EXO First Year Photo Source: SM Entertainment

Do you still follow the former members of SM Entertainment’s mega-popular boy band, EXO? If not, you really should and here’s why. EXO is arguably one of the most popular groups to ever debut. Even before debut, their popularity spread like wildfire. SM was always on point with promotions and made sure to boast that EXO is a multinational group. Originally the group topped out at 12 members, but not long after their fame pushed them to the top, members started dropping out like high school delinquents. Namely the Chinese members. It started with Kris Wu and before long, LuHan and Tao followed suit. It doesn’t appear that they orchestrated their departures as there were a lot of hurt feelings after each one separately announced the desire to split from the team. It’s safe to say that fans were extremely disappointed in them as well. Many repudiated the former members and even attacked their character online. It was a whole mess.

Source: Kris Wu Official Instagram

As the dust settled, all three members returned to China and attempted to begin life after EXO. Even with the looming legal proceedings that would eventually decide their fates, Kris, Luhan and Tao (now being referred to as Zitao) all found their own measures of success back home. We will never truly know the whole story behind their decisions to leave SM (though it seems like it was more about the company than EXO) unless somebody decides to drop a tell-all (*cough, cough*). So it’s pointless to speculate. We just know that even though they have been through the ringer, these guys never gave up. Their post-EXO accomplishments shouldn’t be ignored just because things didn’t work out in Korea. All three have released bops, starred in movies and just worked their butts off all while not throwing shade at anyone else (Well, Kris may have once or twice, but it wasn’t too bad). The least we can do is respect their hustle. Kris, LuHan and Zi Tao are still who they were when they were a part of EXO.

Huang Zitao
Source: Zitao’s Official Weibo Account

We all know that the K-pop industry is especially difficult to break into. The training period alone can take years and it only takes one small misstep for artists to lose everything. That’s not even considering how simply growing older affects K-pop stars. So we have to give mad props to anyone who endured the stress and hardships to even debut much less gain worldwide fame. They earned, and are still earning, the right to stand on stage, regardless of what country they are in or the person standing next to them. This is why I hope that if you supported them in the group, you will consider supporting them individually too.

EXO-M First Year
Source: SM Entertainment

Are you still following Kris, LuHan and ZiTao? If so, what has been your favorite post-EXO project they’ve done. Share more in the comments below.

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