Bindi Irwin Claims Estranged Grandfather ‘Distanced Himself’ From the Family When Dad Died

by Alex Ungerman 10:43 AM PST, December 09, 2015
Playing Bindi Irwin Claims Estranged Grandfather ‘Distanced Himself’ From the Family When Dad Died

Bindi Irwin realizes that everyone handles loss in their own way.

The Dancing With the Stars champion was at the AACTA Awards in Australia on Wednesday, where she spoke to Daily Mail about her family's complicated relationship with Steve Irwin's father, Bob, who Bindi says became reclusive after his son's tragic death in 2006.

WATCH: Bindi Irwin Reveals What She Misses Most About 'Dancing With the Stars'

Photo: Getty Images

"Everyone deals with grief differently," she claimed of her estranged grandfather. '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," she added to her claim. "There was one year where we sent birthday presents to him and he opened them up and he sent them back."

WATCH: Derek Hough Met the Koala Bindi Irwin Named After Him & He Could Hardly Contain Himself!

Meanwhile, the rest of Bindi's family appears closer than ever. The 17-year-old recently returned to Australia to celebrate her brother Robert's 12th birthday, before reuniting with her dancing partner, Derek Hough, this week. ET caught up with the two on Tuesday while they reconnected.

"I miss you the most," Bindi told Derek of her time on DWTS. "It was a long time and then all of a sudden you get home and you're like, 'My big brother isn't here anymore.' It was really quite strange for sure."

WATCH: Bindi Irwin Cries During Emotional Tribute to Father Steve on 'DWTS'

Bindi also opened up about her late father, whom she said still brings her strength and perseverance to this day.

"Dad forever lives with me and I think it's the same for myself and my whole family," she said. "No matter where I go in life, I think his strength and determination is what keeps me going."

WATCH: Bindi Irwin Returns Home to Australia to Celebrate Her Brother's 12th Birthday

Meanwhile, Derek met the koala Bindi named after him!

"It's one of the coolest things that's ever happened," the 30-year-old DWTS pro told ET about meeting Derek the Koala. "To have an animal named after you is amazing."

Watch that interaction unfold below!