Steve Irwin's Never-Before-Seen Letter To Father Bob Published, As Daughter Bindi Trashes Grandfather For Icing Her Out
A recently unearthed letter from late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin to his father, Bob Irwin, reveals just how tragic the family's fallout really is.
Earlier this month, Steve's 22-year-old daughter – Bindi Irwin – made several damning claims against her grandfather, saying he had been estranged from her and her family for years.
Given what Steve's handwritten note says, the family-oriented wildlife lover would likely be absolutely gutted to know there is even a drop of bad blood between his parents and his offspring.
Bob discovered his son's emotional letter while he was researching for his memoir, and it was obtained by an Australian news website. Steve wrote it 12 years before his death.
"Dear Dad & Mom," the note began. "Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a 'Bloke's Life,' is that it takes over 30 years to realize how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and most importantly my 'HAPPINESS.'"
"At 32 I am finally starting to figure it out, in good times and in bad – you were there; you're [sic] strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded," he went on. "My Love for you is my strength!"
"For the rest of my life I will reflect on the unbelievably GREAT times we've shared and will continue to share. You're my best friends!" he concluded, signing off, "Thank you Steve."
It was after a fan asked why her paternal grandfather was not included in the tribute that the new mother made the claims that Bob "has returned gifts I've sent him after he opened them, he has ignored my correspondence and from the time I was a little girl he has ignored me, preferring to spend time doing anything else rather than being with me."
She added, "He has never said a single kind word to me personally."
Bindi explained that even though the situation "breaks [her] heart," she ultimately knows "it is not healthy to engage in an abusive relationship."
She also claimed that her mother, Terri Irwin, "still writes to [Bob] and sends birthday and Christmas gifts to him with no response."
According to Bindi, the Irwins have financially supported Bob since 1992, "when he retired from Australia Zoo." She says they send him money weekly and even "built him a house on a beautiful property."
Despite her heartbreak and pain, Bindi said she and her family would "always do our best to ensure his well-being" and that she wanted "Bob's happiness in life" but could not fall victim to his alleged behavior any longer.
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The subsequent media coverage – or perhaps the situation itself – had a strong impact on Bindi, as she quit social media days later.
Following her claims, another member of the Irwin family named Bethany Wheeler rushed to Bob's defense by angrily disputing Bindi's statements in a Facebook post of her own.
Wheeler explained that she is the "the granddaughter of Bob Irwin via marriage of my father and my Stepmother Mandy as a very young child" and called Bob "the most genuinely beautiful human on this planet and has NEVER spoken out or put down anybody! He is a man who sits silently and battles his demons alone, in what is great sadness. He doesn't retaliate, only prays for his grandchildren's safety and good lives."
She added that her siblings would "happily back me up when I say that Bob Irwin is a passive and beautiful human and these lies need to stop."
Bob's biographer, Amanda French, also weighed in on the matter, saying he was "devastated" when he heard Bindi's accusations.
As RadarOnline.com has previously reported, Bob's been on the outs with his family since battling Terri over how the Australia Zoo – founded by Bob and Steve – should be run.
Amanda confirmed that was the case in an appearance on Brisbane radio show Stav, Abby and Matt but said Bob had gone over and beyond to maintain "a very neutral position about [resigning], even when he published his autobiography," because he didn't want the zoo to suffer any negative consequences.
Interestingly enough, Amanda also confirmed that Bob had indeed returned gifts sent to him from the family but said they were only ever from Terri, not the kids, and that they were very "strange."
"I've been there when he's received gifts, and it was a shower cap," she said. "Really strange thing to send a man. To me, it's a passive aggressive thing to do. That's my perspective. After a while of that, Bob returned one of the gifts."
Regarding Bindi's claim that she and her family have financially supported Bob for nearly three decades, Amanda argued, "He gave them that zoo. ... There was always an agreement that he would be on a pension and looked after."
She reminded everyone that the zoo was actually given to Steve and Terri as a wedding present.
Amanda went on to say that Bob cannot visit his son's burial site, which is located inside the zoo, and that many staff members have left the zoo while it's been under Terri's management, allegedly citing similar issues to Bob.
She also claimed that Bob has previously tried to get in contact with his grandchildren but has always been unsure about whether they receive his letters. She added that he finds it difficult to have a relationship with them that doesn't involve Terri.