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Meet Kim Jong Un's Elusive Wife Ri Sol-Ju

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Who Is Kim Jong Un's Wife? New Details On Ri Sol-Ju, The Elusive Wife Of North Korean Leader

As questions about whether Kim Jong Un is alive, dead, or just in a coma, new details about his elusive family continue to emerge in the Western press. We have learned about his sister, Kim Yo Jong — and potential successor — as well as his previously-reclusive brother, Kim Jong-Chul who is better known for his love of Eric Clapton than he is for his political prowess. 

Now, new information has emerged about his elusive wife, the alleged and reclusive first lady of North Korea.

Who is Kim Jong Un's wife, Ri Sol-Ju?

Who is Ri Sol-Ju?

Like the rest of Kim Jong Un's family, Ri Sol-Ju is reclusive" Little information is known about her background in Western media — her birth year isn't known, though it's speculated to be between 1985 and 1989. An archived article in the North Korean press suggested that Ri Sol-Ju had a bit of a past and may have even starred in an adult film while she was a part of a touring festival troupe. 

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Ri Sol-Ju is reportedly a member of the North Korean political elite.

While Ri Sol-Ju may have performed in an adult film — though no one has officially confirmed or denied, this report — her family is very heavily politically-connected. Her mother is a doctor and the head of a gynecology ward. Her father is a professor — and she's even reportedly related to Ri Pyong-chol, who is one of Kim Jong Un's close advisers. 

Is Ri Sol-Ju her real name? 

Just like the rest of Kim Jong Un's family, Ri Sol-Ju is considered reclusive. Ri Sol-Ju, in fact, is so reclusive that there's some speculation that "Ri Sol-Ju" isn't her real name. One report suggests that Ri Sol-Ju is really the pop singer Hyon Song-Wol

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Did Kim Jong Il arrange the marriage between Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol-Ju? 

While information about North Korea is difficult to come by, South Korea tends to report on their hostile neighbors to the north on a regular basis. And the same is true about their reports on Ri Sol-Ju: back in 2012, it was confirmed that Kim Jong Un got married to Ri Sol-Ju back in 2009 after photos of the couple were leaked to the press. "The late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il arranged his youngest son's marriage in a hurry after suffering a stroke in 2008," said Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst for North Korea.

Who are Kim Jong Un's kids?

Details about Kim Jong Un's family are hard to confirm. But according to reports, Ri Sol-Ju gave birth to the couple's son, a boy, in 2010, shortly after they got married. Then, in 2013, Dennis Rodman — of all people — paid a visit to North Korea, where he stopped by Kim Jong Un's house and confirmed that the couple also had a daughter. "She kept talking about their beautiful baby daughter," he said. For what it's worth, the National Intelligence Service of North Korea's official statement is that Kim Jong Un and his wife "have children," but they cannot confirm how many, how old they are, and what gender they are. 

What is Ri Sol-Ju's official title?

When Kim Jong-Un first got together with Ri Sol-Ju in 2009, her title was merely "comrade." But in April 2018, Kim Jong Un officially elevated her title to "Respected First Lady." That elevation marked the first time that a woman has held that title in North Korea since 1974, and it's considered "a significant honor.

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However, what's not clear is what will happen to Ri Sol-Ju if Kim Jong Un does, indeed, pass away. Reports suggest that she wouldn't assume power because the couple's children are so young — and that's why Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo-Jong, is his de facto second-in-command. 

Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, photographer, and publicist whose work has been featured in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more.