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Bindi Irwin opens up about her grandfather abandoning her

Irwin hasn’t talked to her grandfather in years, and now she’s talking about what exactly happened to cause the family rift.

The late Steve Irwin’s dad, Bob Irwin (namesake of Bindi’s younger brother Bob) has been estranged from the rest of the family for years — a situation that went from bad to worse when he quit his job at the Australia Zoo in 2008, with him telling reporters then that he “was becoming a disrupting influence, not that I meant to be.”

At the time, Terri Irwin — Steve’s widow and Bindi’s mom — made a point of saying publicly that she loved Bob but that he was struggling with his grief for his only son and his first wife. They have barely spoken since.

More: Bindi Irwin’s latest tribute to her father leaves fans sobbing

Now Bindi is breaking her silence on the lack of relationship with her grandfather. She addressed the family rift at the 5th annual AACTA Awards Wednesday night.

“Everyone deals with grief differently,” she told the Daily Mail Australia. “When my dad passed away, he chose to distance himself from everything that Dad loved the most.

“At the moment we’re really just respecting his wishes, because he hasn’t had anything to do with us for a long time and he decided his own path. That’s important, so good for him.”

More: Bindi Irwin shares inspiring tribute to honor her deceased dad (PHOTO)

But it sounds like Bob isn’t just isolating himself — he has done some things that are just downright cruel.

“There was one year where we sent birthday presents to him and he opened them up and he sent them back,” she recalled. “With things like that you realize that people need to deal with grief how they need to deal with grief, and as long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or hurt those around you then that’s the way to go.”

Bob acknowledged the feud during Bindi’s winning stint on Dancing with the Stars.

“It’s sad but it’s just the way things are,” he told the Herald Sun (via the Daily Mail). When asked if Steve would want the family to reunite, he responded cynically, “Yes, he would probably, but life’s a bitch sometimes.”

More: Bindi Irwin is asked for something ridiculous to get her DWTS cash

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