BTS to take a break as K-pop band members announce ‘hiatus’ to pursue solo work

The seven “exhausted” members of the K-pop supergroup BTS have announced that they are taking time out from the band to focus on their solo careers.

The globally popular artists, who are credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy, dropped the bombshell during their streamed annual dinner on Tuesday night, part of a celebration that marks their anniversary as a group.

“We’re going into a hiatus now,” said Suga, 29, about 20 minutes into the clip, which was posted on the group’s official YouTube channel.

But Hybe, the entertainment company behind the band, later said the group were not taking a hiatus and would be continue to work on projects as a group as well as individually.

“BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time,” the statement said, but did not give details.

BTS’s devotees, collectively known as Army, flooded social media with messages of support. “I just want to give them a hug”, one fan said in comments reported by Yonhap news agency.

Another wrote: “I’ve anticipated this moment for a long time, but I didn’t expect it today. “The name BTS will continue with Army like a tattoo that doesn’t disappear.”

A female fan described the move as “courageous”. “It takes so much courage to leave a place where you have it all in order to challenge yourself and reach an upgrade version of who you are,” she said. “BTS is teaching me another important lesson.”

At Tuesday’s dinner, J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jimin spoke in Korean – while a video of the meeting included English subtitles – about why they had decided to take a break.

RM, 27, said that after BTS’s last few singles he “didn’t know what kind of group we were any more”, adding later the band’s members were “exhausted”.

“I’ve always thought that BTS was different than other groups,” he added. “But the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature.”