Bob Irwin’s close friend Amanda French, who co-wrote his Irwin’s autobiography The Last Crocodile Hunter has dropped some truth bombs in a revealing radio interview.
Speaking to Brisbane’s Stav, Abby and Matt, Amanda expressed her sadness over the comments that Bindi Irwin had made about her grandfather this week, saying that he had ‘psychologically abused’ her.
Amanda confirmed that there has been a rift in the family for quite some time now, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
“Bob resigned from Australia Zoo in 2008 and hasn’t seen the kids since that time. It’s a surprise with what Bindi came out and said. There were some pretty weighty terms that were thrown around, psychological abuse and all that stuff. You’d have to have some pretty big evidence to back that. It’s a pretty big call to make,” she said.
As to what happened between Bob and Australia Zoo, Amanda says he will take it to his grave, but has alluded to how management changed when Steve passed away. “He’s maintained a very neutral position about it [resigning] even when he published his autobiography.
“The reason why he did that is because he knew there would be consequences for Australia Zoo. He didn’t see eye-to-eye on issues to do with Australia Zoo at the time and some of the animals.”
Interestingly, Amanda did confirm that Bob had returned gifts sent from the family, which is something that Bindi said, but admitted that they were only ever sent from Terri, not the kids, and that they were incredibly “strange”.
“I’ve been there when he’s received gifts, and it was a shower cap. 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.”
One trigger point for Amanda was Bindi’s comments about how her family has maintained financially supporting Bob, despite having no relationship with him.
“He gave them that zoo,” Amanda said, reminding everyone that it was gifted to Steve and Terri when they got married. “There was always an agreement that he would be on a pension and looked after.”
Quite horribly, the worst part for Bob in Amanda’s eyes is the fact that his son, Steve’s burial site is on the zoo, somewhere he cannot go to visit.
“It’s hard for him not to be able to return to his son’s resting place as you can understand. He hasn’t been back to Australia Zoo since the wildlife hospital was launched in 2008. It was supposed to be dedicated to Bob and his late wife Lynne, because that was where Lynne did the bulk of her wildlife work.
“They retracted Bob’s invitation to attend that launch and he turned up anyway. I organised that event and I remember him turning up on the day and sitting in the audience looking very upset.”
Amanda is obviously quite close to the family, and maintains that Bob is a good person. In fact, she revealed that many staff members have left the zoo while it has been under Terri’s management with similar issues to what Bob had.
“When I went back to write the book and spoke to those key people who worked with Bob and Steve, there was still some bad blood there with how they were treated. They adored them [Bob and Steve], and never had a boss like them again.”
While writing the book, she admits that Bob tried to send his grandchildren letters, but were unsure whether or not they were receiving them because they went through so many people at the zoo, “so we decided to close off the book with a message to his grandkids”.
She notes that it would be hard for Bob to get in contact with his grandchildren without Terri being involved.
Bindi Irwin made the unsettling allegations against her grandfather, Bob Irwin in her Father’s Day post (Father’s Day outside of Australia was June 20), dedicated to her own father, her husband, Chandler Powell, and her father-in-law. Irwin was asked why she left Bob out of the tribute, with the 22-year-old new mum not holding back with her response.
“Unfortunately my grandfather Bob has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family,” she wrote, according to 7News.
“He 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,” Bindi wrote.
“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.
“I hope everyone remembers to be kind to one another but most of all care for your own mental health,” she added.
“I have struggled with this relationship my entire life and it brings me enormous pain.”
Bindi has since announced that she would be taking a break from social media to look after her mental health.