South Korea is playing an increasingly central role in pop culture across the entire globe, with many nations appreciating various aspects of its culture. This includes K-pop, technology, food, and film. South Korea is also home to some of the richest people on the planet, including billionaire Chey Tae-won. Today, this wealthy businessman is drawing attention to South Korea – although perhaps for the wrong reason. His ongoing divorce trial promises to be the most expensive that this nation has ever seen – and it is far from over. 

Who is Chey Tae-won?

Also known in the West as Anthony Chey, Chey Tae-won is the chairman of SK Group. The company is the second-largest conglomerate in the nation, and it mainly focuses on energy, telecommunications, and semiconductors. Born in 1960, Anthony studied for a time at the University of Chicago before joining SK Corp as a manager. He then worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually succeeding his father as the chairman of SK Group without any disputes. 

This Divorce Has Been Dragging on For Almost 15 Years

In 1988, Anthony married Roh Soy-yeong, an art director and the daughter of a former South Korean president. The relationship lasted for the next 13 years before ultimately ending in separation in 2011. A four-year period ensued before Anthony finally announced his intention to divorce his estranged wife. This is when the real legal process began, and it has dragged on ever since. Over the next seven years, the divorce proceedings moved forward at a snail’s pace – with the Seoul Family Court finally ruling in 2022 that Chey could keep most of his business shares. However, he was ordered to hand over $50 million in a divorce settlement. 

However, the divorce still is not over, and apparently, neither spouse is happy with the outcome. Anthony appealed the decision, and a new property division trial is yet to move ahead. This could potentially add years to the overall process. On November 13, 2023, it was reported that Anthony was displeased by his estranged wife’s decision to discuss the divorce with the press. He claimed that she did this in order to generate sympathy among the general public. He also points out that the appellate court specifically told the spouses not to discuss legal proceedings with reporters. Her remarks apparently include a reference to her ex-husband as an “animal.”

The manner in which this divorce has been publicized is highly unusual. For most high-profile, high-net-worth business tycoons, divorce proceedings are kept highly confidential and often resolved behind closed doors according to prenuptial agreements. Anthony seems rather apologetic about the entire affair, telling Business Korea:

“I am baffled to see Director No So-young stirring controversy by unilaterally presenting her side to the media regarding ongoing matters in court, in an attempt to secure a favorable outcome in the remaining divorce settlement trial. It is inappropriate to spark social controversy over personal matters, and I apologize to the public for any disturbance caused amid various critical situations.”