Bindi Irwin Details ‘Devastating’ Rift With Her Grandfather: ‘It Brings Me Enormous Pain’
On Father's Day 2021, Bindi Irwin took a moment on social media to spotlight three important dads in her life: Her father-in-law, her husband (who is dad to the couple's three-month-old daughter, Grace) and, of course, her father, the late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin.
"My dad taught me the importance of strength when standing up for what I believe in and to have empathy for all living beings," she writes. "My husband amazes me every day with his kind and steadfast heart; his love for our daughter is infinite. My father-in-law works tirelessly for his family and is always there with a word of encouragement. These extraordinary men inspire me and I love them so very much."
But there's one father figure in Irwin's life who is notably absent from her post. That is her paternal grandfather, Bob Irwin, a lifelong animal conservationist who founded the Australia Zoo. When one Facebook user replied to Irwin's post to ask why she omitted Bob from her list of inspirational fathers, she explained some details about a painful family rift.
In her since-deleted reply, Irwin revealed that Bob has yet to meet her infant daughter. "I really wish that my entire family could spend time with Grace. Unfortunately my grandfather Bob has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family," Irwin said (quote via the West Australian. "It breaks my heart."
Irwin also stated that her family has financially supported Bob ever since his retirement from the zoo, explaining that, "we built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his well-being."
In the months following Steve Irwin's death in 2006, rumors flew of a falling-out between the celebrated Wildlife Warrior's father and wife, Terri Irwin. Those reports were never confirmed, and Terri denied any bad feelings between the family members during an appearance on Australian talk show Today Tonight, per local news channel 7News. In her reply on Facebook, the younger Irwin also claimed that her mom "still writes to [Bob] and sends birthday and Christmas gifts to him with no response," according to a screenshot of the deleted comment posted to MSN.
While the specifics remain murky, Irwin summed up her statement about her grandfather by explaining that she has had to prioritize her own emotional well-being. "I hope everyone remembers to be kind to one another but most of all care for your own mental health," she reflected.
"I have struggled with this relationship my entire life and it brings me enormous pain," added Irwin. "I have to choose to care for my own mental health now."
On Monday (June 21), just a couple days after sharing her thoughts on Father's Day and her relationship with her grandfather, Irwin explained that she plans to take a break from social media.
"I feel tremendously grateful to share our life and conservation work with you, but I need some time to focus on the happiness that is my family (both human and animal)," she says, also thanking fans who'd gotten in touch with her to share their own stories surrounding the importance of prioritizing mental health.