State secret

Mysteries abound with Ri Sol-ju, the stylish wife of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images)

In the wake of historic overtures of peace from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the possibility of a summit between him and President Donald Trump looming next month, renewed interest has been brought to the dictator’s wife, Ri Sol-ju, whose life before and after marrying the dictator remains largely an enigma.

According to South Korean reports, Ri is believed to be 28 and a mother of three children — the third of which she may have given birth to as recently as February, after she abruptly disappeared from the public eye for several months. Unlike most North Koreans, she is thought to have gone on multiple trips outside the country even before becoming Kim’s paramour. Ri reportedly studied singing in China, and was a member of North Korea’s cheerleading squad when they visited South Korea in 2005. Some reports have suggested that she and Kim married as early as 2009, but others have claimed they first met in person in 2010, during a classical music concert. Regardless, it wasn’t until July 2012, when Kim introduced Ri during the opening of a Pyongyang amusement park, that she was officially identified as the dictator’s wife.

Since becoming Kim’s wife, Ri has been photographed on multiple occasions sporting a preference for high-end Western fashion, including dresses, jewelry and even luxury handbags from Dior and Chanel. And while the tightly-controlled North Korean state media has yet to confirm even the most simple of details about Ri to the public — including her age, or whether she actually has any children — the information surrounding her is a virtual goldmine by North Korean standards. Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-Il, is believed to have had many wives — but never introduced any of them to the public.

Watch Business Insider’s report on Ri Sol-Ju below.

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