Truth or Fiction? The Strangest Facts and Rumors About North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

Portable toilets, Disney obsessions, bondage porn and a lot of cheese...
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Truth or Fiction? The Strangest Facts and Rumors About North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Getty Images/Reuters

This year, Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, surprised the world by sitting down with Donald Trump for a historic summit. The two men committed to an agreement to work on mutual "peace and prosperity."

Yet only two weeks later, reports emerged that upgrades at a North Korean nuclear research facility are "continuing at a rapid pace." So who really is the mysterious North Korean leader, and can we trust anything he says?

With no press freedom in North Korea, it's hard to verify information about the country's ruling family. Aside from state propaganda, outsiders are forced to glean information using a patchwork of sources, such as the South Korean spy agency, defectors who once worked for the regime and, of course, Kim Jong Un's long-time friend, the ex-basketball player Dennis Rodman.

North Korea was founded by Kim Jong Un's grandfather, and the family has cultivated a dynastic cult of personality. His father Kim Jong Il claimed he could walk at three weeks old, control the weather through the power of thought and was said to employ a servant to inspect every grain of rice served to him.

After he died his son Kim Jong Un became North Korea's leader, and has also become known for his bizarre behavior. Glimpses into his life paint a fascinating picture of immense wealth and privilege that is not extended to his citizens. The United Nations has accused North Korea of crimes against humanity, including systematic extermination, torture, rape, forced abortions and starvation.

Read more: Truth or Fiction? The Strangest Facts and Rumors about Russian President Vladimir Putin

We've sifted through the many rumors about Kim Jong Un to try and paint a picture of the notorious despot. From his mysterious birthday to his secret children, these are the strangest things we know—or think we know—about the North Korean leader.

01-young-kim Reuters
Nobody knows how old he is Neither Kim nor North Korean officials seem interested in clearing up outsider speculation about his birth year, which is believed to be either 1982, 1983 or 1984. This makes him anywhere between 34 and 36—so we do know for sure he’s a millennial. His birthday is believed to fall on January 8, but the Telegraph reports that in previous years he has handed out sweets—a traditional birthday ritual—on January 7. Reuters