Lisa Ling, the journalist and host of the documentary series This Is Life on CNN, is married to husband Paul Song.
Song is an oncologist and serves as the chief medical officer of a biotech company that specializes in developing cancer therapies. Song and Ling tied the knot in 2007 and have two children.
Song is supportive of his wife’s This Is Life program. He described it on his Facebook page in late 2020 as “must-watch TV.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ling & Song Sang ‘I Got You Babe’ At Their Wedding Reception, Which Had More Than 500 Guests
Ling and Song were introduced through a mutual friend in 2006 when Ling was 32 and Song was 40. According to People, Song asked Ling to marry him during the holiday season in late 2006 after less than a year of dating. Song even arranged for their family members to fly to Chicago to be present for the proposal.
The couple went big for the May 2007 nuptials, which took place at Union Station in Los Angeles and included 525 guests. According to Empire Entertainment, the company that organized the wedding, the ceremony was designed to pay homage to Ling and Song’s Asian backgrounds. The company described the reception on its website:
Empire had designed and installed a grand, Asian-themed environment in red, black and gold. In the center of the room, long aircraft cables suspended between tall lighting towers suspended a series of large red lanterns across the dance floor. Underneath these lanterns were banks of red and black ottomans, surrounded by a sea of cabaret tables and high tops with matching linens and florals rounded out the room. Throughout the venue, food was served by four Asian restaurants set up in themed stations – Japanese Sushi, Korean Barbecue, Chinese dim sum and dumplings. Like the rest of the room, all food stations were designed in red, gold and black.
Ling wore a red dress designed by Vivienne Tam, People reported, and both of her parents escorted her down the aisle. InStyle reported that on the invitation, Ling and Song encouraged their guests to wear “Asian chic” outfits. The outlet added that the ushers wore uniforms inspired by the Cobra Kai outfits from The Karate Kid and that Song wore a “traditional Korean hanbok for the reception.”
Song and Ling were part of the entertainment at the reception. The couple sang Sonny and Cher’s hit “I Got You, Babe” after the toasts.
2. Song & Ling Are the Proud Parents of 2 Young Girls But Opened Up About the Struggles That Preceded Parenthood
Ling opened up about her experiences with pregnancy and birth in an essay for CNN. She explained that after she and Song began trying to have children, she suffered two miscarriages and called those events “demoralizing.”
During an interview with Marie Claire in 2011, Song reflected on the first miscarriage as a critical moment in their relationship. He and Ling explained that due to their respective work schedules, they had not been prioritizing each other and the marriage had become strained. Song said, “As a physician, I know miscarriage is common. But I should have taken my doctor hat off and been there for her as a husband.” Ling and Song told the magazine that their marriage improved after they agreed to participate in therapy and commit to more quality time together.
Ling had to have a c-section when Jett was born because the umbilical cord was wrapped around her first daughter’s neck. Ling decided to schedule a c-section for her second daughter but said she later regretted that decision. She wrote in the essay that she developed an infection after the birth and the incision took about a month to heal.
3. Song’s Mother Was a Korean War Refugee & He Grew Up in New Jersey
Paul Yongjin Song was born in July 1965 and raised in New Jersey. He explained in a Medium post that his mother arrived in the United States in 1951 on a “merchant marine ship as a refugee of the Korean War.” Song said his mother went on to earn a master’s degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College, worked for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and served as the “educational director of the Newark, NJ Head Start program” for more than 20 years.
In the aforementioned Medium post, Song explained that his mother made it a priority to teach him and his sister to be accepting of all people regardless of skin color. He added that he and Ling are raising their daughters the same way:
Growing up in Northern New Jersey during the early 1970’s, my sister and I experienced our share of racial taunts as the only Asian kids in our entire elementary school, and I certainly got into my share of fights. My best friend was Chris, who, along with his sister, were the only African American kids in our school. Despite the racial taunts, neither Chris nor I ever viewed each other as my “Black” or “Asian” friend. Remarkably, as youngsters, we were truly able to look beyond the color of our skin…
As the parents of two young beautiful girls, my wife and I feel an immense responsibility to expose our children to racial and economic diversity and to teach them to love all of their neighbors equally regardless of the color of their skin or their religion. I believe that if we can expose our children to racial diversity from a very early age, before prejudices take root, just as my mom did for my sister and me, we can help to build a much less racially biased world.
Song recently shared throwback photos of his father on social media, who was a military veteran. Song’s father passed away from cancer in 2010. According to his Huffington Post bio, Song is also the grandson of “Sang Don Kim, the very first popularly elected Mayor of Seoul, South Korea.
4. Song Specializes in Radiation Oncology & Devotes Most of His Time to Medical Research
Song moved to the Midwest after graduating from high school. He attended the University of Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 1987, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Song went on to earn his medical degree from George Washington University in 1991. According to his Huffington Post bio, Song returned to Chicago for his residency program and focused on radiation oncology. He also completed a “brachytherapy fellowship at the Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France.”
Song’s current medical license was issued in 2007 and will need to be renewed in July 2022, according to the Medical Board of California online records. Song is certified by the American Board of Radiology. He lists radiation oncology as his primary area of practice. Song’s profile also notes that in addition to English, he also speaks Korean and Spanish.
Song’s profile notes that he treats patients up to 10 hours per week and does research for up to 30 hours per week. That research takes place at NKMax America, a biotech company in Santa Ana, California. According to its website, the company’s mission “is to improve patient outcomes in cancer, autoimmune disease and neurodegeneration by developing safe and effective cellular therapies that leverage the power of a patient’s immune system.” Song serves as the company’s Chief Medical Officer and Vice Chairman.
5. Song & Ling Built an Eco-Friendly Home in Santa Monica
Song and Ling are raising their two daughters in Santa Monica, California. The couple purchased the property in 2008 for $2.675 million, according to a search of online records. But Song and Ling lived in a small studio together while they tore down the existing structure and rebuilt a house of their own design, People reported.
Ling told People in 2016 that they set out to build an environmentally-friendly, modern mid-century house. According to The Chalkboard Mag, the developer recycled more than “60 tons of wood, concrete, drywall and metal” from the original structure.
Song and Ling’s house has four bedrooms, six bathrooms and more than 4,300 square feet of living space. The Los Angeles Times profiled the home once it was complete and those pictures can be seen here.
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