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Steve Irwin was a global icon, and would've celebrated his 60th birthday today (February 22, 2022) had he not died in a tragic stingray accident in 2006, at the age of 44.
He and his famous clan became one of the most renowned Australian families.
But behind the beaming smiles and their seemingly close-knit bond, a bitter family feud has allegedly been bubbling away beneath the surface.
The Australia Zoo owners and the rest of The Crocodile Hunter's extended family have been at loggerheads for more than 10 years now, with fresh claims of simmering tension surfacing in recent years.
Two years after the TV star was tragically killed by a stingray barb in September 2006, the cracks began to show when Steve's father abruptly left the park after it was reported he'd fallen out with widower wife Terri.
Since then, Steve's daughter Bindi has sensationally accused her estranged grandfather of causing her "psychological abuse" which led to two of her cousins speaking out to condemn her actions.
Here, Daily Star uncovers all of the ins and outs of the Irwin family bust-up which is believed to still be causing a rift to this day.
When alarm bells were raised
In 1970 Bob Snr and his wife Lyn had founded a Beerwah Reptile Park – now Australia Zoo – before passing over ownership to his son Steve – albeit, still remaining involved in the family business.
The famous Australia Zoo was transformed by Steve and his wife Terri in 1992 when they took over the plot.
In September 2006, the lives of all Irwin members were turned upside down when Steve – who was better known as the Crocodile Hunter – was tragically killed by a stingray barb.
But just two years after Steve's passing, it appeared a row between Bob Snr and Terri had emerged.
It was reported that Bob Snr left the park after he and Terri had come to blows over how the business should operate.
Terri and her children Bindi, 24, and Robert, 17, have been estranged from Bob ever since.
Terri falls out with in-laws
The entire Irwin clan had all formed part of Australia Zoo business previously, with Steve's sister Joy Muscillo overseeing the food court with her husband Frank.
However, in 2015 reports suggested Terri had "marched off" Frank from the property which then saw Joy and children leave their jobs behind too.
Speaking about the situation, Joy told Daily Mail Australia in 2019 the feud was "very sad".
She explained: "I keep away from all that. It's just very sad… family stuff."
Joy has always remained tight lipped on the situation and now runs a restaurant with the help of her husband Frank.
It was reported that Joy had entered into a confidentiality agreement which prevented her from spilling any information about the reasons behind their swift departure.
However, it is believed that agreement has expired but Joy still opts to keep matters private.
Bindi speaks out
In 2015, Bob Snr revealed that he was no longer in touch with Steve's eldest daughter Bindi.
Speaking to The Herald Sun, he explained: "I don't like to talk about family matters but no we are not in contact."
Adding: "It's sad but it's just the way things are."
That same year, Bindi also spoke out about her grandfather no longer being part of her life.
She revealed to Daily Mail Australia: "Everyone deals with grief differently.
"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."
In July 2019, after the news had broke that Bindi's boyfriend – now-husband – Chandler Powell had popped the big question, Bob Snr made headlines.
He told the Courier Mail explained he was not invited to the wedding and had not received a response from his granddaughter despite sending her a letter of congratulations.
When chatting about attending the wedding, he added: "If they wanted to, of course I would."
Bindi walked down the aisle in March 2020 marrying her childhood sweetheart.
It is unknown if Bob Snr had been invited but he was not present on her big day.
Scathing Facebook post
After giving birth to a baby daughter Grace Warrior, Bindi took to Facebook to celebrate Father's Day, penning a sweet post tributing her husband and late father.
One inquisitive fan asked animal rescuer why her grandfather had not been mentioned.
Rather than ignore the question, Bindi decided to respond online which only seemed to stoke the fire where her other relatives were concerned.
The new mum 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."
Bindi claimed that gifts she'd sent to Bob Snr had been "returned" and her letters had also been "ignored".
She went on: "From the time I was a little girl he has ignored me, preferring to spend time doing anything else rather than being with 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."
Steve's daughter added that her mum Terri had helped her grandfather out financially.
"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 wellbeing."
Steve's nieces pile in
While Bob Snr did not respond on the matter, two of Bindi's cousin's took to their own platforms to defend their grandfather.
Bethany Wheeler – who is the step-daughter of Bob's daughter Mandy – hit back in another Facebook post: "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"
Mandy's step-daughter described Bob Snr as "one of the most genuinely beautiful humans on this planet" who has "never spoken out or put down anybody".
Toni Johnstone, another of Bob's granddaughters, believed that Steve would have been "furious" at his daughters behaviour had he still been alive.
Taking a swipe in the same post, Toni warned: "Let's hope [Bindi and Terri] remember who built the zoo that made them who they are today."
Adding further fuel to the fire, Bindi's cousin Rebecca Lobie – who has become quite the Instagram sensation in recent times and is the daughter of Steve's sister Joy – also jumped on the bandwagon.
While she didn't exactly reference the feud specifically, she did take to her Instagram story to make her feelings known.
Rebecca wrote: "After reading something on Facebook today about family, I'd like to remind everyone that unless you personally know someone or the circumstances of a situation, you should keep your judgements to yourself!'
"There is a lot that happens out of the public eye that you don't know about! Please think about this the next time you go talk s**t about someone."
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- Steve Irwin
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