A hidden wife and three secret kids: Everything we know about Kim Jong Un's mysterious family.


As rumours continue to swirl about the health of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, there has been plenty of speculation about his successor.

The most obvious person tipped to take over the leadership in the event of Kim Jong-un’s death is his younger sister, 31-year-old Kim Yo-jong – but this is likely only because his kid/s are currently too young.

Yes, Kim, who has led North Korea since 2011, is a father.

Listen: Kim Jong Un is allegedly sick, which means North Korea may be looking at a new leader. Could his sister, Kim Yo Jong, a powerful member of the Workers’ Party of Korea, be it? Post continues below.

Currently, North Korea has been controlled by three consecutive generations of the Kim bloodline over the past seven decades. Reporting from inside North Korea is notoriously difficult, especially on matters concerning the country’s leadership, given tight controls on information.

It’s so difficult, that we’re not actually sure if – or how many – children he has.

Kim Jong-un’s wife.

International media have identified Ri Sol-ju as the wife of Kim Jong-un.

The BBC, quoting an analyst who spoke to South Korea’s The Korea Times, reported that Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, hastily arranged his son’s marriage after suffering a stroke in 2008.

They reportedly married in 2009.

Unsurprisingly, very little information about Ri Sol-ju has appeared in official North Korean sources, but foreign media has reported more speculative information. Very little is known about her life, and her year of birth is thought to be between 1985 and 1989, meaning she is aged 30-35.

Meeting between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping and their wives in Pyongyang, in January 2019, North Korea.
Ri Sol-ju and Kim Jong-un met Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan. Image: Getty.

Ri's family is reportedly from the North's political elite. Her mother heads a gynecology ward and her father is a professor.

It's believed she studied music abroad in China and was also a cheerleader. The BBC reported there is a North Korean singer with the same name, and though it has never been confirmed it is likely she is the same person.


She made her first public appearance at the funeral of Kim's father in 2011, CNN reported, and has been seen at his side numerous times throughout the years.

Kim Jong-un's children.

Is Kim Jong-un dead
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un pictured in Russia on April 25, 2019. Image: Getty.

Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju are believed to have at least three children, though none have been officially announced by North Korea or mentioned in state media.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, told The Korea Times Ri gave birth to a son in 2010, making him about 10 years old now - too young to inherit his father's role if required.


News of a second child came from a very unexpected source - retired NBA star Dennis Rodman, who bizarrely struck up a friendship with Kim during a basketball exhibition trip in February 2013 and was most likely the first American Kim had ever met.

After returning from a second trip to the reclusive state later that year, Rodman said he had a "relaxing time by the sea" with Kim and Ri and had held their infant daughter, whose existence was previously unknown.

"I held their baby Ju Ae and spoke with Ri as well," Rodman told The Guardian, praising the North Korean leader's parenting skills. "He's a good dad and has a beautiful family."

In August 2017 it was reported a third child was born, again based on South Korean intelligence reports, according to The Korea Herald. The sex and name of the child are unknown.

The exact ages and birth years of his three children cannot be verified, but have roughly been assumed based on the lengthy periods Ri has vanished from public life.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Kim once told him during a summit in Singapore he did not want his children "to carry the nuclear weapon on their back their whole life", according to retired CIA officer Andrew Kim.

There really is only one thing for certain in North Korea: And that is no one knows for certain what is going on.

Read more on this topic: 

Feature image: Getty.