More than 84 million people have seen the video on the BBC's website alone, and it's inspired parodies, memes, and maybe a little bit of criticism. (You can see the original video at the end of this article.)
The family basically went into hiding afterward, leaving the Internet to speculate and laugh. But now, Professor Robert Kelly of South Korea's Pusan National University and his wife, Kim Jung-A, have now broken their silence.
Speaking with Alastair Gale of The Wall Street Journal, Kelly and Kim explained that the video that made their little family famous came at the end of a long day of interviews.
Kim and and the couple's two small children were sitting in the next room, where they'd ordered pizza and were watching the interview on their television. Kim was using her phone to record the interview so they'd have a copy.
Unfortunately, Kelly had neglected to lock the door when he went to his home office to do yet another international interview about the impeachment of the South Korean president. Gale provides the context:
As the interview began, the couple's 4-year-old daughter Marion jumped up and down at the sight of her father on the screen. Perhaps recognizing his location, a room at the end of the hallway, she wandered off to find him. She was in high spirits after enjoying her birthday party earlier that day at kindergarten, her father says.
The couple's 8-month-old son, James, followed behind his sister in his baby-walker, as he often does. Ms. Kim continued to concentrate on the screen, filming her husband.
Within seconds, Marion made the entrance that made their family famous, popping joyfully and jubilantly into the middle of the internationally televised interview--vivid in a yellow sweater.
"She was in a hippity-hoppity mood that day because of the school party," her father explained. He said he tried to play off her appearance as nonchalantly as possible, thinking that perhaps the BBC producers would zoom in on him and crop his daughter out of the video.
No such luck. In came James, who was followed then--with a look of a alarm--by Kim.
She explained that the television broadcast was on a few seconds' delay, so she didn't realize what was happening at first. Then, she explained, she sprinted across their home, sliding in her socks across the hardwood floor and trying (unsuccessfully) to stay out of the camera frame.
Did this just end my career?
Kelly, an American who earned his Ph.D. in political science and other degrees in Ohio, said he was concerned at first that the interview chaos might lead to the end of his career as a broadcast expert. When the BBC asked if it could put the video clip on the Internet, he and Kim demurred at first, "feeling uncomfortable that people might laugh at their children," the Journal said.
But after they were convinced to go ahead, the video blew up. So many people tried to reach them and comment that they had to shut off their phones and social media accounts.
Thus, they missed a bit of the initial controversy over the video, including backlash against some people's assumption that Kim was the nanny to Kelly's children, not their mother.
But now they're just trying to ride out the media storm, which is apparently even more intense with the Korean press, and get back to normal.
"I made this minor mistake that turned my family into YouTube stars," said Kelly, who insists the whole thing is his fault for forgetting to lock his office door. "It's pretty ridiculous."
Here's the original video in case you didn't see it: