The revelation was made during the father and daughter's guesting in ABS-CBN's morning talk show Magandang Buhay on March 4, 2020. Though usually very mum about his family life, Ian candidly shared a moment he had with his only daughter two years ago.
The 45-year-old says that Deirdre, whom he fondly calls "Dids," was close to tears when the 16-year-old approached him one day.
"Dumating siya, medyo teary-eyed, sabi niya, 'Daddy, I'll tell you something.' Sabi ko, 'What? Sit down.'
"Sabi niya, 'I like girls.'
"Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Me also, I like girls.'
"Tapos nagtataka siya. 'It's okay?'
"'Yes. Just don't ever be apologetic about it, not even to me.'
"'You can be whoever you want to be. And I have full support.'"
Ian said his daughter was surprised at how cool he was about it.
"Umatras yung luha niya kasi natawa siya. Sabi niya, 'You know??'
"Sabi ko, 'Oo naman, bata ka pa ang macho mo na," he quipped as they both laughed about it.
Asked how she felt at the time she was going to confess to her father, Deirdre said she was teary-eyed because "Noong time na 'yon I didn't tell anybody pa. Parang I wasn't super open. It felt weird since we're very close..."
Ian once described Deirdre as his mini-me, having the same likes and hobbies as him. In a 2017 interview with YES! magazine, he said, "She's so much like me, sa ugali at sa mga hilig. She plays the piano and the guitar. So, 'pag may piano at guitar, kunwari pumunta siya sa piano, kunin ko yung guitar. Magja-jam kami."
Ian said he wants his daughter to be free and proud of who she is.
"Nakakapanghinayang lang, isa lang ang buhay natin. Tapos apologetic ka pa, nahihiya ka sa sarili mo, hindi mo mailabas ang pagkatao mo. What a waste of life!"
Between him and his wife Pam Gallardo, an industrial engineer, it was Ian who first learned about Deirdre's sexuality.
"Hindi pa niya [Pam] alam. Hindi ko pa pwedeng sabihin kasi hinihilot ko pa, hindi ko alam ang magiging reaction niya," recalls Ian. He wanted to test the waters first before telling his wife about Deirdre's admission.
"Eventually, sabi ko sa kanya, 'Paano 'pag nagka-boyfriend si Dids, okay lang?' Sabi niya, 'Okay lang.'
"'Paano 'pag nagka-girlfriend siya, okay lang?' Sabi niya, 'Kung saan siya masaya, masaya ako.'
"She has the full support of the whole family."
Ian and Pam, who have been married since 1997, also have two sons, Draco, 20, and Duccio, 12.
Watch Ian and Deirdre's interview below: