K-pop: HyunA and E'Dawn relationship causes controversy

Three K-pop artists pose for a photo Image copyright Cube Entertainment
Image caption E'Dawn (left) and HyunA (middle) formed K-pop band Triple H with Hui (right)

The head of a major music label in South Korea has denied reports HyunA and E'Dawn, two members of the pop trio Triple H, have been sacked after revealing their relationship.

Cube Entertainment CEO Shin Dae-Nam released a statement after 720,000 tweets in 10 hours mentioned the K-pop stars' supposed sacking.

"We've yet to make an official decision on the rumour that HyunA and E'Dawn would be ousted," reads the statement on Naver, a major South Korean website.

"We are still discussing it, it is not a confirmed decision. Since the opinions of the artists are also important, this should be deliberately decided through the process of collecting opinions."

Many K-pop artists - often known as "idols" - are not allowed to enter into any form of romantic relationship while under contract.

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South Korean media previously reported that HyunA (Kim Hyun-ah) and E'Dawn (Kim Hyo-jong) were sacked by their label after it emerged the pair had been in a secret relationship for over two years.

HyunA has had a successful solo career and E'Dawn is also known as a member of boy band Pentagon. The pair formed Triple H as a side project with fellow Pentagon singer Hui.

Cube Entertainment said in an earlier statement that "after several discussions and careful consideration" they decided to remove the two artists from the label because they believed it would be impossible to recover the trust lost by keeping their relationship secret.

The relationship was revealed by HyunA, confirmed in a post on Instagram, telling her followers she "wanted to stay honest".

The change comes after many on social media specifically pointed to the fact HyunA has worked for Cube Entertainment for far longer than the CEO.

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The decision to sack the pair was heavily criticised. Some fans defended HyunA by asking how her work for Cube Entertainment could be ignored simply because she was in a relationship.

Others came to the defence of E'Dawn, with fans referencing his struggle to land a contract with the label on TV show Pentagon Maker - a reality talent show where people competed to be part of the band.

Those not familiar with K-Pop might recognise HyunA from her appearance in the music video for Psy's crossover hit Gangnam Style, where she can be seen dancing on an underground train before joining Psy in a larger routine.

The success of the video led the pair to release a new version of Gangnam Style sung as a duet, which has been viewed over 720 million times on YouTube.