(Photo : SBS ) On August 26, "Running Man" fans were thrilled by reports that Gary and Song Ji Hyo appeared to be a real-life couple as they locked hands while making their way through a crowd at Changsha Airport in China. According to a report published by Sports Chosun, the pair, who are known as the Monday Couple, were visiting China to participate in the variety show, "Day Day Up."
(Photo : Sports Chosun) The photos depict the couple holding hands, but the K-Variety stars have previously shown public displays of affection, particularly when visiting China. On August 21, audiences who attended a fan meeting in Shanghai took to social media to share photos and videos of a moment where Song Ji Hyo kissed Gary on the cheek, while on-stage.
Their popularity as a virtual couple is evidenced by views a fan video of the incident received. Posted on August 22, the grainy footage received close to 71,000 views.
The love line between Gary and his "Running Man" co-star is one of the longest on-going television relationships in Korean entertainment. While programs like "We Got Married" continuously change out their couples, the Monday Couple has been a mainstay since its inception.
While most of their interactions involve verbal banter, the Monday Couple has previously shared on-screen pecks. Their kisses during "Running Man" have garnered strong attention from international fans, as exemplified by their Best Kiss win at the 2014 DramaFever Awards.
The on-screen pairing of the stars continued, even after it was revealed that she was dating the CEO of CjeS Entertainment, in real-life. However, in July 2015, the actress confirmed that she had broken up with Baek Chang Joo. She ended her relationship with the executive after two years of dating and subsequently left the agency in July 2015.
Confirmation that she was no longer in an actual relationship provided leeway for the return of the Monday Couple. The Monday Couple embodies the tenuous border that exists between reality and fiction within Korean entertainment.
As the newly-single actress makes her way through fan meetings and guest appearances in China, the public displays of affection with Gary will surely continue. "Running Man" is immensely popular within Asia, leading nine countries to purchase licensing rights in 2011. In addition to licensing of the Korean program, the variety show sparked a spin-off in mainland China and a Chinese language film starring Korean cast member Kim Jong Kook.
Statistics aside, the Monday Couple continues to be one of the most liked on-screen duos of the K-Variety sector. While "We Got Married" keeps cycling out fan favorites, Song Ji Hyo and Gary continue to be a mainstay.