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Aespa’s Karina apologizes to fans for dating in handwritten letter

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Aespa member Karina apologized to fans in a handwritten letter one week after her label, SM Entertainment, confirmed that she and South Korean actor Lee Jae-wook are in a relationship.

For context: South Korean news outlet Dispatch first broke the news of the two South Korean stars dating in an exclusive report on February 27. The report revealed that the 23-year-old Karina, whose real name is Yu Ji-min, and Lee, 25, first met at the Prada fashion show in Milan, Italy, on January 14. Sources close to the two claimed it was "love at first sight" and that the couple often meet in Lee’s neighborhood for late-night walks.

Confirming the news: Lee’s agency, C-JeS Studios, and Aespa’s label, SM Entertainment, subsequently confirmed the news in separate statements, noting that the two are "getting to know each other."

Karina's letter: In Karina's letter to Aespa's fanbase, known as MYs, uploaded to her Instagram on Tuesday, the K-pop idol wrote that she is aware how “disappointed” and “upset” her fans must be with the news, acknowledging that, “I feel even more sorry because I, too, understand those feelings all too well.”

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“I wound up writing this letter in the hopes of conveying my feelings even a little bit,” Karina continued. “Even though I’m worried that this [letter] may hurt [MYs] one more time, the reason I’m taking the risk and writing this is because I wanted to convey that I am sincerely sorry to the fans who gifted me with the warmest winter of my life from the moment I debuted.”

Karina vowed that, “Starting now, I want to do a good job filling the places where MYs have been wounded. I have always been sincere towards MYs, and even now, each and every one of you is truly precious to me.”

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Addressing fans about her future, Karina said, “I want to show you a more mature side, without disappointing MYs, as I work even harder in my activities.”

How fans reacted: Many fans rallied behind Karina in their comments under her Instagram post, telling the K-pop star to stop apologizing as she did nothing wrong, with one Instagram user commenting, “No need to apologize, it’s not your fault. You deserve to be happy. Do what makes you happy.”

“You don't have to say sorry,” another fan commented, “it's your choice, I'll support you forever.”

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“Why why do you have to apologize gurl(sic),” one fan wrote in their comment. “We are happy due [to] that news. It’s not bad. Don’t apologize.”

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