Hoon Sook (Julia) (Pak) Moon (wife of Heung Jin Moon)
It has been 25 years since Moon Hoon-sook married the ghost of her dead fiancé, the son of Unification Church founder Moon Sun-myung. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Universal Ballet, which she heads and which was set up in memory of her "husband."
"You can't marry a ghost against your will," she says defiantly today. "I don't do everything my parents want. I'm a free person, and I make my own personal decisions. I chose this path because I wanted it."
Had she ever met her husband before he died? "Yes, we'd met and talked about our marriage. Then the car accident happened in the U.S., and the posthumous marriage took place in 1984, the year of his death. I was 21 then," she recalls. "People ask me if it's difficult to live on my own. Of course there are difficulties, but there are also difficulties when you live with someone else. It's just different types of hardship, and I don't think living alone is necessarily tougher. You have to nurture love constantly. I do it by thinking of my husband in heaven."
The first Korean to become a soloist at the Washington Ballet, she danced Giselle at the Kirov Ballet of Russia. Now 46, she was active between the ages of 17 and 39. Had she ever felt drawn to her male dancing partner? "Of course. I'm a human. And how can you not know when someone likes you. But then you should have proper private life. I'm married to a man, and he represents all other men in the world. I was taught that if I love the man I married, then it's like I'm loving all other people."
Moon is raising two children, a 17-year-old son adopted from her husband's younger brother, and a seven-year-old daughter from her husband's elder brother. Her daughter has started studying ballet. "My parents recommended I to adopt children. You know, these practices existed in the past too," she says. "Parents raise children, but in fact, often times, parents mature as they raise children. I guess that's how life is."
"In ballet, you stand on tip-toe and waddle like a duck when you walk. It's a form of art that resists gravity and custom. It's abnormal in that sense, but I found my freedom in it."