And then there were 8: Girls' Generation ousts star
SEOUL, South Korea – One of K-pop's marquee acts, the girl band Girls' Generation, has kicked out one of its star members, sending shockwaves through the group's devoted fan base in South Korea, Asia and beyond.
Jessica Jung, a prominent member of the 9-girl act that has toured to packed stadiums around the world, said she had been "shockingly" informed by her 8 colleagues and agency that she was no longer part of the band.
"I am devastated – my priority and love is to serve as a member of GG but for no justifiable reason, I am being forced out," the 25-year-old wrote on her microblogging Weibo account.
Her agency SM Entertainment insisted Jessica had expressed an intention to quit earlier this year to focus on her newly launched fashion business.
"As the band had conflicting priorities and interests and Jessica started her own fashion business ... we came to a conclusion that we can no longer continue the band like this," SM said in a statement.
"We made a decision on her departure earlier than originally planned," it said, without going into detail.
The agency stressed that Girls Generation would keep going with the remaining eight members.
The news made headlines in South Korea and immediately began trending on social networks as messages poured in from devastated fans.
"They kept saying that they were like families and they would sing and stick together until they became grannies," said one disillusioned fan. "But they were just business partners after all."
Formed in 2007, Girls' Generation had a breakout hit with "Gee" two years later and morphed into one of the biggest acts the K-pop juggernaut has ever produced, with a huge following in China and Japan.
A Korean-American, who was born and raised in San Francisco, Jessica launched her own fashion line "BLANC" in August of this year. – Rappler.com