How old is Kim Jong-uns wife?
Ri Sol-Ju or Lee Seol-ju (Chosŏn’gŭl: 리설주; born c. 1985–89) is the current First Lady of North Korea and wife of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
Little is known about her from official North Korean sources but outside sources have speculated more about her background. She is believed to have three children, though this is not known for certain. She has appeared numerous times in public with her husband. In April 2018, her title was elevated in state media from merely “comrade” to “respected first lady”, considered a significant honour and the first time the title has been used since 1974.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his family have been characterized as “secretive”. Very little information about Ri Sol-ju has appeared in official North Korean sources, but more speculative information has been reported in foreign media.
In 2012, Ri made several public appearances standing next to Kim Jong-un, causing speculation about who she might be. South Korean intelligence officials tentatively identified her as Hyon Song-Wol, a former singer for the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, a musical group popular in North Korea. However, on 25 July 2012, North Korean state media announced that she was actually Kim’s wife, saying she was “his wife, Comrade Ri Sol-Ju”.
In July 2012, at an elite gala concert in North Korea, Ri was stylishly “dressed in a trim black suit in the Chanel tradition”, considered unusual for North Korean women. Along with other recent changes, such as the firing of a hard-line top general, Kim Jong-un’s marriage is seen by analysts as “a continuation of what is either a policy change, or a propaganda offensive, or both”.
Kenji Fujimoto, the former personal sushi chef of Kim Jong-il, said he met Ri on a recent trip to North Korea. He described her as “just so charming… I cannot describe her voice, it’s so soft…” As a parting gift, Ri gave Fujimoto a Christian Dior handbag, which Ri was earlier reported to have.
From 2012 to 2014, Ri appeared occasionally in the North Korean media, accompanying her husband to events, but subsequently, she has rarely been seen. She had long periods out of the public view in 2015, and 2017. On March 28, 2018, China Central Television showed videos of Ri visiting China with her husband, and there meeting Chinese President Xi and his wife.
In April 2018, Ri’s title was elevated to “respected First Lady”, the first time since 1974 the title had been used in North Korea when it was used about Kim Song-ae. Ri was previously called by state media “comrade”; the promotion occurred ahead of the April 2018 inter-Korean summit where Sol-Ju and the First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, were in attendance. She was observed as being close to Kim Jung-sook during the summits that occurred that year.