While American viewers of Dancing With the Stars are just getting to know Bindi Irwin, the 17-year-old has been a household name for much of her life in her native Australia. Bindi became most widely known as her father’s daughter, the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. Bindi’s entire family, including her mother Terri, are closely associated with the Australia Zoo.
As Bindi makes her mark on Dancing With the Stars, Terri is speaking to Entertainment Tonight about her own history with Steve Irwin. She said she is in no hurry to find a new love nine years after the loss of her husband. Irwin has two children, Bindi and her brother Bob, and described her life as “full.”
“I think I’ve had my happily ever after. I still feel immense love and loyalty to Steve. And I’ve got great kids, I’ve got a very full life, and while I’m lonely for Steve, I’m not a lonely person.”
She even went a step further and hypothesized that had she not met Steve, she might never have tied the knot at all.
Terri was born in the U.S. but has lived in Australia for decades. She married Steve after only eight months of dating in 1992. Bindi was born in 1998. The couple’s son Bob was born in 2003. On Steve Irwin Day in 2009, Terri announced she’d become an Australian citizen, according to the Sunshine Coast Daily.
Terri was actively involved in Steve’s work at the zoo and on television. According to ET, the couple filmed the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter while on their honeymoon and were co-stars on the program for five years. It seems almost inevitable then that Bindi would enter the spotlight as a pint-sized conservationist at her parents’ sides.
Andrew Hornery, a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, wrote this week that Bindi’s performance on Dancing With the Stars has once again endeared her to fans in her native Australia, where she’d fallen out of celebrity favor. Hornery recalled meeting Bindi as a child, where her enthusiasm had sounded rehearsed. After seeing her dance a routine in memory of her father, however, Hornery changed his tune about the teenager.
“Afterwards it was Bindi overcome with raw emotion we saw on our televisions, beamed around the world. A Bindi who sobbed uncontrollably into her dance partners’ chest after telling the audience the dance was ‘for dad’ and revealing just some of the personal grief she has mostly kept out of the public eye for all these years. It was the most un-rehearsed and natural we had seen Bindi, and about us unrobotic as you can get.”
Terri said that Bindi’s routine in tribute to her dad was helpful to anyone who has experienced grief and loss.
“That was so special because she was bringing everyone’s grief journey with her on her journey and saying, ‘You can lose someone and then find your joy again.'”
In September, Bindi told Entertainment Tonight that she appreciated her mother’s support during the Dancing With the Stars journey. She said Terri is there every day when she rehearses with partner Derek Hough.
Next Monday, Bindi and Derek are going to dance a routine inspired by the 1980s classic movie Dirty Dancing. Entertainment Tonight caught the pair rehearsing in a local duck pond, where Bindi felt right at home.
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.
[Main image: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images]