Bindi Irwin has opened up about her “abusive relationship” with her estranged grandfather Bob Irwin, saying he has “no interest” in spending time with her or her family.
The daughter of the late Steve Irwin made the painful revelation in a Facebook comment on Sunday, after she wrote a touching tribute to her father Steve, husband Chandler and father-in-law Chris to mark Father’s Day in the US.
When a fan asked about her grandfather, the 22-year-old did not hold back in her response.
“I really wish that my entire family could spend time with Grace,” she began. “Unfortunately my grandfather Bob has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family.
“Publicly he continues to claim that he wants to spend time with us while privately my entire life has been psychological abuse from him.”
She went on to say that he’s returned gifts and ignored letters she’s sent him over the years, simply stating, “from the time I was a little girl he has ignored me”.
“He has never said a single kind word to me personally. It breaks my heart but it is not healthy to engage in an abusive relationship.
“My mum still writes to him and sends birthday and Christmas gifts to him with no response. We have also been his financial support since 1992 when he retired from Australia Zoo, sending him funds every week. We built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his well-being.
“I want Bob’s happiness in life but I cannot be victim to his mental abuse anymore. I hope everyone remembers to be kind to one another but most of all care for your own mental health. I have struggled with this relationship my entire life and it brings me enormous pain. I have to choose to care for my own mental health now.”
Bob left Australia Zoo in 2008, just 18 months after the death of his son, Steve. He later confirmed he left because of tension over the direction Australia Zoo was taking, believing it had become too commercialised. He told ABC’s Australian Story that it was in everyone’s best interest that he step away from the park he first opened in 1970.
He has reportedly not spoken to his daughter-in-law Terri Irwin, or his grandchildren Bindi and Robert since he left the zoo.
Unfortunately, family estrangement is a heartbreaking issue affecting countless families across the world, leaving many people feeling confused and fairly clueless over how to mend the rift.
No matter your age or circumstances, estrangement can be extremely difficult to deal with, with many people left struggling with feelings of abandonment and loneliness after being coldly cut off by close friends or relatives.
Whatever the reasons for the breakdown in a relationship, it is important to deal with your pain and try to communicate your feelings to those around you. However, the subject often triggers debate over how best to tackle the uncomfortable issue, with many believing that estrangement can never be justified, while others argue that more could be done by all sides to avoid the hurtful outcome.