Son Naeun of Apink announced on Friday that she is departing the K-pop girl group after 11 years.
Son shared the news in the form of a handwritten letter posted to her Instagram.
“I worried a lot about how I should say this, and even now, as I write these words, I’m very nervous,” the letter started. “I will be leaving Apink, with whom I have been together for the past 11 years.”
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“Because Apink is a place like family, with whom I have spent a long time together, I made this difficult decision after a lot of debate, and though it wasn’t an easy decision, I plan to become a Panda (Apink fan) and cheer on Apink starting from now on.”
Son also thanks her company, fellow members and fans, saying: “I want to sincerely thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who made my teens and twenties the most radiant, who gifted me this happy time.”
She concludes: “I will engrave the name ‘Apink’s Son Naeun’ in my heart, and I think showing you better things in the future so that I don’t bring shame to that name, is one way I can repay you. Please give lots of love to Apink, and I, too, will be sincerely rooting for them. Up until now, this has been Apink’s Son Naeun.”
Apink leader Park Chorong took to the group’s official Instagram to share a handwritten letter about Naeun.
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Park’s letter includes an apology to fans for Son’s departure from the sextet but indicates the decision was made in the interest of supporting each member’s future endeavors. It also encouraged fans to remember the group’s happy memories together and promised the group would work even harder moving forward.
“Even though I know that our Pandas don’t like when we apologize, it hurts my heart so much that as of right now, the only thing I have to say is that I’m sorry,” Park wrote. “To Pandas who must have been really surprised and very hurt, I want to sincerely say sorry.”
“Each member has made numerous sacrifices and put in a lot of effort. Since we know that so well about each other, this is a decision we’ve made after really thinking about what is best for each other.”
“I promise that we will show you that we are working harder. Please trust this once that our members are always worried about Pandas and have always prioritized Apink. Let’s cherish our past pretty memories and I hope we can make new happy memories together.”
As the group’s “It Girl,” Son has kept busy with other activities. The artist decided last year not to renew her contract with the group’s agency IST Entertainment (then called Play M) in order to better focus on her acting career under YG Entertainment.
IST issued a statement about the group’s future activities, saying, “Starting with their upcoming 11th-anniversary fan song, which is scheduled for release on April 19, Apink will be reorganized and continue promotions as a five-member group with Park Chorong, Yoon Bomi, Jung Eun Ji, Kim Namjoo, and Oh Hayoung. Son Naeun has ended her activities with the group, and they will be cheering each other on from their separate paths.”
In February, Apink released their fourth studio album, “Horn.” The group promoted their comeback as a group of five, with Son not participating in promotional performances due to scheduling conflicts with her appearances in the drama “Ghost Doctor.”