ninth episode. Yoon Se-ri and Captain Ri’s emotionally-charged goodbye kiss at the border as they part ways is filmed. Hyun Bin later reveals this to be his favorite scene in the whole drama.


Photo: tvN


January

As CLOY's ratings rise steeply with every episode and Netflix releases more Swoon videos, fans can't help but think they're dating.




February 8

A restaurant owner uploads a photo of herself with the two stars dining at her restaurant. VAST requests her to take the photo down, but at this point, the internet already has receipts.


As filming wraps up on CLOY, a staff member captures this precious behind-the-scenes moment between the lead actors.


February 16

The cast and crew gather for the CLOY wrap-up party on the night of the series finale at a restaurant in Seoul. Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin arrive separately, but in color-matched outfits. Amidst loud applause and cheering from everyone gathered, the lead actors give each other a congratulatory hug.


The finale breaks tvN records with its 21.7% rating, surpassing Goblin (2016) to become the highest-rated single episode in the cable giant’s history. With an average rating of 12.4%, CLOY is now the #7-rated cable show of all time based on average ratings.