Bindi Irwin on Keeping Her Last Name as a Tribute to Her Late Father Steve (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Bindi Irwin has decided to keep her famous last name for a very personal reason. The 21-year-old conservationist and Chandler Powell tied the knot on March 25, and she has since decided to not take her husband's last name.
"I’ve kept Bindi Irwin," she told ET's Lauren Zima ahead of their Animal Planet special, Crikey! It’s the Irwins: Life in Lockdown. "I think that for me personally, after dad [Steve Irwin] passed away it was really important for me to feel close to him, and having his last name means so much to me."
Chandler added that they talked about the possible name change, but at the end of the day she's "an Irwin through and through."
"Chandler has become an Irwin now," Bindi said with a laugh. "It has become a part of me. Everyone has their own ideas, but the nice thing is that it's 2020 now, anything works!"
The newlyweds let fans have a look at their emotional wedding day -- and all the last minute changes they were forced to make amid the coronavirus pandemic and day-of paparazzi crashers. On her special day, to honor the late Steve, Bindi had a photo of her father with their late dog Sue and lit a candle in his honor.
"I love that photo so much. It's probably one of my favorite photos we have of him because he is with his beautiful dog, Sue," Bindi shared. "My middle name Sue, I was named after the family dog. Suey will always hold a special place in my heart and growing up she was one of the very first animals I loved. She was there from the moment I was born…Sadly Suey and dad both passed away, but I love that photograph because it symbolizes everyone who could not be there with us on that day and it's just beautiful and it's such a perfect moment. Just dad, our dog Suey. They always shared a cup of tea together in the morning."
While the Irwin family has expressed how heartbreaking it was to not have Steve there on Bindi's special day, they did joke about what they thought the Crocodile Hunter would be doing the day of the wedding.
"He would have tackled the helicopter out of the sky," Terri Irwin said of the chopper that ruined their outdoor wedding plans. "He would have cried more than Robert and he probably would have built a chapel in an hour."
"I don't know what the word is in the English language or the opposite of a procrastinator. But that was Steve. He was a 'Do it now! Just fix it' kind of guy -- and he was exhausting," she cracked. "But the best adventure of your life and anyone who knew Steve would say that. But very emotional. Very tough on the outside and sensitive on the inside, and I just thought it was special when Robert was being so emotional on the day because it was kind of like his dad coming through. It was really special."
Terri's son, Robert Irwin, added that it was "all happy tears" but he was "just overwhelmed with joy" as he walked his sister down the aisle.
"And of course, there's also that other side that I think, me, walking down the aisle and having that job in particular, you think a lot about dad," he explained. "And you wish more than anything that he could be there on the day. I mean, even now it's very emotional, even just talking about it…But it was all happy tears. I wasn't expecting to get so emotional."
Chandler, on his end, also sent a beautiful message to Steve, expressing how even though he's not there with them, he brought him and Bindi together.
"The biggest thing I would like to say is just, thank you on behalf of the world and especially me for inspiring my love of wildlife," Chandler expressed, adding that he grew up watching Steve's documentaries in his khakis when he was 4 years old. "[It] made me really fall in love with all forms of wildlife. So in a way, he brought us together because when I came to Australia after watching his documentaries, I wanted to come visit Australia Zoo and that was when we met."
"Bindi was giving me a tour of Australia Zoo on the day I came to visit," he recalled. "So the biggest thing I would like to say to him is, thank you for inspiring my passion in life and also bringing me and Bindi together because if it weren't for him, I don't know how we would have met."
For now, Bindi and Chandler are enjoying their "honeymoon" at the Australia Zoo, which was closed to the public amid the pandemic.
"I love the fact that Chandler and I actually met quite like when mom and dad first met at the Australia Zoo," Bindi said. "Mom and dad got [a] picture together when they first met…Looking at the photo of me and Chandler, it's quite similar. And then all the way into our honeymoon. It was spent with film crew in the middle of a crazy pandemic."
"Mom and dad's honeymoon was spent catching crocs with an entire film crew. So, you know, we tried to set the bar even higher with our zoo being temporarily closed," Bindi joked.
For more on the Irwins, watch below.
Crikey! It’s the Irwins: Life in Lockdown will air Saturday, June 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet.