The Secrets Behind Kim Jong Un’s Sheltered Childhood, Revealed

Most of what we know about Kim Jong Un comes from those who have known or worked for him personally in the past. He’s as secretive as you’d expect any dictator to be. We know what he eats and how he lives compared to the rest of North Korea, but not much else.

Since replacing his father in 2011, we’ve gradually pieced together trivial parts of his life leading up to assuming his position — including his sheltered, unremarkable childhood.

Kim Jong Un is his father’s youngest son

Kim Jong Un waving at a crowd.

He had an older sibling. | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

He was born in the early 1980s — most likely 1982 — but was not the first son of Kim Jong II. He and his older brother, Kim Jong Chul, share the same mother. Their oldest brother, a half-sibling, would have been his father’s heir if he hadn’t been arrested for trying to travel with a fake passport.

Next: Everything changed when his mother fell ill.

He is the son of his father’s second mistress

Kim Jong Un waving at a crowd of young military students.

His mother was actually a mistress of his father. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong II had his two youngest sons with his second mistress. While Kim Jong Un’s mother was in Switzerland being treated for breast cancer, Kim attended two separate schools before returning to North Korea to study at the military academy named after his grandfather.

Next: His classmates didn’t know who he really was.

He attended school under a pseudonym

Kim Jong Un walking alongside an audience of cheering students.

His classmates would not have known about him. | KNS/AFP/Getty Images.

At his second school in Switzerland, his classmates knew him as Un Pak, the son of a diplomat from his home country. He wore jeans, a Bulls sweatshirt, and Nike sneakers on his first day — an average teen with a not-so-average future ahead of him.

Next: He wasn’t a star student, but he did have one hobby we know if — and he was good at it,

There was only one thing he was good at

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a photo session with the participants in the 8th Congress of the Korean Children's Union in Pyongyang.

He has a penchant for basketball. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim wasn’t an exceptional student. Those who studied with him say he was average in just about every way — except when it came to basketball.

He not only played as a teen, but shared his father’s obsession with the Chicago Bulls, an NBA team best known for one star player in particular. At one point, Kim even considered Michael Jordan one of his heroes.

Next: He didn’t have much choice over this part of his life.

He had an arranged marriage … maybe

Ri Sol Ju standing in a courtroom.

His wife makes the occasional public appearance. | AFP/Getty Images

Around the time he became North Korea’s supreme leader, he married¬†Ri Sol Ju — at least, that’s what we assume her real name is. We don’t know anything about her family or life before marriage. She’s made more public appearances than his father’s mistresses, though, so it’s possible Kim is happy with the arrangement.

Next: As the youngest son, no one expected him to be the one chosen for this.

His father chose him as his heir

KIm Jong Un with military directors.

He was chosen by his father to serve as the heir. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong II chose neither of his eldest sons to serve as his heir. Kim Jong Un may not have been the best student, or even as dedicated of a basketball player as the American athlete he admired. But the dying leader deemed him the most worthy to assume his role nonetheless.

Next: There might be a sad reason he’s so unhealthy.

He gained a lot of weight — maybe not by choice

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a fruit farm.

His health habits are questionable. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim noticeably started gaining weight around the time he assumed the role of his father’s heir. It’s possible he might have been “persuaded” to put on extra pounds to more closely resemble his grandfather,¬†Kim Il Sung.

If that’s the case, the orders he received didn’t help him form good health habits. In addition to smoking and drinking, his poor diet has probably already ruined his heart,

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