Robert Irwin’s sweet tribute to niece: ‘Grace is more like Dad than any of us’

According to proud uncle Robert, Steven Irwin's genes are strong when it comes to little Grace Warrior Irwin Powell.

Growing up, Robert Irwin tells The Weekly, he felt at times like he had two mothers: Terri and his older-by-six-years sister Bindi.

“She’d be telling me when I was little, ‘Brush your teeth, wear a helmet when you get on a bike,’ and I’ was like, ‘Okay, Mum!’,” the I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! co-host fondly laughs. “I call Bindi Mum 2.0.”

So, it’s unsurprising to hear that when Bindi had a child of her own, she was a natural. Along with husband Chandler Powell, Bindi has thrown herself into giving her daughter Grace Warrior everything she was lucky enough to experience throughout her childhood.

“She’s got the coolest parents ever,” Robert says of his two-year-old niece. “They are just so keen to give her an awesome enriched existence.”

Grace, Robert adds, is an Irwin through and through – and has everyone remarking about her resemblance to her late grandfather, Steve.

“There is more of those Dad genes, Irwin genes than in any of us,” he marvels. “She has that same energy Dad did. She is very athletic, she is jumping and running. But then at the same time she is super thoughtful, very cognitive, very smart and just insanely caring. She will pick up every little animal with such grace and care and she’s just really fascinated in learning.”

Steve Irwin holding baby Robert
Proud dad Steve Irwin with baby Robert.

Currently, tortoises are her favourite to visit at the zoo. “She’s always loved them,” Robert says with a smile. “They are the one animal she can easily keep up with. You know, she’s fast but those little legs still need a bit further to go before she’s properly running down anything but tortoises!

“She also loves koalas. Bindi and Chandler are really passionate about introducing her to all the animals here (at Australia Zoo) because she’s always asking for it. Every day she is like, ‘Can I go for a walk around the zoo, can I visit the tortoises, can I go see Brandy the koala?’ Every time you walk past a croc or a snake she’s like, ‘Ooh can I go look at the croc?’ And Bindi has to go. ‘Well, not yet darling!’”

Robert is thrilled to be part of Grace’s development years and hopes to be part of her ongoing lessons at both the zoo and out in the wider world.

“Being an uncle really is fun,” he enthuses. “It’s just all the best bits.”

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! airs on Ten and 10play from March 24.

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