Park has fired eight presidential secretaries and nominated three new top Cabinet officials including the prime minister in an effort to regain public confidence.
Kim Byong-joon, a nominee for South Korea's Prime Minister, speaks during a news conference, November 3, 2016, in Seoul, South Korea.
"Since I arrived in the presidential office, I've lived a lonely life", said a solemn Park, dressed in a brown suit reminiscent of a hair shirt, at times on the verge of tears. "And it breaks my heart to cause this much pain to the people of Korea", Park said.
Park, however, adamantly denied rumors that she was controlled by a religious cult linked to Choi and that a shamanistic ritual took place at the Blue House.
Reacting to her address, the main opposition Democratic Party insisted her changes had been cosmetic and warned that it would begin a campaign for her ouster unless further steps were taken. She questioned her leadership and said she was willing to be investigated and held responsible if found at fault. "I had no one nearby to help me with personal matters, so I turned to Choi Soon-sil for help", she said.
Park said she lowered her guard to Choi because Choi befriended her during painful times in the past.
But her friend, Jeong Hye-woon, although agreeing that Park appeared like a fragile "scarecrow", did not think that gender played much of a role.
In the brief televised address, the 64-year-old president said her "heart is breaking" because of the scandal. Citing grief over her failures, including letting her decades-long friendship get the best of her objectivity, Park vowed a life of solitude. While acknowledging her ties to Choi last week, Park said Choi helped her "when I had difficulties" in the past.
Choi and a former presidential senior secretary were arrested over claims they pressured companies into making large donations to two foundations and that Choi misused some of the funds.
Thousands of protestors gathered in the streets of Seoul on Saturday night to demand that Park step down.
A South Korean court has approved an arrest warrant for a longtime friend of President Park Geun-hye.
Prosecutors allegedly plan to seek an arrest warrant on Friday for Ahn Jong-beom, former senior presidential secretary on policy coordination suspected of helping Choi pressure conglomerates into donating tens of millions of U.S. dollars to two nonprofit foundations that Choi actually controls.
As the controversy unfolds, here are the facts to stay abreast of the latest developments in what could be South Korea's biggest political scandal in recent times.
The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday granted an arrest warrant for Choi that allows authorities to continue to hold her in custody for a maximum 20 days before they have to formally charge or release her.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses the nation at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, Nov. 4, 2016.
Her comments come as calls for her to resign or be directly investigated rise.
"The president now comes right into a dead end", party chief Choo Mi-ae told a televised conference. He says there are different interpretations of a constitution provision that grants sitting presidents immunity from criminal lawsuits. "All citizens, including the President, are equal before the law", he continued, before adding, "Because this is a head of state, we need to exercise caution in terms of the procedures and methods".
If Park were investigated while in office, it would be unprecedented in South Korean history.