Wonho of Monsta X exits the group

The K-pop star was embroiled in rumors about financial debt.

South Korean singer Wonho, of K-pop boyband Monsta X, has announced his departure from the group yesterday.

His management Starship Entertainment confirmed the news in a Twitter statement, explaining that Wonho—real name Lee Ho-seok—had decided to leave the boyband on his own terms. “After a long discussion with Monsta X’s member Wonho, we have agreed that it’s best to part ways amicably at this point,” the statement reads. “We greatly respect Wonho’s decision who wants to make sure the recent chain of events doesn’t distract from all the exciting things that are happening for Monsta X now and what lies ahead in the future.”

Starship Entertainment added that the boyband will continue activities as a six-member group, and they plan to take legal action against any “malicious or distorted claims” about Wonho’s exit. Read the full statement below:

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The pop star is allegedly in debt after an acquaintance had called him out on social media for borrowing 30 million Korean won (approximately $35,700) and not paying her back, Soompi reported. However, Starship Entertainment has denied those claims.

In a handwritten letter to his fans, Wonho apologized for “causing them pain” with his sudden departure. “I apologize for causing so many people concern due to my personal issues,” he wrote, as translated by Soompi. “There was a time when I was immature, and I’ve made big and small mistakes. After becoming a trainee and debuting, I stayed on track and worked hard to avoid being ashamed of myself.”

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Wonho also hoped that fans will continue supporting the remaining members of Monsta X. “They are people who are too good to stop and get hurt like this because of someone like me,” he added. Read his full apology here.

Following news of Wonho’s departure, Monsta X fans have started a petition to keep the singer as part of the group. The description of the petition made on Change.org reads: “MONBEBES DO NOT WANT WONHO TO LEAVE. MONSTA X IS 7 MEMBERS!!” At the time of writing, more than 310,000 fans have signed the petition.

Wonho’s exit from Monsta X comes just days after the release of their new Korean-language EP, Follow: Find You.

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