Kwak Ae-Sim is In-Ho’s mother and Jeong-Suk’s mother-in-law in Doctor Cha.
Jeong-Suk is married to famous surgeon, Seo In-Ho. She’s been married to him for twenty years now, playing the role of a housewife and a mother all too well.
However, recent events throw her life into a spiral and when her own loved ones can’t move forward to save her, she had a life-changing realization and decides to pursue the dreams she had to give up on to take care of her family.
Her family, meanwhile, offers little to no appreciation for the hard work she has poured into helping them with everyday tasks and making their lives easier.
Apart from an occassionally supportive elder son Jung-Min, she has a younger daughter I-Rang, who demands her attention in the face of a busy new lifestyle, a husband who’s cheating on her with his colleague, and a mother-in-law who treats her like she’s not even part of the family.
Kwak Ae-Sim is an aged woman but one wouldn’t be immediately on to that fact, given how much work she’s gotten done on her face, on top of living a lavish life that her surgeon son can afford.
She splurges on clothes, food, cars, shopping, among other things without much thought. Meanwhile, when her daughter-in-law begins to shop for herself at the same prices as her, she thinks it is an effect of her recent life-threatening trauma.
She regularly goes to get some work done to sustain her young looks, prefers her nutritional juice which she always expects to be made for her by her daughter-in-law. She’s very clever and unethical when it comes to money.
A vicious mother-in-law
Kwak Ae-Sim simply doesn’t believe in her daughter-in-law. She takes her relentless work as a house maker for granted, ignores her hard work and selfless attitude when caring about her family, and also takes her to be a dimwit when in reality Jeong-Suk was always brighter than In-Ho in at studies.
Her coldest self, however, surfaces when Jeong-Suk suffers a life-threatening liver failure and is in dire need of a liver transplant. All she needs is a part of the organ from someone who matches her blood type. In-Ho is the perfect match but more than his hesitation, it’s Ae-Sim’s loud and cruel drama that shows greatest reluctance to get the operation done.
She throws a fit and fakes fainting at the prospect of letting her son donate part of his liver and go through the surgery, even if it saves Jeong-Suk’s life. She keeps trying to prevent him from doing that, and finally manages to pull him away from the consent form.
When Jeong-Suk announces her plans to continue her medical residency that she couldn’t finish due to family and marriage commitments, Kwak Ae-Sim tacitly discourages her from doing so, but her daughter-in-law doesn’t listen.
A secret affair
The latest development regarding Kwak Ae-Sim is her affair with Professor Park that she’s kept a secret from everyone. However, Jeong-Suk’s mother has already happened to learn of this affair.
From the way Ae-Sim and Professor Park talk, it’s evident that there’s real chemistry between the two and also a history, where they were into each other but got married to others because they couldn’t go against their parents.
When she learns from Professor Park that he’s investing in a new hospital, she goes to get a hefty loan, but the house is under Jeong-Suk’s name so she can’t get it approved yet. However, she won’t be resting still without working out some scheme to get the bag.
Ae-Sim also learns after a checkup that she has thyroid cancer, but since the prognosis is good and the treatment is easy, she has nothing to worry about. Despite her best attempts at garnering more attention, others in the family are bit too medically educated to be worried.
Also Read: Jeong-Suk: Doctor Cha character explained