|Korean actor Lee Jun-ki waves to fans ahead of entering the Korean military on May 3, 2010. [Park Sung-ki/Asia Economic Daily]|
Korean actor Lee Jun-ki entered the Korean army today, putting his acting career on hold for the next two years to fulfill his mandatory military duties.
The 28-year-old actor bid farewell to thousands of fans -- including many who flew in from overseas -- and reporters, who showed up at the Nonsan military training camp to see the star off.
With his trademark hair cut short to comply to standard military regulations, the actor appeared teary as he saluted his fans and apologized for his sudden departure and having to drop out from his prior work commitments.
"This is very sudden but I am not too overwhelmed.. I feel relieved and excited.." the actor said. "I am sorry that I made the announcement rather suddenly in regards to work and the fans."
Lee, who was notified by Korea's military services to join the army during the year, had been trying to defer his military entrance date in order to wrap up shootings for the film "Grand Prix" and blockbuster drama "Faith".
However, the actor, although "very disappointed," maintained a sense of humor about one thing. "I am going to eat everything I want when I go to the military. I was on a diet even until yesterday but now I can eat everything from Chinese noodles, Kimchi stew to hamburgers."
The actor will receive basic training at Nonsan camp for five weeks and later be assigned to a military base.
Lee, 28, debuted in 2001 as a model for fashion brand "SO BASIC" alongside actors Gang Dong-won and Kim Hee-seon.
He rose to mega-stardom after playing a woman-like clown in the 2005 hit film "The King and the Clown" and starred in many notable television dramas including "My Girl" (SBS, 2005), "Time Between Dog And Wolf" (MBC, 2007), "Iljimae" (SBS, 2008)" and most recently "Hero" (MBC, 2009).