Terri refuses to end the feud which has robbed Steve Irwin’s ill dad of his grandkids. Warren Gibbs reports.
Lying in his hospital bed after a near-fatal heart attack, Bob Irwin prayed for a get-well visit from his grandkids, Bindi and Robert.
Six weeks later, the 70-year-old animal crusader is still waiting to see Steve’s children.
Bob’s dramatic brush with death was seen by close friends as the catalyst to finally end the bitter family feud between Bob and his daughter-in-law, Terri, but instead, it has only widened the divide.
He hasn’t seen Bindi, 11, and six-year-old Robert in the past 18 months, even though their home at Australia Zoo is just a comfortable two-hour drive from Bob’s own wildlife sanctuary.
“I haven’t heard from them and it is sad, but that’s a part of life I guess,” he told Brisbane’s Sunday Mail. “Of course I’d like to see them but [the rift with Terri] hasn’t been resolved.”
The last time Bob spent time with his grandchildren was at the Steve Irwin Day celebrations on November 15, 2008.
Close friends say Steve “would be turning in his grave” if he knew his kids were growing up without the loving friendship and influence of his dad.
“This wouldn’t be happening in a million years if he were still alive. Family meant the world to Steve,” says one friend.
With Terri’s father, Clarence Raines, passing away last year, it means Bindi and Robert have been left without a proper father figure – and that pains Bob.
After Steve’s death, Bob and Terry had a difference of opinion over the direction of the zoo. Amid heated arguments and claims Terri banned him from the zoo he founded, Bob resigned and set up a new “natural” sanctuary near Kingaroy in Queensland.
More than anyone else, Bob knows full well how tragedy can strike at any time. He lost his first wife, Lynn, in a car accident in 2000, and his son and best mate, Steve, to a stingray barb in 2006.
It was only due to the quick-thinking actions of his second wife, Judy, that Bob survived this heart attack – reminding him once again of the fragility of life. He longed to see Bindi, who celebrates her 12th birthday in two months, and Robert, who not only looks like Steve, but shares the same quirky mannerisms.
Bob knew the grandkids were on the other side of the world travelling the US with their mum when he was rushed to hospital, but he hoped that, on their return, they would finally visit him and Judy on their property.
For the full story see this week's Woman's Day, on sale May 10, 2010.