The seven members of BTS, credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy, tell fans that they are 'exhausted' and needed time apart.
K-pop megastars BTS have told fans they were taking a break from the supergroup to focus on their solo careers, citing exhaustion and the pressures of stratospheric success in an emotional video appearance.
"We're going into an off phase now," said Suga, 29, speaking Korean to his bandmates at a group dinner, a video of which was posted to the group's official YouTube channel on Tuesday.
But the Grammy-nominated septet's label HYBE pushed back on Wednesday as their share price went into freefall, saying that the pop juggernaut would still be working together.
"They will be doing team and individual projects simultaneously," a representative for HYBE, whose share price was down 27 percent early Wednesday, said.
'To learn how to be one again'
In the video, RM, 27, said they were "exhausted" and that they "didn't know what kind of group we were anymore."
"The problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don't give you time to mature," he said, referring to South Korea's notoriously hard-driving music business model.
Jimin, 26, said the members are "slowly trying to figure things out now".
"I think that's why we're going through a rough patch right now, we're trying to find our identity and that's an exhausting and long process."
J-Hope, 28, said the group "should spend some time apart to learn how to be one again".
I just want to say only one thing now with full of love respect and tears in eyes that— Shania (@heartbeatgirl30) June 14, 2022
GOT ARMY RIGHT BEHIND YOU ALWAYS BTS
BANGTAN and Army Always & FOREVER💜
You are always 7#Got_Army_Right_Behind_You#BTSBestFriendsOfMyLife#BTSFESTA2022#BTS_twt#btsarmyforever pic.twitter.com/H5XkrVN3h2
By the end of the dinner, several of the members of the group behind "Dynamite" and "Butter" had grown tearful as they voiced gratitude for their supporters, a fandom known online as the "ARMY".
ARMY's online reaction was tearful but supportive, with tens of thousands of comments quickly posted under the YouTube video.
"I can't imagine how much pressure they felt these latest years. Being called the biggest band in the world, having all that responsibility... must be overwhelming," one fan wrote.
"I really love how honest they are here," wrote another.
"They are also people like us. They get exhausted and worn out. They deserve to rest and enjoy what they love to do," the commenter added.
BTS has said they were going on short breaks before, first in 2019 and later in December 2021.