Rev. Moon oversaw large, often bickering, brood
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Unification Church founder who died this week at 92, had 13 children with his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. He and his wife are revered by followers as the “True Parents,” but their children have suffered estrangements, deaths, suicide, lawsuits, public bickering, the airing of intimate secrets — and one reality TV show appearance. Here’s a look at some of the more prominent Moon children:
The Moons’ eldest son, born in 1962. Hyo-jin reportedly died of a heart attack in 2008. He was a musician and producer and recorded more than a dozen albums, according to a church-affiliated website. His former wife, Nonsook Hong, claimed he was an alcoholic and drug addict who beat her, including while she was seven months pregnant with their fifth child. He was given huge amounts of cash by his mother which he used to buy cocaine and throw parties, Hong told the U.S. television program “60 Minutes” in 1998. She said she was chosen by the Rev. Moon to marry Hyo-jin when she was 15.
HYUN-JIN PRESTON MOON
Preston, born in 1969, went to Columbia and Harvard Business School and twice competed in the Olympics for the South Korean equestrian team, according to the church-affiliated website. He played a leading role in church business and media interests, including the Washington Times newspaper, but he has also been involved in rifts with his siblings and parents. His company sued his mother’s missionary group in 2011, demanding the return of more than $22 million the company claimed was sent without its consent to her group. A court ruled that the money was a loan but ordered it returned, the church said. Preston is still in charge of a church organization in the United States, Unification Church International, but church officials said they have asked him to leave the job.
HYUNG-JIN SEAN MOON
Harvard-educated Sean, born in New York in 1979, is the Moons’ youngest son and the church head. He practiced Buddhism when younger, shaving his head and wearing monastic robes, and said he turned to the religion after a brother died in what U.S. officials called a suicide. He said he worried about his father’s reaction to the religious decision but the Rev. Moon told followers not to criticize him. He titled a book of his essays “A Bald Head and a Strawberry.” He was chosen to lead the church in 2008. He is more fluent in English than Korean, and many of his English sermons are designed to appeal to a young generation of followers.
KOOK-JIN JUSTIN MOON
Justin, 42, was the last of the children born in South Korea and also went to Harvard, the church website said. He runs the Tongil Group, the church’s business arm, and owns U.S.-based gun manufacturer Kahr Arms.
YEON-JIN KAT MOON
Born in the United States, she is a graduate of New York University in journalism and economics, according to the church-affiliated website. She also briefly appeared on a TV reality show in the U.S., “Survival of the Richest,” in 2006. Press reviews of the first episode reported her fortune as $989 million and said she claimed to suffer from “chronic boredom” — and that she was voted off the show by the other rich kids at the end of the first episode.
The 21-year-old committed suicide in 1999 by jumping from the 17th floor of a hotel in downtown Reno, Nevada, local officials said. He was in Reno visiting the University of Nevada campus and had been considering whether to study hotel management there or at home in Las Vegas, according to church officials interviewed at the time. Young-jin was said to not be heavily involved in the church. A church newsletter said his November 1997 wedding “set the stage for the blessing of 3.6 million couples worldwide.”
The 17-year-old died in early 1984 after the car he was driving collided with a tractor-trailer in New York. At the time of the accident, he was engaged to marry the prima ballerina daughter of Bo Hi Pak, the head of the church’s Korean Cultural Foundation. The wedding, dubbed a “spiritual” marriage, went ahead as planned despite his death, and he was married posthumously to Julia Moon, a prominent figure in South Korea’s arts scene.
Un-jin, another daughter, told “60 Minutes” in 1998 that she was estranged from her parents. When she told her parents that her husband beat her, they responded that she deserved it, she said. She also told the TV program that she knew Moon had at least one illegitimate son.
Sung-jin was born in 1946, the child of the Rev. Moon and his first wife Choi Sun-kil. He now lives in Japan, according to church officials and a church defector, Lee Young-sun.