It’s Okay to Not Be Okay turns 4: Revisiting Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji’s atypical romance's success story

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay starring Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji completes 4 years today since it’s release in 2020. On this special day, let’s revisit the two lead characters’ romance graph.

Updated on Jun 20, 2024  |  12:23 PM IST |  469.5K
Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji: Images from tvN
Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji: Images from tvN

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a dark and cynical drama that vividly explores the way interpersonal relationships grow when the characters suffer from several mental disorders. This drama serves as a blueprint of romance for those who learn the power of healing with time.

Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji's 'a love so different' in mental health-themed drama It's Okay to Not Be Okay

Released on June 20, 2020, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay turns 4 today. On this day, let’s look at how Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji’s bittersweet romance leaves a mark in viewers’ minds.

A brief character dissection of the two lead characters

Before diving further into their love story, it’s important to run through the individual character traits of Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji in the drama.

Seo Ye Ji plays Ko Mun Young, a children’s fairytale author, and the most layered character in this series. She likes to live in a folklore world, she likes to live in a dark ambiance, and she puts up an appearance that would make you believe she is rude, haughty, and a negative person all in one.

However, the creators’ intention was never to make her a strong female lead, but rather someone who is actually fragile inside.


On the other hand, Kim Soo Hyun embodies the character of Moon Gang Tae. While taking care of his autistic older brother, somewhere along the line, Gang Tae merely lives for himself. From moving places every once in a while to changing his jobs, his character sacrifices the most in It's Okay to Not Be Okay.

So the question arises how these two individuals, one who is extremely benevolent and selfless, while the other is rather selfish, forge a relationship out of love!

The beginning of Moon Gang Tae and Ko Mun Young

When Moon Gang Tae and Ko Mun Young first meet each other, there’s a sense of hostility, mainly from the guys’ side. He despises her anti-social personality. However, given the fact that he is a caregiver to his mentally ill older brother, it doesn’t take long for Gang Tae to realize Mun Young’s suffering.


Despite her resistant shell, he manages to peek inside her soul and thus offers a hand in her healing.

On the other hand, Ko Mun Young is instantly bewitched by Moon Gang Tae, especially because no one ever has managed to prevent her from being selfish. She gets attached to him rather quickly, referring to him as her ‘safety pin’, for she is the ‘time bomb’.

Ko Mun Young, Moon Gang Tae, and his older brother

Moon Sang Tae's autistic older brother plays the key role between Ko Mun Young and Gang Tae. Despite being hostile, the only reason Moon Gang Tae stands by Mun Young’s side is because of his older brother, who is a huge fan of the author and her books.

The interpersonal relationship between the three also brings an interesting arc to the romance between the caregiver and the writer.

Initially, Sang Tae likes hanging around with Ko Mun Young, especially because he finds her amazing, while she finds him amusing. However, with time, as romance brews between her and Gang Tae, the older brother becomes envious. He senses it as if his younger brother is snatching the only ‘friend’ he has!


Here, many hoped for a love triangle, but the creator’s intention was nothing of the sort. Anyhow, this hugely affects the brothers’ relationship as well.

The success story of an atypical romance

Overcoming all odds, Moon Gang Tae and Ko Mun Young come together, embracing each other in their arms.

However, the path was rather rocky. It was easy for Ko Mun Young to confide in Gang Tae, because all she wanted was a ‘person’, while it was difficult for him, since all his life, he had only known to be a caregiver, not to receive it.

How do they end up in love, one might wonder! Well, the secret is the power of healing.

From the very beginning, viewers get a clear picture of Ko Mun Young’s mental health issues. She had a troubled childhood woven by her abusive father. However, she relives the times again and again. She lives in the house bearing those dark secrets, she writes stories that are metaphors to her own life. She doesn’t try to heal until she meets Gang Tae.

On the other hand, Gang Tae might seem like he is good at ‘holding it in’. However, from childhood, he was taught by his mother to take care of Sang Tae. His mother even told him that the only reason he was born was to protect his older brother all his life. Imagine, questioning your self-worth as a kid! The harm caused by it is unimaginable.


But that’s how our lead characters forge their relationship, confronting their similar past traumas and accepting to heal.

The hidden secret

Ko Mun Young and Gang Tae’s encounter is merely coincidental, as both of them knew each other as kids. She saved Gang Tae from a frozen lake when they were kids, while all he wanted was to ‘disappear’ with the ice. 

Their childhood interaction is the premise of their interesting relationship arch that was forged decades later.

ALSO READ: Marry My Husband’s Na In Woo launches official fan club NWOO-RUNGJI, celebrating 10th debut anniversary

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Credits: tvN

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