The first South Korean president to be impeached, Park Geun-hye spent both her youth and later years in the Blue House.
Park Geun-hye: Downfall of South Korea's political princess
Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT) March 10, 2017
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
Park Geun-hye's story is South Korea's history.
The first South Korean president to be impeached, Park spent both her youth and later years in the Blue House. A life in the spotlight rich in tragedy and scandal.
Park first moved to the presidential quarters aged 10, when her father, Park Chung-hee, seized power in a military coup in 1961. He rewrote the constitution to cement his grip on power and brutally cracked down on dissent and opposition, leading many to call him a dictator.
Supporters though saw the older Park as a hero, who rebuilt the country's economy and standing from the ashes of the Korean War.
In 1974, Park's mother was killed in a botched assassination attempt on her father. In the years that followed, she assumed the role of First Lady, greeting world leaders alongside her father. This was Park's first training on how to lead her country.
Park's impeachment upheldDownfall of a political princessProtesters, police clashScandal: What you need to knowShe was 'married to the nation'
"With the sudden passing of my mother ... heavy responsibilities and duties of the First Lady were suddenly forced upon me, it was indeed an arduous task," she told CNN in 2014.
Five years after her mother's death, Park Chung-hee was also assassinated -- killed by his own security chief. Having lost both her parents and her home, Park withdrew from the public sphere, living what she described as "a very normal life."
Park said she was persuaded to rejoin politics after seeing the effects of the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s. Even with her pedigree, however, the road to political power was far from easy. In 2006, she was attacked while campaigning ahead of local elections in Seoul, but continued in politics, eventually winning the Presidency and returning to the Blue House in 2013, decades after her parents' deaths.
Park became the first female leader of a deeply patriarchal South Korean society, sparking hopes of a push toward gender equality. Her performance on the job reminded some of her father.
"According to her aides, her style of governing was more reminiscent of (Park Chung-hee), more authoritarian than South Korea's used to in today's 21st century democracy," said Duyeon Kim of Georgetown University.
Just over a year into her presidency, tragedy struck again.
On April 16, 2014, a passenger ferry sank off the coast of South Korea. As the country watched live broadcasts in horror, hundreds of passengers -- most of them high school students on a field trip to the holiday island of Jeju -- drowned.
In all, 304 people died, and it quickly became clear that the ferry's sinking was a man-made disaster of corruption and incompetence. Park did not address the nation until seven hours after the tragedy began.
"That was a stain on her presidency," said John Delury, a professor at Seoul's Yonsei University. "There was a palpable sense at that time that she wasn't there. It's not as if people expected her to magically save the ship, but there was a need for leadership."
"I believe that one should value and place the utmost value on trust and confidence," Park told CNN before the Sewol disaster.
But if the ferry's sinking shook public confidence in the president, a massive corruption scandal which began unfolding last year -- gripping the nation and paralyzing the country's politics -- was the final straw for millions of Koreans.
Since the death of Park's mother, questions had been raised about the influence of a cult leader, Choi Tae-min, on the young First Daughter.
A confidential 2007 US diplomatic cable, published by Wikileaks, referenced rumors that Choi had "complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result."
In October, it emerged that one of those children, Choi Soon-sil, had the trust and ear of Park the president, and had for decades.
Choi is currently on trial for meddling in state affairs and extorting money. She denies all charges against her.
Following a three month investigation by special prosecutors, it was recommended that Park be indicted as a bribery suspect once she loses presidential immunity.
Calls for Park's impeachment were swift after she made a short televised apology, in which it was made clear she would not step down as she did not believe she had done anything wrong.
Hundreds of thousands of people protested in downtown Seoul every Saturday throughout the brutally cold Korean winter, opposed by much smaller demonstrations calling for Park to remain.
Subsequent apologies from Park fell largely on deaf ears, and months of political stalemate and divisive public protests continued.
On Friday, a unanimous decision by the country's Constitutional Court ended Park's presidency for good, upholding a vote by the National Assembly to impeach her.
Elections for a new leader must be held in the next 60 days and Park's Saenuri Party hopes to maintain their grip on power despite the scandal.
But the woman who spent much of her life in and out of the Blue House will have to leave it again, this time for good.
- Catching up with JiaJia: CNN reunites with adopted orphan from China
- Asians, Latinos Make Up Majority Of California's Population But Have Least Political Influence
- America’s Melting Pot Is Boiling Brown People To Death
- South Korean court upholds motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye
- The Philippines' oldest conglomerate goes back to school
- US says 'all options on table' to deal with North Korea
- South Korean stocks up after President Park's impeachment ruling
- Rex Tillerson's silent treatment puts U.S. State Department spokesperson in press's crosshairs
- North Korea's diplomacy: Does the rogue state have any friends left?
- 'Is this the new Filipino life?' Manila rappers blast Duterte's war on drugs
You might also like
- Depeche Mode rails against the alt-right
- Liberace’s sordid life story is hitting the stage
- How ‘New York, New York’ was written in 45 minutes
- ‘Time After Time’ star doesn’t know why there are so many time-travel shows either
- Housing affordability: Is it time to move to Adelaide?
- Postal worker believed he would never see family again, kidnap trial told
- Latest: Tragic deaths not the first time O'Brien family devastated by fire
- Geri Horner has paid such a moving tribute to George Michael
- Hawaii becomes first US state to sue over Donald Trump's revised travel ban
- 31 dead as fire ravages youth shelter in Guatemala
- WhatsApp is letting a handful of startups test its business chat tools
- Pinterest is buying Twitter cofounder Biz Stone’s human-powered search engine, Jelly
- Powerful South Carolina political consultant implicated in indictments of a veteran state senator
- Will Donald Trump get a second Supreme Court nomination?
- "Hazing" rituals await Supreme Court's "junior justice" Neil Gorsuch
- The hunt is on for Planet Nine. Here's how to join it
- Trump approves controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline
- Trump praises 'Fox & Friends,' renews old feuds in early morning tweets
- Rex Tillerson finally answers question from NBC News' Andrea Mitchell
- First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest in the Russia Investigation
- Spicer: 'I've let the president down'
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday
- OMB Diriector Mick Mulvaney: Washington's 'a lot more broken' than Trump thought
- Trump attacks conservatives over failure of health care bill
- A very consequential week didn't go well for President Trump
- Health Care Showdown: Republicans look to go big or go home
- No deal on health care bill after conservatives meet with Trump
- CA gov on those supporting health bill: 'Their name is going to be mud'
- Give it to me straight, doc: Is Obamacare dying?
- First Read's Morning Clips: Waiting for CBO
- 14 People Share What's It's Really Like to Have An Ex Who Is Now Their In-Law
- The Internet Is Freaking Out About The Way This Chef Cuts Pizza
- China cautions U.S. against starting a trade war, casting itself as champion of globalization
- South Korea's upcoming presidential election could reshape its relations with North Korea — and the U.S.
- Former Taiwan president charged with leaking secret information from corruption inquiry
- Tensions across Asia present challenges to secretary of State's first visit
- For mainland Chinese students, Taiwan's universities are 'like paradise.' But there's a catch
- Taiwan demonstrates a newfound love of dogs with a law to stop killing them
- For many Chinese, President Xi Jinping may run the country, but his wife's the real star
- The U.S. is abdicating its role as the world’s climate leader. Can China take its place?
- Asian markets mixed, Korean peninsula tensions in focus; Nikkei down 1%
- Trump had 'very good' call with China's Xi, who urged a peaceful resolution of North Korea tension
- Trump's saber-rattling is North Korea's propaganda dream come true
- North Korea bars Malaysians from leaving the country, and Malaysia strikes back
- In India, farm crisis drives villagers to become migrant laborers
- US and North Korea set for 'head-on collision', China warns
- Kim Jong Nam's son appears for first time since his father's murder
- Kabul hospital attack leaves 30 dead
- THAAD missile defense system arrives in South Korea
- MH370: Here's what's been found from missing jetliner
- South Korea: Court upholds President Park's impeachment; protests erupt
- Hundreds of 'blacklisted' artists plan to sue South Korea