In Korea, there is a saying, “The most useless worry is worry about celebrities.” And this is because they earn obscene amounts of money that ordinary people can’t even imagine.
Actors get paid per episode in dramas, and the Korean Actors and Broadcasting Workers’ Union and the three networks have divided these actors into grades from grade 6 to grade 18. Grade 18 actors are paid about 2 million KRW (about 1,825.07 USD) per episode.
However, it has been a long time since the payment grading classification for the main actors has collapsed. As K-dramas started to spread vial globally, the salaries for top star actors have also skyrocketed.
5. Lee Jong Suk, ‘While You Were Sleeping’: 120 million KRW~ 130 million KRW (109,515 USD ~ 118,668 USD) per episode
It is said that Lee Jong Suk also received more than 100 million KRW per episode in Romance is a Bonus Book.
4. Lee Seung Gi, ‘Vagabond’: 120 million KRW~ 130 million KRW per episode
Lee Seung Gi has been known to receive more than 100 million KRW per episode since A Korean Odyssey.
3. Lee Byung Hun, ‘Mr. Sunshine’: 150 million KRW (136,886 USD) per episode
In fact, Lee Byung Hun was paid 100 million KRW per episode since the 2009 hit drama IRIS.
2. Song Joong Ki, ‘Arthdal Chronicles’: 180 million KRW (164,232 USD) per episode
Since the moment Song Joong Ki became the biggest Hallyu star with Descendent of the Sun, his salaries also skyrocketed. From his very next project Arthdal Chronicles, he received 180 million KRW per episode. In other words, 3.2 billion KRW out of the total budget of 56 billion KRW was given to one actor.
1. Bae Yong Joon, ‘The Story of the Great King’: 250 million KRW (228,100 USD) per episode
It was reported that Bae Yong Joon received 250 million KRW per episode in 2007 when he starred in The Story of the Great King. This amount is still an unbreakable record even now when the Hallyu wave has gotten much more prominent.