Goo HaraGoo Hara (January 3, 1991 – November 24, 2019), also known mononymously as Hara , was a South Korean singer and actress. She was a member of the South Korean girl group Kara, and had also appeared in television dramas including City Hunter (2011). She made her debut as a soloist in July 2015 with the release of her EP Alohara (Can You Feel It?).
Life and career
Early life and educationGoo was born on January 3, 1991, in Gwangju, South Korea. Goo’s parents separated when she was eight years old after her mother abandoned the family. Goo and her brother were raised by their grandmother while their father was working as a construction worker around the country to support the family. She attended and , and trained as track and field athlete for two years. Goo came to Seoul while attending to participated in SM Entertainment's youth appearance tournament in 2005. She later transferred to and then attended Sungshin Women's University. During her school days, she worked as a model for internet clothing stores. In 2007, she unsuccessfully auditioned to join JYP Entertainment.
2008–2015: Kara and solo activities
Goo joined the girl group Kara in 2008, following the departure of former member Kim Sung-hee. In October 2009, she became a cast member of the KBS' reality show Invincible Youth.
In 2011, Goo made her acting debut in SBS City Hunter, where she starred as Choi Da-hye, the daughter of South Korea's president. On January 19, 2011, it was announced that Goo would be terminating her contract with her label DSP Media along with three other members of Kara, and a lawsuit was filed on their behalf. Later that day, it was announced that she would discontinue her involvement with the suit and had rejoined the company, as she apparently was not fully aware of the lawsuit's details.
In November 2011, she and Nicole Jung became the new MCs for Inkigayo, and they left the show on August 19, 2012 to focus on Kara's comeback.
In 2013, she collaborated with Japanese musician and songwriter Masaharu Fukuyama to record a song called "Magic of Love" in Korean under the project group, Hara+. The song was used as a soundtrack for FujiTV's drama Galileo, which Fukuyama starred in. In October 2013, she was appointed as the blood donation ambassador for the Hanmaum Blood Bank.
On December 29, 2014, she appeared in her own reality show titled On & Off, which aired on MBC Music.
In January 2015, she started hosting KBS' idol beauty show A Style For You along with Super Junior's Kim Heechul, EXID's Hani and Sistar's Bora. In June 2015, she released a beauty book titled Nail Hara.
In July 2015, Goo debuted as a solo artist with the release of the EP Alohara (Can You Feel It?), which peaked at #4 domestically. The lead single "Choco Chip Cookies" features South Korean rapper Giriboy.
In October 2015, Goo joined the variety show Shaolin Clenched Fists.
2016–2019: Solo career, personal struggles, and final projectsOn January 15, 2016, Kara disbanded due to Goo and fellow members Park Gyu-ri and Han Seung-yeon leaving DSP Media upon the expiration of their contracts with the company. Goo then signed with KeyEast a few days later to pursue a solo career. In December 2016, she featured in Thunder's single, "Sign".
In August 2017, Goo starred in a web movie titled Sound of a Footstep. In November 2017, Goo joined the variety show Seoul Mate.
In January 2018, she released a soundtrack for the drama Jugglers, titled "On A Good Day". In April 2018, she hosted the JTBC's beauty show My Mad Beauty Diary. In July, she was named honorary ambassador for the 6th Animal Film Festival. In August 2018, Goo debuted as a soloist in Japan, releasing the song "Wild".
Beginning in October 2018, Goo and her ex-boyfriend, Choi Jong-bum, got into a legal dispute that extended into 2019. The nature of the dispute caused issues in both her professional and personal life, including Content Y (a subsidiary of KeyEast that Goo had been actively promoting under since 2017), declining to renew her contract following its expiration in January 2019. After being on hiatus for the first half of 2019, Goo announced in June 2019 that she had signed with Production Ogi to continue her activities in Japan.
Goo's final release prior to her death was the maxi single "Midnight Queen", which was released in September 2019. She also embarked on a mini tour, titled Hara Zepp Tour 2019: Hello, to support the album. The tour consisted of four concert dates held across Japan in November 2019, ending on the 19th.
On January 12, 2020, the music video for "Hello", a B-side track from "Midnight Queen", was released posthumously. Its lyrics was penned by Goo to thank her supporters, and the video featured her against the nighttime cityscape of Tokyo, which she had loved.
Personal lifeOn January 5, 2010, during an appearance on the SBS reality show Strong Heart, Goo admitted to getting dental and minor facial cosmetic surgery. She stated that she had always had double eyelids, but had surgery to make them more defined.
Goo dated hairdresser Choi Jong-bum after the two first met on the set of the beauty TV program My Mad Beauty Diary. At around 1 a.m of September 13, 2018, Choi broke into Goo's house drunk while she was sleeping and started an argument that escalated into violent assault, when he allegedly tried to break up with her. The police arrived at Goo's house after Choi reported her for assault. Goo claimed that the incident was two-sided and then both parties posted images of their injuries to the internet to explain their side of the story. During the incident, Goo suffered from uterus and vagina hemorrhage, and was also diagnosed with “cervical sprain”, “facial contusions and sprain”, “lower leg contusions and sprain”, and “right forearm and additional sprains.” Following this, Goo filed a lawsuit against Choi for threatening to release a sex video filmed without her consent in an attempt by him to end her career, and the sex video was submitted to the court per the judge's request, where it was confirmed privately by him. During the first trial held on April 18, 2019, Choi denied most charges but admitted that he was responsible only for the destruction of property. In August, he was acquitted of the charge of filming the sex video without permission as the court agreed that the filming was done without her consent, but because she remained in the relationship they found him not guilty of illicit filming. However, he was sentenced to one year and six months in prison, suspended for three years of probation after being convicted of threatening to upload the sex video, coercing, physically assaulting, and destroying Goo's property. After news of her sex video went public, Goo was harassed online on social media, despite being a victim of a crime.
On May 26, 2019, Goo attempted suicide in her apartment and was immediately taken to hospital, after which she apologized for worrying her fans.
Death and impactOn November 24, 2019, Goo was found dead at her home in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam, with the cause of death ruled as a possible suicide. Police found a suicide note written by Goo, and concluded that there was no foul play as she was seen on CCTV footage returning home at 12:40 am, with no further visitors except for the housekeeper who found her body at 6pm the same day. An autopsy was not performed after the police consulted the prosecutor in-charge and took into consideration her family's request, and the body was handed over to her family on November 26. Goo's death occurred over a month after her close friend and fellow idol Sulli had committed suicide.
Goo's funeral was privately held at Gangnam Severance Hospital by family members and friends, while a separate memorial service for fans took place on November 25–26 in in Gangnam. On November 27, Goo's body was cremated and her remains were enshrined at the in Bundang, Gyeonggi-do.
Following her death, a petition was submitted to the Blue House with over 200,000 signatures demanding a more severe punishment for filming sexual acts without consent and distributing it. Moreover, it was revealed that Goo had helped reporter Kang Kyung-yoon investigate Jung Joon-young’s chatroom case prior to her death.