Park Jeong-su (born 1 July 1983), known professionally as Leeteuk, is a South Korean singer, songwriter, presenter and radio personality. At the age of sixteen, he was discovered by SM Entertainment and became a trainee at SM Entertainment’s Starlight Academy. After five years of training, he debuted as a member of boy group Super Junior in November 2005 and since then, he also further participated in the agency’s projects Super Junior-T and Super Junior-H.
Leeteuk is the youngest of two children. His father, Park Yong-in, and his mother divorced in 1998. He has spoken of his parents’ relationship publicly in several variety shows as well.
When Leeteuk and his older sister, Park Inyoung, traveled to Myeongdong for a holiday in early 2000, he was recommended by a talent scout to audition for SM Entertainment’s Starlight Casting System. After several test recordings and performances, he signed with SM Entertainment and became a trainee. That same year, he appeared as an extra in the MBC Korean drama All About Eve, and briefly as a model for Pepsi in 2002. In 2003, he was put into five-member boyband Smile, with future bandmate Donghae and aimed to be a rival group of TVXQ. The project was dropped and they were then put into rotational group Super Junior along with ten other boys. Being older than the other trainees, Leeteuk became the leader of the group.
Leeteuk has explained that he uses a stage name due to his desire to have a name with the same effects as Kangta, and also to prevent confusion between veteran actress Park Jung-soo and himself. His stage name denotes being “special” as his agency wants him to be a special member in the group.
Leeteuk officially debuted as part of the 12-member project group, Super Junior’05 on 6 November 2005 on SBS’s music programme Popular Songs, performing their first single, “Twins (Knock Out)”. Their debut album SuperJunior05 (Twins) was released a month later on 5 December 2005 and debuted at #3 on the monthly MIAK K-pop album charts.
In March 2006, SM Entertainment began to recruit new members for the next Super Junior generation. However, this was met with fans’ objections and strong opposition to the rotational style (much like popular rotational groups in Japan’s pop music industry) that the group intended to be. Thus, plans changed and the company declared a halt in forming future Super Junior generations. Following the addition of thirteenth member Kyuhyun, the group dropped the suffix “05” and became officially credited as Super Junior. The re-polished group’s first CD single “U” was released on 7 June 2006, which was their most successful single until the release of “Sorry, Sorry” in March 2009.
Leeteuk has partnered with Eunhyuk as host DJs for KBS Super Junior’s Kiss The Radio (popularly known as SUKIRA) since 2006. With the exception of four months from March to June 2011, where bandmate Yesung temporarily replaced Eunhyuk, while he was away on promotional activities for Super Junior-M’s third EP Perfection.
In February 2007, Leeteuk was placed in the trot-singing Super Junior-T. A year later, Leeteuk became a member of Super Junior-H.
From 2009 onwards, Leeteuk, along with Eunhyuk and Shindong, were regular guests on SBS’s Strong Heart, where they hosted a special segment, Boom Academy, headed by entertainer Boom. In October 2009, when Boom enlisted for mandatory military service, Leeteuk took over and the segment’s name was temporarily changed to Teukigayo, or Teuk Academy. He was a frequent guest on Star King, also on SBS, with fellow Super Junior members.
In 2010, Leeteuk became the new MC for MBC Enjoy Today, replacing Big Bang’s Seungri who left to focus on Big Bang’s new album. On the show, Leeteuk sang with f(x)’s Krystal for the song “Grumbing”. Leeteuk was also the MC for MBC’s Love Chaser alongside Yesung.
In 2011, following Kang Ho Dong’s retirement from the entertainment industry, Leeteuk and Boom took over as co-MCs of Star King. From September to November, Leeteuk became a dad in Hello Baby season 4 with girl group Sistar. Leeteuk also became part of MBC reality show We Got Married’s new on-screen couples, with actress Kang So-ra becoming his on-screen wife. As of the 10 April 2012 broadcast, following the change in MCs and the departure of Shindong from Strong Heart, the show was re-vamped with Leeteuk and Eunhyuk billed as two of the ‘six-fixed guests’.
In June 2012, Leeteuk reunited with his Super Junior bandmates for their sixth studio album, Sexy, Free & Single released on 4 July. On 23 June Leeteuk’s teaser photo was released showing him with platinum silver hair, gold necklace and heavy black eye makeup. On 25 June he also tweeted another version of his teaser photo with the same outfit but in a different pose leaning on his hand looking as though he was deep in contemplation. In the repackaged edition of the album, re-titled Spy, Leeteuk composed “Only U” and co-wrote the lyrics with Donghae.
During the Indonesia leg of the SMTown Live World Tour III concert in Jakarta on 22 September, Leeteuk was unable to perform with his label mates due to exhaustion and enteritis, for which he made an apology the following day via his Twitter account.
Leeteuk stated in September 2011 that he plans to enlist for his mandatory military service in 2012. On 30 October 2012 he reported to the 306 Reserve Battalion training camp in Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province, to undergo five weeks of basic training, followed by active duty for 21 months. He was initially ineligible for active duty following his car crash in 2007 and an aggravated herniated disk, but after receiving treatment he was able to enlist for active duty.
In January 2013, Leeteuk co-starred in military musical The Promise. It was co-produced by the Ministry of National Defense and Korea Musical Theatre Association, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice. It ran from 9 to 20 January at the National Theater of Korea, co-starring actors Ji Hyun-woo, Kim Mu-yeol, Jung Tae-woo; as well as singers Yoon Hak of Supernova, and Lee Hyun of 8Eight. The musical is centered around a group of soldiers who keeps a promise made to each other during the 6.25 war.
Leeteuk completed his military service on 29 July 2014. He returned to the line-up for the August performance at Music Bank, marking the first time he, Heechul and Kangin have been together in the line-up since they each completed their military service. With Super Junior on a temporary hiatus for much of 2016 due to the enlistment of four other members, Leeteuk has returned to hosting and co-hosts I Can See Your Voice with Yoo Se-yoon and Kim Jong-kook. In June 2016, he collaborated with Suho, Kassy and songwriter Cho Young-soo in a song titled “My Hero”, part of S.M. Entertainment’s music project Station as a tribute to South Korean Olympians past and present in honor of the upcoming Olympics.
On 19 April 2007, almost two months after Super Junior-T’s release of their first single “Rokuko”, Leeteuk became seriously injured in a car accident, along with Shindong, Eunhyuk, Kyuhyun, and two managers, when returning home after a recording of the radio show Super Junior Kiss the Radio. While they were on the highway, the front left tire burst as the driver was switching lanes and the van ran into the guard rail/median on the driver’s side and skidded for about 30 metres. At some point, the momentum caused the van to flip over on its right side.
While Shindong and Eunhyuk suffered minor injuries, Leeteuk and Kyuhyun sustained more serious injuries, which required both to be hospitalised. Leeteuk had glass shards embedded in his back and above his eyes, requiring over 170 stitches. Leeteuk was discharged from the hospital on 30 April 2007.
Due to this accident, Leeteuk did not take part in Super Junior’s debut big-screen production, Attack on the Pin-Up Boys in 2007. However, he was credited as the panda mascot at the end of the film, while it was later confirmed that it had been Ryeowook who portrayed it in most of the film.
On 6 January 2014, Leeteuk’s father, Park Yong-in, and his grandparents were found deceased in their home. SM initially released a statement saying that the trio had died in a car accident, but it was later discovered that it instead had been a murder-suicide, with Yong-in strangling his parents and then hanging himself. A note left near the bodies read “I will bring my parents with me. My children, I am sorry. Please forgive me.” It was later revealed that Yong-in had been dealing with depression for a long time, and a police report stated “We discovered that Leeteuk’s father was trying to make ends meet in order to take care of his parents. Both his parents were suffering from dementia, and Park Yong-in struggled with financial problems. Park Yong-in must’ve felt too much burden on his shoulders, leaving him no choice but to end his parents’ life as well as his.” The funeral was held on 8 January with the Super Junior members in attendance.
On 11 January 2014, Leeteuk returned to finish his mandatory military service and was discharged on 29 July 2014.