As rumours of Kim Jong-un’s ailing health grow, attention has turned to his close family – including his First Lady.
Little is known about the despot’s home life but while he is known to lead an extravagant lifestyle and in 2016 reformed the regime’s notorious ‘pleasure squad’
He has reportedly been married since 2009 to Ri Sol-ju, although this may not be her real name.
She is believed to be 30 although some have suggested she could be anything up to 35 and is thought to be the daughter of a gynaecologist mother and professor father part of the hermit kingdom’s elite.
She studied singing in China and is rumoured to have traveled to the South as part of a 90-string cheerleading troupe for 2005’s Asian Athletics Championships.
It is claimed North Korean officials have sought to erase her entertainer past from the records by confiscating CDs.
While very little is known about her background the extent of her public profile is actually far greater than is usual in North Korea, seen to be a sign of Jong-un’s move away from more traditional leadership.
The most telling thing about her status in the dictatorship is her title.
Ri is the first to be known as ‘respected First Lady’ since 1974 and has made substantially more public appearances than had become the norm in North Korea before Jong-un took over from his late father in 2011.
Ri first appeared in public in 2012 and was described as ‘his wife, Comrade Ri Sol-ju’.
It is thought the couple have three children.
Their oldest will turn eight this year and is a boy whose name is unknown.
In 2012 Ri is thought to have given birth to a girl whose name was revealed to be Kim Ju-ae by the unlikely source of basketball star Dennis Rodman, a personal friend of Jong-un.
He said: “He’s a good dad and has a beautiful family.”
South Korea reported Ri had a third child in February 2017 but no more details are known.
A rare glimpse at her personality came courtesy of famous sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto, who was previously Jong-un’s late father’s personal cook.