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Bob Irwin is ‘confused’ by granddaughter Bindi’s claims he ‘ignored’ since childhood

An Irwin family friend has said Bob Snr is ‘deeply upset’ by his granddaughter Bindi’s claims he’s ‘ignored’ her since she was a child – leading those close to him to fear the rift may have tragic consequences.

Amanda French, who co-authored Bob’s 2016 autobiography The Last Crocodile Hunter, said on Monday that family members have tried to shield Bob, 82, from ‘the full extent’ of what Bindi, 22, has said about him.

But he’s nonetheless devastated and feels confused as to ‘where this all came from’.

Ms French told Seven’s The Latest on Monday: ‘Naturally Bob’s quite upset about it, and to be perfectly honest we haven’t told him the full extent of the comments because we’re quite concerned about how he might take that.’

‘We’re quite concerned about how he might take that’: An Irwin family friend has said Bob Snr (pictured) is ‘deeply upset’ by his granddaughter Bindi’s claims he’s ‘ignored’ her since she was a child – leading those close to him to fear the rift may have tragic consequences

She also claimed Bindi’s scathing Facebook comment about her grandfather on Sunday was particularly unfair given how Bob has always maintained a dignified silence on the circumstances of his exit from Australia Zoo in 2008.

‘Bob’s always been quite neutral about the reason why he left the zoo and that’s something he’ll probably take to his grave,’ Ms French said. 

‘He has his own reasons between himself and Terri, but he’s always had the greatest respect for the kids; he’s got photos in his hallway of the kids.’

‘I guess he’s scratching his head today, wondering where this all came from.’ 

Inner circle: Amanda French (right), who co-authored Bob's 2016 autobiography The Last Crocodile Hunter, said on Monday that family members have tried to shield Bob, 82, from 'the full extent' of what Bindi, 22, has said about him, but he's nonetheless devastated and feels confused as to 'where this all came from'

Inner circle: Amanda French (right), who co-authored Bob’s 2016 autobiography The Last Crocodile Hunter, said on Monday that family members have tried to shield Bob, 82, from ‘the full extent’ of what Bindi, 22, has said about him, but he’s nonetheless devastated and feels confused as to ‘where this all came from’

It comes as Bindi face backlash from her own family for accusing her estranged grandfather of ‘ignoring’ her since her childhood. 

The wildlife warrior made headlines on Sunday after she posted a scathing Facebook comment about her strained relationship with Bob, claiming the ageing conservationist – who founded the family business Australia Zoo in 1970 – had ‘never said a single kind word’ to her and even ‘returned gifts’ she’d sent him.

While Bob has yet to publicly respond to the accusations, members of his inner circle fired back at Bindi on Monday. 

Bethany Wheeler, another granddaughter of Bob’s by marriage, declared on Facebook: ‘The time has come to speak up.’

‘I read some absolutely appalling comments by Bindi today! Feel free to share this post (I will make it public) as we have all been silent… for too long,’ she wrote.

Ms Wheeler, whose stepmother Mandy is Bob’s daughter, defended her grandfather’s character, calling him ‘one of the most genuinely beautiful humans on this planet’ who has ‘never spoken out or put down anybody’.

Feud: Bindi made headlines on Sunday after she posted a scathing Facebook comment about her strained relationship with Bob (pictured in October 2016), claiming the ageing conservationist - who founded the family business Australia Zoo in 1970 - had 'never said a single kind word' to her and even 'returned gifts' she'd sent him

Feud: Bindi made headlines on Sunday after she posted a scathing Facebook comment about her strained relationship with Bob (pictured in October 2016), claiming the ageing conservationist – who founded the family business Australia Zoo in 1970 – had ‘never said a single kind word’ to her and even ‘returned gifts’ she’d sent him

‘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 continued.

Ms Wheeler went on to thank Bob for showing ‘absolute love, respect, support and encouragement’ throughout her life.

‘My sisters and brothers will happily back me up when I say that Bob Irwin is a passive and beautiful human,’ she added.

Breaking her silence: Bethany Wheeler (second from left), another granddaughter of Bob's (left) by marriage, declared on Facebook: 'The time has come to speak up... We have all felt sick reading [this] for too long.' Pictured: Ms Wheeler at her wedding to husband Wayne

Breaking her silence: Bethany Wheeler (second from left), another granddaughter of Bob’s (left) by marriage, declared on Facebook: ‘The time has come to speak up… We have all felt sick reading [this] for too long.’ Pictured: Ms Wheeler at her wedding to husband Wayne

Meanwhile, Ms French accused Bindi of assassinating her grandfather’s character.

‘To read the sad comments online today has sickened me, and people who are closest to him,’ Ms French wrote on Facebook.

She described Bob as ‘kind, gentle, generous and extremely f**king introverted’. 

‘It is disappointing [for Bindi] to have written what was written. To call a man [what Bindi called him] who has not once retaliated, simply buried his head in the sand and got on with his life in a meaningful way is [unfair],’ she wrote.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Ms French called Bindi’s attack ‘heartbreaking’, and insisted Bob still loves his family, including his granddaughter.

‘He hasn’t seen you since you were 10. He’s done all he knows how to do and that is bury his head in the sand because that’s how he copes,’ she said, referring to how Bob withdrew from life after his son Steve’s death almost 15 years ago.

Steve Irwin died in September 2006 aged 44, after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a wildlife documentary in Batt Reef, Queensland.

Hitting back: Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Ms French called Bindi's attack 'heartbreaking', and insisted Bob still loves his family, including his granddaughter

Hitting back: Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Ms French called Bindi’s attack ‘heartbreaking’, and insisted Bob still loves his family, including his granddaughter 

‘This should be a private matter not written about on Facebook. I’m so disappointed to read this. It’s immature to write such words. We could turn this around and say he supported your family financially by handing you the keys to the very property he built with his bare hands,’ Ms French said, referring to how Bob handed ownership of Australia Zoo to his son and daughter-in-law Terri Irwin in 1992.

Meanwhile, Bob’s other granddaughter Toni Johnstone also claimed Steve would be ‘furious’ about his daughter’s accusations if he were alive today.

Commenting below Ms French’s Facebook post, Ms Johnstone wrote: ‘I honestly cannot believe how [Bindi] can [accuse Bob of these things] and then preach “let’s be kind to one another” in the same post.’

Lashing out: Bob's other granddaughter Toni Johnstone also claimed Steve would be 'furious' about his daughter's accusations if he were alive today

Lashing out: Bob’s other granddaughter Toni Johnstone also claimed Steve would be ‘furious’ about his daughter’s accusations if he were alive today

Ms Johnstone, whose mother Mandy is Steve’s sister, added: ‘Let’s hope [Bindi and Terri] remember who built the zoo that made them who they are today.’

‘Poppy [Bob] is the most caring, loving, beautiful soul and I am so incredibly lucky to have him as my grandfather,’ she continued.

Ms Johnstone went on to say she was ‘puzzled’ as to why Bindi would make such ‘horrible’ claims about Bob.

Confused: Ms Johnstone said she was 'puzzled' as to why Bindi would make such 'horrible' claims about Bob. Pictured from left: Robert, Terri and Bindi Irwin

Confused: Ms Johnstone said she was ‘puzzled’ as to why Bindi would make such ‘horrible’ claims about Bob. Pictured from left: Robert, Terri and Bindi Irwin 

The Irwin family feud was blasted wide open on Sunday when Bindi responded to a fan on Facebook who criticised her decision to exclude Bob from a post she’d written about ‘the fathers in [her] life’.

Bindi had uploaded sweet post celebrating Father’s Day in the USA, saying she was thankful for the ‘three most incredible fathers in her life’: her late father Steve Irwin, her husband Chandler Powell and her father-in-law Chris.

Torn: Bindi (pictured with husband Chandler Powell) spoke out about her strained relationship with her estranged grandfather Bob in a scathing Facebook comment on Sunday

Torn: Bindi (pictured with husband Chandler Powell) spoke out about her strained relationship with her estranged grandfather Bob in a scathing Facebook comment on Sunday

When one fan asked why she hadn’t included her grandfather – Steve’s father, Bob – Bindi gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship, claiming he’d ignored her since she was a ‘little girl’. 

The mother of one wrote: ‘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.’

She went on to claim that Bob had ‘returned gifts I’ve sent after he opened them’, and ignored any letters sent from her. 

Claims: When one fan asked why she hadn't included her grandfather Bob (right), Bindi (left) gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship. Pictured with mother Terri (second right) and brother Robert (second left) in 2007, one year after Steve's death

Claims: When one fan asked why she hadn’t included her grandfather Bob (right), Bindi (left) gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship. Pictured with mother Terri (second right) and brother Robert (second left) in 2007, one year after Steve’s death

Speaking out: Bindi wrote, 'I really wish that my entire family could spend time with Grace. Unfortunately, my grandfather has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family'

Speaking out: Bindi wrote, ‘I really wish that my entire family could spend time with Grace. Unfortunately, my grandfather has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family’

Thankful: Bindi had commented on a Father's Day post celebrating the 'three most incredible fathers in her life', her late father Steve, her husband Chandler and her father-in-law Chris

Thankful: Bindi had commented on a Father’s Day post celebrating the ‘three most incredible fathers in her life’, her late father Steve, her husband Chandler and her father-in-law Chris

‘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 continued.

‘He has never said a single kind word to me personally. It breaks my heart.’

She went on to say that her mother Terri still writes to him and sends birthday cards and Christmas gifts, but claims they have received no reply.

Strained: 'He has never said a single kind word to me personally. It breaks my heart,' Bindi claimed. Pictured: Bob holding a photograph of Bindi in 2008

Strained: ‘He has never said a single kind word to me personally. It breaks my heart,’ Bindi claimed. Pictured: Bob holding a photograph of Bindi in 2008

‘We have also been his financial support since 1992 when he retired from Australia Zoo, sending him funds every week,’ she added.

‘We built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his wellbeing. 

‘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.’

Bindi, who welcomed her daughter Grace in March, concluded by saying she had to ‘choose to care for her own mental health now’.

Bob previously spoke to the media two years ago about the family feud that left him estranged from his granddaughter.

In September 2019, he told the Courier Mail that he had not received a response since writing a letter to Bindi in which he wished her well after she announced her engagement to her now-husband Chandler in July. 

Support: 'We have also been his financial support since 1992 when he retired from Australia Zoo, sending him funds every week,' she added. Pictured: Bob Irwin and wife Judy in 2008

Support: ‘We have also been his financial support since 1992 when he retired from Australia Zoo, sending him funds every week,’ she added. Pictured: Bob Irwin and wife Judy in 2008

Helping hand: 'We built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his wellbeing,' said Bindi. Pictured: Bob Irwin's farm outside Kingaroy in 2008

Helping hand: ‘We built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his wellbeing,’ said Bindi. Pictured: Bob Irwin’s farm outside Kingaroy in 2008 


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