Fatherhood, as they say, changes a person. For these celebrity dads, being a father has been one of their most treasured roles.
On top of juggling their busy schedules and being subjected to scrutiny and criticism, here’s how they’ve tried to be the best dads that they can be:
John Lloyd Cruz
It was a shock to most fans when John Lloyd announced that he’d take an indefinite hiatus from showbiz in 2017. At that time, he was one of the most in-demand actors with several top-grossing projects under his belt.
But John Lloyd said that it was the best decision, especially with the arrival of his son Elias in 2018. “I don’t regret anything at all,” he would later tell ABS-CBN News.
“It was my one ticket to amassing this amount of knowledge and the amount of experience I have now. It provided me with so much more than I imagined. I just wanted a child pero hindi ko alam na all the learnings and discoveries na napakaloob doon, ‘yun pala ‘yung bubuhay sa’yo. ‘Yun pala ‘yung magtatawid sa’yo,” he said. (I just wanted a child but I didn’t know that all the learnings and discoveries that come with it will save you.)
The 37-year-old actor said that being a father changed him for the better. “I’ve never been as humbled my whole life. Everyday is a new learning experience. Not just about being a father to Elias, but for myself also.”
He added that having Elias was the turning point of his life. “I had questions that couldn’t be answered for a long time. I didn’t realize that being a father can answer so much buried questions, and napaka-simple lang pala ‘yung sagot (and the answer is just so simple.),” John Lloyd said.
For Ian, being a father means accepting your children for whoever they are. He said in a Magandang Buhay episode that he fully embraced and supported his daughter, Dids, when she came out as a lesbian.
“Just don’t ever be apologetic about it, not even to me, you can be whoever you want to be and you have my full support,” he said.
Ian added that he doesn’t want his daughter to feel like she has anything to be sorry for. “Nakakapanghinayang lang kasi isa lang buhay natin tapos kapag nabuhay ka, parang apologetic ka pa, nahihiya ka sa sarili mo, di mo mailabas ang pagkatao mo. What a waste of life,” he said.
(It’s a shame that we only have one life to live and you’re apologetic and shy of who you are, or you can’t even express yourself. What a waste of life.)
Ice revealed that it wasn’t easy to ease into the role of stepfather. In an episode with Magandang Buhay,the singer opened up about how he established his relationship with Amara, Liza Diño’s daughter from a previous relationship.
“We had to find ways and things that we had in common – music or playstation. Hindi ko pwedeng ipilit ‘yung mga activities na hindi talaga ako happy (I can’t force to do activities that I’m not happy with) because that means I’m pretending and I don’t want to pretend,” he began.
He also got real in saying that it wasn’t just good feelings all throughout. “Sa utak natin, ang daling sabihin na mamahalin ko ‘to nang buong-buo, lahat gagawin ko pero minsan, ang puso natin, delayed ‘yan. May times na nagseselos ako,” he said.
(In our minds, it’s so easy to say that we’ll love them wholeheartedly and that we’ll do everything for them. But it takes time for our hearts to catch up. There were times that I felt jealous.)
Ice said he even turned to Google to ask if it was normal and valid for stepfathers like him to feel this way. “I wanted to make sure that it’s not just me who’s feeling it. Gusto ko malaman na hindi pala ako nag-iisa. Maraming step-dads out there na going through the same thing. (I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, other step dads are also going through the same thing.)”
Liza, Ice’s wife, said she was also a witness to how Ice and Amara’s relationship grew. “This journey was seven years in the making… It wasn’t easy – trust, respect, love… these are earned, not demanded,” she said.
Ryan has always been vocal about his love for his family. On Instagram, Ryan started the hashtag #StoriesForLucho, a virtual journal for his son, where he pens heartfelt messages and shares lessons for Lucho to read later on.
In one of his #StoriesForLucho posts, Ryan told his son to “never underestimate the power of family.” “It’s not about doing your best when everything goes right, it’s being your best when everything goes wrong… I found the strongest pillar I could lean on, the love of your mother, Judy Ann,” he wrote.
He also reminded Lucho to be generous with himself. “Don’t let anyone ever make you feel guilty about spending time on stuff that makes you happy. You will find that the quality of love that you give, gets so much better,” Ryan said.
While Inigo is now based in the Philippines, Piolo reminisced on Inigo’s early years, when they had to live apart.
“I had Inigo at a young age. My career was just getting started,” he told Modern Parenting. And while Inigo grew up in the US with his mom, Piolo made sure to be as involved as he could be with his son’s life. “We’d talk on the phone a lot, and when I’d visit, we’d always hang-out and play video games,” he said.
Now that Inigo is fully part of the Philippines entertainment industry, Piolo is unapologetically his son’s no. 1 fan. “I’m really happy at the way things have turned out, how he’s carving his own path. Inigo composes his own songs, sings, and dances so, so well.”
He added that he’s proud of how hardworking Inigo is. “He understands that talent can only get you so far. Inigo’s always trying to challenge himself and try new things – I really admire that about him,” Piolo said.
JUAN MIGUEL SALVADOR
While their relationship is far from perfect, Juan Miguel is happy to have finally reconcile with his daughter Janella. “I know I’ve been absent for years, especially the time when it mattered most,” he said in a Magandang Buhay episode.
“Ang daming special moments na I wasn’t there for you (I missed a lot of special moments),” he told Janella. “I just want you to know that I would like for you to think of me as the most important man in your life.”
Janella said that she’s ready to rebuild her relationship with her dad. “I never held a grudge growing up, all I had for you was love. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know my dad,” she said.
Even if his daughter, Keira, is in the United States with her mother, Paolo says they still have a strong bond. In his Instagram, he often shares screenshots from their video calls and moments together.
Paolo said that their secret is always being open each other. “Luckily, my daughter is a bright kid. Wala nang problema (It’s not a problem),”he told Pep, explaining that his daughter understands that he is gay.
“Anak ko siya tapos magtago ako?” he said. (She’s my daughter, why would I hide myself from her?)