They say age is just a number, and the famous saying rings especially true in the acting world. Whether the story calls for it or not, actors with a wide age gap are often paired together on account of their individual acting chops and impeccable chemistry. Of course, it’s no different in the K-drama industry either with a number of them even giving way to some of the most successful and beloved pairings to date.
To further prove our point, below, we round up 10 K-drama couples who work well together despite their wide age gap.
1. Encounter (Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo)
Age gap: 12 years
First up is the unforgettable chemistry between Park Bo Gum and Song Hye Kyo in Encounter. The storyline follows Kim Jin-hyeok, a young part-time worker out to find a permanent job. As he nears turning 20, he takes an impromptu trip to Cuba where he has a brief encounter with hotel CEO Cha Soo-hyun. Fate brings them together once again when Jin-hyeok is hired as an employee for the latter’s hotel upon his return to Korea.
2. Goblin (Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun)
Age gap: 12 years
There’s a reason why Goblin became a smash hit all over the world, and we can confidently say that part of it is thanks to Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun’s inviting chemistry. In case you’ve yet to watch it, the intelligent fantasy drama follows the story of a 939-year-old Goblin, also known as the Protector of Souls, as he ends up falling for the girl destined to end his cursed immortal life.
3. Backstreet Rookie (Ji Chang Wook and Kim Yoo Jung)
Age gap: 13 years
Yep, there’s also a huge age gape between the lead stars of the recently concluded Backstreet Rookie. Though she has a slew of boys falling for her charms, 22-year-old Jung Saet-byul has her eyes set on convenience store owner Choi Dae-hyun. When an opportunity presents itself, she immediately applies for a part-time job at Dae-hyun’s shop in hopes of getting closer to him.
4. Mr. Sunshine (Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri)
Age gap: 20 years
The couple with the biggest age gap on the list, Lee Byung Hun and Kim Tae Ri still manage to make their partnership work in Mr. Sunshine. The period drama is way more than just a love story though. It centers on a poor boy born into a house servant's family who travels to the United States during the 1871 Shinmiyangyo incident. He soon grows up to become an American military officer and returns to his homeland where falls in love with an aristocrat's daughter. All this while he’s tasked to unveil a sinister plot by foreign nationals to colonize Korea.
5. Reunited Worlds (Yeo Jin Goo and Lee Yeon Hee)
Age gap: 9 years
More than just their age gaps, Reunited World’s delves into the conflicting differences in mentality between a 19-year-old-boy and a 31-year-old woman. The series starts with a young Sung Hae-sung’s untimely death before he’s mysteriously resurrected 12 years later in the same body. In an attempt to uncover the reason behind his sudden second life, he sets out to find his former girlfriend, Jung Jung-won who’s now grown in age.
6. Touch (Joo Sang Wook and Kim Bo Ra)
Age gap: 18 years
After failing to pass yet another audition, 10-year idol trainee Han Soo-yeon tries her hand at being a makeup artist. She eventually crosses paths with the once sought after MUA Cha Jeong-hyeok who’s now coincidentally broke and unemployed. Desperate for a job, Jeong-hyeok agrees to take Soo-yeon under his wing and together the two learn to let go of their broken dreams in pursuit of a better future.
7. Witch’s Romance (Park Seo Joon and Uhm Jung Hwa)
Age gap: 19 years
In case you didn't know, Park Seo Joon partnered up with Uhm Jung Hwa, a.k.a. one of Korea’s most influential entertainers, back in 2014. The pair played an unlikely couple in the TVN rom-com Witch’s Romance. The storyline centers on Ban Ji-yeon, an enthusiastic reporter who’s often called a “witch” at work. In spite of her ruined view towards love, sparks fly between her and 25-year-old Yoon Dong-ha, a happy-go-luck guy haunted by his own unfortunate past.
8. Clean with Passion for Now (Yoon Kyun Sang and Kim Yoo Jung)
Age gap: 13 years
Despite the 13 year age difference, Yoon Kyun Sang and Kim Yoo Jung’s adorable chemistry still manages to move hearts in Clean with Passion for Now. Diagnosed with mysophobia, CEO Jang Sun-gyeol is an extreme germaphobe obsessed with cleaning. So what happens when he meets his new employee, the criminally untidy Gil Oh Sol? Well, you’ll just have to watch the whole thing to find out.
9. My Mister (Lee Sun Kyun and IU)
Age gap: 18 years
IU and Lee Sun Kyun’s stark generational gap plays a big role in My Mister. The series centers on three middle-aged brothers, particularly Park Dong-hoon, an engineer whose personal life falls apart after he learns of his wife’s infidelity. Stoic and distraught, he crosses paths with Lee Ji Eun, a struggling young woman in her 20s who ends up drawn to his charms. Together, the two develop a close bond and help each other to be happier.
10. Marriage Contract (Lee Seo Jin and Uee)
Age gap: 17 years
After learning of her terminal illness, a poor and widowed mom, buried in her late husband's debt, stops at nothing to save up money for her daughter once she passes. When her boss offers her a proposal she can't refuse, she agrees to be his wife for three months, in hopes of leaving her seven-year-old with a legal guardian.