11 Photos Of Kim Jong Un & His Wife That Offer A Glimpse Into Their Secretive Lives
To outsiders, North Korea can truly be an enigma. And though he's increasingly been stepping into the international spotlight, the country's reclusive leader still remains quite a mystery as well. He's not the only one, however. As a handful of publicly available photos show, Kim Jong Un's wife, Ri Sol Ju, should be another member of the family you know know about.
Little is known about Kim's wife. She is thought to be between the ages of 28 and 33, and her marriage to Kim was announced to the international community in 2012, after several months of speculation. South Korean intelligence suggests that the pair may actually have wed as far back as 2009, however, according to CNN.
Historically, shielding the wives of North Korean leaders from the press has been par for the course. CNN reported that women married to Kim's father and grandfather were so rarely mentioned in the country's state media that their existences were sometimes not known until after they had died.
This is, of course, not the case for Ri Sol Ju, who has intermittently popped up in internationally published photographs for six years. But while she is somewhat of a constant fixture, smiling demurely in lightly-hued suits, the details of her life remain largely unknown to those on the outside. Photos of the couple offer few hints.
Sitting By As Kim Chats Up Dennis Rodman
In a 2014 photo, Ri looks forward at an undepicted scene as her husband laughs in conversation with former NBA player Dennis Rodman, who has long made headlines for his unusual friendship with the North Korean leader.
Attending A Press Event
Not unlike other first ladies, Ri sometimes accompanies Kim Jong Un on what appears to be a press event at a North Korean cosmetics factory.
They Go To Shows Together
The two were once snapped sitting side-by-side at a performance of the Moranbong Band in North Korea. The group is a girl-band reportedly founded by Kim himself.
They Meet World Leaders
Ri has occasionally participated in state visits, such as in March of 2018, when a photo was released depicting she and her husband standing with Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan.
As diplomacy between both Koreas continues to ramp up, the pair recently sat for a show performed by a group of South Korean artists at the East Pyongyang Grand Theater in Pyongyang, North Korea.
And More Shows
Most photos of the pair are at either a show or a diplomatic meeting — or else a show that is a diplomatic meeting. In April, Kim and Ri attended a Chinese art performance with Chinese politician Song Tao.
They Made A Historic Visit To South Korea
Las month in Paju, South Korea, the North and South Korean presidents, accompanied by their wives, viewed a show together. Kim was the first North Korean leader to pass into South Korea since the demilitarized zone was established in 1953.
... And A Historic Exit
After the historic summit between the North and South, Ri and Kim wished their southern counterparts farewell.
They Seem To Want Big Changes
Again photographed at the summit with North and South Korea, the couple smile at what was described by both leaders as part of a "momentous period of historical transformation."
But The Situation Remains Serious
Although at least one of the two are often smiling in photos, North Korea still remains a reclusive state. A posed photo featuring Kim and Ri alongside President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook demonstrates that while the situation appears to be getting better, there are still tensions and unresolved problems.
Even though images of Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju don't hint at public displays of affection, Ri Sol Ju appears to have serious poise. Business Insider reported that she is believed to have three children, but as with most information regarding North Korea and its officials, that information has not been confirmed.