Steve Irwin's sister breaks silence on 'very sad' Irwin family estrangement

The sister of late TV personality and conservationist Steve Irwin has spoken out about the Irwin family's estrangement.

Earlier this month, Steve Irwin's father Bob Irwin, 80, revealed he has yet to receive an invitation to the wedding of his 21-year-old granddaughter, Bindi, and her long-term partner Chandler Powell.

Now, Steve Irwin's sister Joy Muscillo has spoken out about the family's difficulties in an interview with the Daily Mail. Muscillo claims she has lost contact with her widowed sister-in-law, Terri Irwin, and her niece and nephew. 

Daily Mail has previously claimed Muscillo and her husband, Frank, were employees at Australia Zoo before Frank was "walked out" of the Queensland attraction by Terri.

Muscillo has described the Irwin family rift as "very sad".

"I keep away from all that," she told the outlet.

Muscillo also claimed a prior confidentiality agreement prevented her from speaking about the nature of the rift. She has since made a "personal decision" to remain silent on the estrangement.

In an interview with the Queensland publication Courier Mail earlier this month, Bob Irwin claimed he hasn't seen or spoken to his grandchildren, Bindi and Robert, 15, in over a decade.

The 80-year-old grandfather has been estranged from his daughter-in-law and grandchildren since resigning from Australia Zoo in 2008.

Irwin told the publication he "wouldn't expect to be invited" to Bindi and Chandler's impending marriage, but says he wouldn't hesitate to accept an invite if he were to receive one. 

"Much the same as any other parent or grandparent, I would wish [Bindi and Chandler] the best - which I do," he said.

"Although a lot of untruths and rubbish and absolute garbage have been written in the past, you reach a point where you've had enough."

The rift between Bob and his late son's family has been highly-publicised following Bob's resignation from the family zoo. His departure was said to be caused by conflict with Terri and Steve's close friend, Wes Carrion, over the operation of the attraction.

Irwin family 2007
Terri Irwin with her children Bindi and Robert and their grandfather, Bob Irwin, in 2007. Photo credit: Getty

Irwin and his late wife Lyn founded Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970, before transforming the wildlife park into the internationally recognised Australia Zoo in 1992.

"When my dad passed away, he [Bob] chose to distance himself from everything dad loved the most," Bindi Irwin told local media about her grandfather in 2015.

"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."

Bindi and her Chandler Powell announced their engagement on her 21st birthday in July this year.

The ceremony is expected to take place at the zoo in 2020. Bindi reportedly plans to be accompanied down the aisle by her brother Robert, in place of her late father and distant grandfather.

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