Former IZ*ONE member Kim Min Ju declined HYBE's proposal to join its upcoming new girl group.
A new report by YTN News confirmed that HYBE sent Min Ju an offer to be part of their company. However, she refused the offer after discussing it with her current agency, Urban Works Media.
The upcoming girl group will reportedly be managed by former GFriend agency, Source Music. Instead of joining them, Min Ju decided to continue pursuing her blossoming acting career.
Outside the K-pop industry, she already starred in the 2019 film "The Fault Is Not Yours" and the MBC TV series "Tempted" in 2018.
Sources revealed that Urban Works Media communicated with HYBE until September before deciding on Min Ju's future. It remains unknown whether the former IZ*ONE member would pursue music but under a different company.
The turn of events surprised the fans, especially since they expected her to join the group alongside her former co-members Kim Chae Won and Miyawaki Sakura. Pledis Entertainment trainee Heo Yun-jin will also join them.
In addition, her rejection also shocked fans of BTS since HYBE holds the most famous and in-demand K-pop boy group.
HYBE To Pursue Girl Group Without Kim Min Ju
Even without Min Ju, HYBE will reportedly push through with their plans and debut a new girl group.
Before the K-pop idol's rejection, Miyawaki Sakura recently finalized her contract with Source Music under HYBE. The signing confirmed the rumors that swirled in August when she returned to Korea for the first time since IZ* ONE's disbandment.
At that time, she was reportedly escorted by the same security team that serves BTS.
Former IZ*ONE member Chae Won also followed the signing of the contract. The idol secured the move following her stint under Woollim Entertainment.
Chae Won has since changed her Naver website bio and Daum profile where the agency's name used to appear. The agency's website also removed her name from its list.
IZ*ONE was the girl group formed by the survivors of MNET's Produce48 - the third season of Produce 101. The Korean-Japanese group promoted for two years and six months before officially disbanding in April.
Prior to their split, the group successfully garnered several awards, including APAN TOP 10, APAN Music Awards' Idol Champ Fan's Pick - Group, Asia Artist Awards' Rookie of the Year, Best Musician Award, and Potential Award, among others.