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Robert Irwin and Matilda Ledger unlikely friends bond over losing their dads at a young age

''It's hard to imagine a pair of Aussie kids who share a more similar story''
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After losing his famous father Steve Irwin in tragic circumstances when he was just two years old, Robert Irwin could be forgiven for thinking there’s no one else in the world who understands what he’s been through.

But it turns out there is one person who knows exactly what it’s like – Matilda Ledger, whose own superstar father Heath died of an accidental drug overdose when she was also two.

Robert and Matilda are friends.

(Image: Instagram)


And now, thanks to a spine-tingling act of fate, Woman’s Day can exclusively reveal that the eerily similar Robert and Matilda have been brought together for the first time.

Last year, it was reported that Robert, 19, was dating 17-year-old Matilda’s cousin Rorie Buckley – the 18-year-old daughter of Heath’s sister Kate.

And insiders say it was thanks to this connection that Robert was able to look up Matilda when he was in New York last month. He was there supporting his older sister Bindi as she underwent surgery for endometriosis at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

“While Matilda hasn’t spent much time in Australia, her mum [Michelle Williams] has made sure she stays in touch with her Aussie family, including her cousins on that side,” says a source. “While Robert was in New York, there was talk of him meeting up with Matilda in Brooklyn.”

Matilda is Heath Ledger’s only daughter.

Adds a separate insider, “It’s hard to imagine a pair of Aussie kids who share a more similar story than Matilda and Robert. It really is a twist of fate that they ended up sharing such a strong link through Rorie.

Until now, Robert’s only had Bindi to share this experience with, which has been hard because she has so many more memories of Steve than he did.

“Getting to know Matilda, who’s in a similar boat not remembering her dad because she was so young, would be so cathartic for him.”

Robert was so enamoured by his most recent trip to New York – and possible new friendship with Matilda – that insiders expect he may move to the Big Apple for a gap year.

“Robert’s a talented and keen photographer who does a lot of work with National Geographic,” reveals a US-based showbiz industry insider.

“They have offices in New York, as well as a short commute away in Washington DC. Everyone agrees his career would go forward in leaps and bounds if he spent more time in the States.”

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Our Irwin insider adds that Robert’s mum Terri, 58, knows it’s “only a matter of time” before her only son flies the family nest.

“Robert has a real sense of adventure, and she could tell he was very inspired by his time in New York while they were there with Bindi,” says a source.

“She can absolutely see him living there for a while, and she would be so happy for him to have someone like Matilda to lean on, but she hopes he doesn’t stay away from Australia Zoo for too long.

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