The Truth Behind Kim Jong Un’s Alleged Plastic Surgery (and Which Family Member He Wants to Look Like Most)

We all know who Kim Jong Un is — and perhaps more interestingly, we all know what the North Korean leader looks like, too. With his steady diet of cheese and expensive taste in liquor, it’s no wonder experts are concerned for Kim’s health. And others have noticed his looks keep changing over the years, too.

Plastic surgery rumors have circulated around Kim for years — but are any of them true? Find out if the leader has really had any cosmetic alterations (page 5) and who he wants to look like the most (page 6).

1. Kim Jong Un’s appearance is talked about around the world

Kim Jong Un on April 27, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. | Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images

Kim doesn’t exactly look like the pinnacle of health, which concerns a lot of the world. It’s well-documented that Kim Jong Un loves the finer things in life, which includes expensive meats and his prized Emmental cheese. And his extreme wealth allows him to have as many of these luxuries as he wants.

What’s more troubling, however, is that many people in North Korea are starving. And according to some reports, Kim isn’t just spending his wealth on good food.

Next: We’re shocked by what this defector said North Koreans are fans of. 

2. A defector said North Koreans are big fans of plastic surgery

Tourists at North Korean ski resort

Wealthy North Koreans. | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

If you thought the plastic surgery trend in America was bad, one defector claims North Korea’s is even worse. Daily Express reports defector Kim Yoo Sung says North Koreans are getting cosmetic procedures done to improve their appearance. For those who can afford it, allegedly double-eyelid surgery is quite common to reshape the eyes, as is scar removal.

Kim Yoo Sung also says North Koreans don’t get anesthetic when undergoing double-eyelid surgery. And not every surgeon is qualified to do the job, either.

Next: Rumors started swirling around Kim Jong Un’s appearance when this happened.

3. Kim Jong Un gained a substantial amount of weight over the years, which started rumors

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol-Ju in China with President Xi Jinping

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol-Ju in China with President Xi Jinping. | AFP/Getty Images

The BBC reports South Korea’s spy agency gave a report on Kim Jong Un’s weight — and they didn’t have many positive things to note. The National Intelligence Service claimed he went from around 200 pounds in 2012 to around 290 pounds in 2016.

His diet could be a simple explanation for this, but speculation doesn’t stop there. Some think he purposely gained weight or got surgery to look larger than he really is.

Next: Another aspect of his health was brought to the media’s attention. 

4. His limp didn’t go unnoticed, either

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol-Ju in China with President Xi Jinping

Since 2014, Kim is often photographed sitting down. | AFP/Getty Images

While the public noticed his weight ballooning, they also noticed something else — his limp. NBC News reports South Korean reporters commented on Kim’s troubles with walking back in 2014. This was the first time anyone had acknowledged the leader’s failing health.

Expert Michael Madden said it looked like Kim developed gout, which caused him to limp. Either way, it’s not the first time another country reported on Kim’s secret health conditions.

Next: You’ll never believe how many plastic surgeries this TV channel said Kim had. 

5. A Chinese TV channel said Kim Jong Un had 6 plastic surgery procedures

Kim Jong-Un

Has he had six plastic surgery procedures? | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

One report from China shocked the world and enraged the North Korean leader. Business Insider says in 2013, a Chinese TV reported that a trusted source told them Kim had undergone plastic surgery. And he reportedly didn’t get just one operation, either — he got six.

There doesn’t seem to be much evidence to support the claim, but that didn’t stop public speculation. And since then, the public hasn’t stopped wondering what those surgeries could have been.

Next: Here’s who Kim Jong Un wants to look like most. 

6. The report says he aspires to look like his grandfather

1967: North Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung, chats with workers on an unofficial visit to the Hichun Machine Plant.

North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung in 1967. | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

So, why would Kim go through multiple operations? The Telegraph reports it’s because he reportedly wants to look like as much like his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, as possible. Kim Il Sung is known as the “eternal president” of the country, so it’s no wonder the current leader aspires to be just like him.

Whether or not the plastic surgery rumors are true is still up for debate. But there’s no doubt that through his hair cut, clothing, and demeanor, he emulates his grandfather completely.

Next: Here’s how North Korea responded to the plastic surgery rumors. 

7. A North Korean news agency immediately denied the claims

The North Korean government strongly denied the rumors. | Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Kim denies the plastic surgery rumors, of course. And North Korea even put out a statement regarding the rumors after they surfaced, The Telegraph reports.

The Korean Central News Agency stated, “The false report … released by enemies is a hideous criminal act which the party, army, and people can never tolerate.” And Business Insider notes the Chinese media have since been dealt censorship orders to not “report, comment on, or redistribute stories about the personal lives of North Korean leaders.”

Next: North Korea didn’t accept a simple apology for the rumors. 

8. North Korea threatened South Korea after the reports came out

Kim Jong-Un

North Korea threatened China and South Korea over the rumor. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

As expected, Kim didn’t take the rumors lightly. Daily Express reports the Korean Central News Agency said the report “released by enemies” was a “hideous criminal act.” They also said, “Those hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the nation should not expect any mercy or leniency” and that the “human scum and media” perpetuating the rumors “will have to pay.”

It seems neither South Korea or China were retaliated against for the rumors after all. But they’ll think twice next time before commenting on Kim’s looks.

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