Bindi Irwin claims estranged grandfather 'distanced himself' from the family when dad died

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Bindi Irwin claims estranged grandfather 'distanced himself' from the family when dad died
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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Nick Carter (L) and Sharna Burgess attend ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Live Finale at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Alek Skarlatos (L) and Lindsay Arnold attend ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Live Finale at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Bindi Irwin (L) and Derek Hough attend ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Live Finale at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Alek Skarlatos (L) and Lindsay Arnold attend ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Live Finale at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: A general view of atmosphere at ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Season Finale hosted by The Grove at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: (L-R) Sharna Burgess, Nick Carter, Derek Hough and Bindi Irwin attend ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Live Finale at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: A general view of atmosphere at ABC's 'Dancing With The Stars' Season Finale hosted by The Grove at The Grove on November 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated)
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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'

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"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.

PHOTOS: Bindi Irwin through the years

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Bindi Irwin through the years
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Bindi Irwin claims estranged grandfather 'distanced himself' from the family when dad died
Steve Irwin with his wife Terri and daughter Bindi (Photo by John Stanton/WireImage)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18, 2002: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) 3-year-old Bindi Irwin, the daughter of 'Crocodile Huter' Steve Irwin and Terri Irwin, wearing a sample of her children's fashion label 'Bindi Wear' with large snake draped around her body at Australia Zoo. (Photo by Newspix/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER November 20, 2003: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin, who is Queensland's Australian of the Year 2004 state finalist, is congratulated by his daughter Bindi Irwin and wife Terri Irwin at Australia Zoo. (Photo by Newspix/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Bob, Steve and Bindi Irwin pose with 3yr old alligator Russ at Australia Zoo on June 25, 2005 on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. (Photo by MeganSlade/Newspix/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25, 2005: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin with children, Bindi Irwin and Bob Irwin, at Australia Zoo. (Photo by Newspix/Getty Images)
BEERWAH, AUSTRALIA: Terri Irwin (2nd L), wife of Australian environmentalist and television personality Steve Irwin, sits with daughter Bindi (L), son Bob (3rd L) and Steve's father Bob (R) as they attend a memorial service for her husband at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, in the Australian state of Queensland, 20 September 2006. Family, friends, fans and movie stars bade a final farewell to 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin in a high-energy memorial service fuelled by laughter, tears and music. Irwin, known as the 'Crocodile Hunter', was killed 04 September by a stingray barb during a diving expedition. AFP PHOTO/POOL/STEVE HOLLAND (Photo credit should read STEVE HOLLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BEERWAH, AUSTRALIA: Bindi Irwin, daughter of Australian environmentalist and television personality Steve Irwin (pictured R), reads out a speech about her father at a memorial service for her father at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, in the Australian state of Queensland, 20 September 2006. Family, friends, fans and movie stars bade a final farewell to 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin in a high-energy memorial service fuelled by laughter, tears and music. Irwin, known as the 'Crocodile Hunter', was killed 04 September by a stingray barb during a diving expedition. AFP PHOTO/POOL/STEVE HOLLAND (Photo credit should read STEVE HOLLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BEERWAH, AUSTRALIA: Terri Irwin (C), wife of Australian environmentalist and television personality Steve Irwin, sits with daughter Bindi (L) and son Bob at a memorial service for her husband at Australia Zoo in Beerwah, in the Australian state of Queensland, 20 September 2006. Family, friends, fans and movie stars bade a final farewell to 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin in a high-energy memorial service fuelled by laughter, tears and music. Irwin, known as the 'Crocodile Hunter', was killed 04 September by a stingray barb during a diving expedition. AFP PHOTO/POOL/STEVE HOLLAND (Photo credit should read STEVE HOLLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, is interviewed on the NBC "Today" television program in New York Wednesday Nov. 21, 2007. Since her father's death, she worked on TV and finished a documentary series, "Bindi the Jungle Girl." Home schooled because of her schedule, she has her own clothing label, "Bindi Wear," a fitness DVD called "Bindi Kidfitness" and travels for the Australian tourism industry. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Robert and Bindi Irwin pose with a statue of the family that was unveiled today during 'Steve Irwin Memorial Day' at Australia Zoo on November 15, 2007 on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Steve Irwin day is a celebration of the life of the late Steve Irwin, the enigmatic 'Crocodile Hunter' who was killed by a stingray barb to his chest on September 4, 2006 whilst filming a documentary in Queensland. Australia Zoo is celebrating his life by inviting people from around the world to join in remembering what Steve was famous for: family, fun and wildlife. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Bindi Irwin celebrates her ninth birthday and the first without her father the late Steve Irwin, at Australia Zoo on July 24, 2007 on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. To celebrate her birthday, all kids can get in to Australia Zoo for free and Australian rock duo The Veronicas will play live in the Animal Planet Crocoseum. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19: Terri Irwin (L) and Bindi Irwin (R) leave after a luncheon discussion at the National Press Club January 19, 2007 in Washington, DC. Terri Irwin and Bindi Irwin spoke about Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, their late husband and father respectively, and conservation. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Robert and Bindi Irwin participate in a naming ceremony with Gubbi Gubbi elders during the second annual Steve Irwin Day celebrations at Australia Zoo on November 15, 2008 on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Steve Irwin Day coincided with the opening ceremony of the new Australian Wildlife Hospital in honour of Steve Irwins mother Lyn Irwin who had been a pioneer in wildlife care in Queesnalnd, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Bindi, Terri and Robert Irwin attend the official launch of the Australian Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo on November 15, 2008 on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. The opening ceremony timed to coincide with the second annual Steve Irwin Day celebration realised Steve Irwin's dream to establish the world's largest wildlife hospital to honour his mother Lyn Irwin who had been a pioneer in wildlife care in Queesnalnd, Australia. The new hospital is also a living memorial to Steve Irwin. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Bindi Irwin attends the official launch of the Australian Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo on November 15, 2008 on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. The opening ceremony timed to coincide with the second annual Steve Irwin Day celebration realised Steve Irwin's dream to establish the world's largest wildlife hospital to honour his mother Lyn Irwin who had been a pioneer in wildlife care in Queesnalnd, Australia. The new hospital is also a living memorial to Steve Irwin. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Washington, DC - March, 11: Bindi Irwin, 11-year-old daughter of the late animal lover Steve Irwin, visits the National Zoo, and giant Panda Tian Tian, left, to promote her upcoming television show March, 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 13: Beau Bridges and Bindi Irwin arrives at the Steve Irwin Day Gala Dinner to celebrate the life Steve Irwin and raise funds for Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on November 13, 2010 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by David Hardenberg/Getty Images)
March 9, 2010 Bindi Irwin, daughter of Steve Irwin at Metro Zoo for Free Willy Escape From Pirate's Cove. Students From Bendale Jr. P.S. watched a screening and had a Q/A with Bindi and posed for photos with her and autographed toy whales in this photo. Toronto Star/Michael Stuparyk (Photo by Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
This 2012 photo released by the Hallmark Channel shows Bindi Irwin star of the film "Return to Nim's Island," the sequel to the 2008 action-adventure movie "Nim's Island," premiering March 15, 2013 on the Hallmark Channel. The Hallmark Channel is making Friday nights a home for family movies. Hallmark says the movie, starring Irwin, the 14-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the Australian crocodile hunter, will air as part of the new "Walden Family Theater" series, a Hallmark Channel collaboration with producer Walden Media, ARC Entertainment studio and sponsors Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble. (AP Photo/Hallmark Channel)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Bindi Irwin arrives at the 2012 Logie Awards at the Crown Palladium on April 15, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18: Bindi Irwin poses with a lizard during the Goulburn Valley Fresh launch at Martin Place on February 18, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Bindi Irwin (R), daughter of late Steve 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin, shares her medal for the young conservationist of the year with her mother Terri Irwin during a media call for the Australian Geographic Society Awards in Sydney on October 29, 2014. The Australian Geographic Society has given the award to Bindi for her role in the communication of ideas and action on global wildlife conservation. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Susan Sarandon (Death Row Stories); Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, Lana Parrilla and Colin O Donohue (ABCs Once Upon a Time); Barbara Walters is joined by Terri and Bindi Irwin as she reflects on her past interview with The Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin Friday, March 7, 2014 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images) TERRI AND BINDI IRWIN
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 30: Bindi Irwin arrives at the 3rd Annual AACTA Awards Ceremony at The Star on January 30, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Bindi Irwin celebrates her 16th birthday at Australia Zoo on July 24, 2014 in Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris McCormack/Newspix/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Bindi Irwin attends Discovery's 30th Anniversary Celebration at The Paley Center for Media on June 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Actress and 'Dancing With The Stars' contestant Bindi Irwin leaves the 'Today Show' taping at the NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on August 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actress/ wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin (L) and dancer/TV personality Derek Hough attend 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 21 at CBS Televison City on September 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actress/ wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin (R) and boyfriend Chandler Powell pose at 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 21 at CBS Televison City on September 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress/ wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin attends 'Dancing with the Stars' Season 21 at CBS Televison City on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
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"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.

Bindi Irwin On Claims That She's Estranged From Her Grandfather

"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!

EXCLUSIVE: See Derek Hough Meet the Koala Bindi Irwin Named After Him!

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