Singer Gary Kang revealed recently that he was worried about his image after leaving 'Running Man' in November, last year. The ex-Running Man member said he was afraid of his fans misunderstanding him for leaving the variety show.
During an interview with China's Sina News, as quoted by Allkpop, Gary said "'Running Man' was my first variety show. After leaving 'Running Man,' a lot of concerns ran through my mind. I was worried that people will perceive me negatively."
Back in October of 2016, the rapper had decided to leave SBS's 'Running Man' after being on the show for seven long years. He had become famous for partnering with actress Song Ji-hyo as the "Monday Couple" and fans not only loved their chemistry and genuine friendship, they also wished the couple would get hitched in real-life as well. But of course, Gary had always been a singer and had ambitions to that regard. Gary left 'Running Man' to study music as a subject. This showed how he took his aspirations seriously. But it did hurt his fans and some of them were indeed sad to see "Gary Oppa" leave the team.
On October 25, Allkpop quoted a 'Running man' producer saying "Gary expressed his desire to focus on his music studies and revealed that he wants to invest more time in music. The 'Running Man' producers decided to respect Gary's decision to pursue his main field as a musician. We sincerely appreciate Gary who has given great effort for 'Running Man' as the original member for the past 7 years."
Gary's departure led to a drop in viewership for the show. Following which, a series of unfortunate events took place, the show's producers deciding to fire Song Ji-hyo and Kim Jong-kook without prior notice. This led to fan backlash and eventually cancellation of the show. However, Ji-hyo and Jong-kook were brought back for the remaining episodes and fans wanted the show to continue. The producers apologised for their mistake and un-cancelled the show. They then dedicated a 'Member's Week,' sent Kim Jong-kook on a date and brought Gary back for a special episode.
Gary's surprise return to 'Running Man' on January 29 shocked his co-stars who were not told of his appearance beforehand. "Wasn't he stopping [for good?] What about our feelings?" Haha had said, talking about Gary's return to the variety show. His upset fans had a reason to rejoice. Lee Kwang-soo acted like he saw a ghost and said, "Ji Hyo Noona (older sister) is going to cry again today." However, Song Ji-hyo was quite restrained and did not let her emotions make the better of her. But, she was genuinely happy for his return and shook his hand warmly.
As for Gary, he's very thankful that his fans, for the most part, supported his decision to develop his passion for music more. He said "I'm thankful that many waited for my music and gave me encouragement. I'll work hard to make music so I can communicate (with my fans)," as quoted by Allkpop. Gary recently visited Singapore to meet his fans in the island-city. We wish him all the best with his music career. And since 'Running Man' is officially reinstated, we hope Gary keeps coming back to the show, every once in a while.