How Bindi Irwin Has Honored Late Father Steve in All Her Major Life Moments

The 22-year-old conservationist makes sure her late dad remains a part of her life.

Bindi Irwin always keeps her dad in mind. Ever since Steve Irwin's death in 2006, Bindi makes a point to honor him in every major life moment.

Though Bindi was just seven years old at the time of her dad's death, the impact he had on her life is clear from her continued work at Australia Zoo, where Steve had been involved since his childhood. Bindi's mother, Terri Irwin, and her little brother, Robert Irwin, are likewise passionate about the animal-focused work.

In addition to her professional similarities to her dad, Bindi often emulates his kind spirit, good-natured humor and fun-loving nature in her day-to-day life, which she shares both on television and social media.

From her reality TV stint to her newborn daughter, keep scrolling to see how Bindi has kept her dad close over the years.

Winning Dancing With the Stars

When Bindi joined Dancing With the Stars in 2015, she largely stepped into the spotlight as her own person for the first time. Paired with Derek Hough, Bindi's moving tributes to her dad started the first night of the competition, when she danced to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock," a nod to her dad's nickname, The Crocodile Hunter.

"My mom always said that anytime Dad would watch me dance around the zoo, he would cry. I think the real reason that I'm doing this is to make him proud," she said ahead of the dance, which earned her the top score of the night.

Bindi's next tribute came during week four of the competition, when she chose to honor her dad once more by picking 2006, the year of his death, as her most memorable year. That week, she performed a contemporary dance set to a cover of "Every Breath You Take," and once again earned the highest score of the night.

"I can remember being little and the one thing I wanted to do was be just like Dad when I grew up. I still feel like that," Bindi said during the episode. "... No matter where I go, Dad will always be with me. I wish that he could fully understand how much he’s done for me and that I miss him."

Weeks later, during part one of the DWTS finale, Bindi earned a perfect score for both of her dances, including the one she dedicated to her late father, a freestyle routine to Leona Lewis' "Footprints in the Sand." After performing the number, Bindi sobbed on Derek's shoulder.

Bindi went on to win the show. ET spoke with Bindi shortly thereafter, where her hopes for the future made it clear that she still planned to follow in her dad's footsteps post-mirrorball win.

"I would love to continue to spread my message on many different platforms. There are a few different things I would love to be a part of and I'm just excited to see what's on the horizon," she told ET at the time. "I can't wait to get back to all of my animals and to just go and lay under the trees with my snakes and my rhinos. It'll be so nice."

Getting her driver's license

A few months after her ballroom victory, Bindi accomplished another big feat -- getting her driver's license! Bindi shared a post of her smiling after she passed the test, revealing in the caption that she did so in her dad's car.

"Thank you so much to Constable Joshua Little and Queensland Police for testing me today and giving me my license," she wrote at the time. "It was wonderful to take my test in St George and pass the first time and in my Dad's giant old ute!"

Her brother, Robert, would go on to learn to drive in the same car years later.

Turning 18

Ahead of her 18th birthday in June 2016, Bindi told ET that the milestone would be "bittersweet" without her dad there.

"I can feel that he's not here anymore on most of the days that are really big for our family. On days like birthdays, Christmases, it's really a tough time because he's not here," she said. "It's sad because you want him to be right next to you and experiencing all these milestones, but I truly believe that, in some way, he is still with us."

"He was our superhero, he was our pillar of strength, so it's hard knowing that he's not right there," Bindi added. "But hopefully he's looking down on us from somewhere and is really excited for these moments too."

When the big day finally came, Bindi shared a throwback pic of herself with her parents along with a sweet tribute to her family.

"This photo was taken within the first year of my life. To be perfectly honest life has changed in a million ways since this photograph was taken," Bindi wrote. "Along the way we gained another incredible part of our family, my brother Robert. Our conservation work with Wildlife Warriors took off around the world. Our home, Australia Zoo continued to expand and has become the greatest zoological facility on planet earth. Our Dad, Mum's soulmate and a superhero for us all, passed away."

"However, since this photo was taken, 18 years ago, one life ingredient has remained, unchanged, unbreakable. That is the unconditional love that is shared between my beautiful little family and the loyalty we have to each other and everyone else who has taken this journey with us," she continued. "I don't think that when this photo was taken even my beautiful parents could have known what life would evolve. I know that I am endlessly grateful for the love and light I have been given since Day 1 of my life."

Dating her future husband

Bindi met and fell in love with her now-husband, Chandler Powell, after he visited Australia Zoo in 2013. When ET spoke with Bindi in 2018 about her then-beau, the conservationist revealed that her dad would've approved of him.

"I hope he’d like Chandler. I think he would. I mean, Chandler’s wonderful," Bindi said, before adding of Chandler, "He’s always up for a challenge. From jumping on crocodiles to getting his little cocky bow tie on, you know he’s doing good." 

"So, I hope dad would love Chandler. We all love him," she continued. "... Dad always used to say, 'If you’re gonna date a guy, he has to cross the croc pond first.' And thankfully, Chandler's a wakeboarder. So you know what? Wakeboarding across the pond, I’m sure he would have passed the test."

Having professional success

Since 2018, Bindi and her family have starred on the Animal Planet show Crikey! It's the Irwins. The show has been a success, so much so that it was nominated for the Critics' Choice Real TV Award for Ensemble Cast in an Unscripted Series. ET spoke with the Irwins at the 2019 ceremony, and Bindi credited her late dad for all they'd accomplished. 

"Crikey! It's the Irwins is all about carrying on in Dad's footsteps and continuing his work with Wildlife Warriors and at Australia Zoo," Bindi said. "We have conservation projects all over the globe."

"Tonight, this show being nominated, is really just recognizing all of the amazing work that Dad first started. This is definitely for him," she continued. "We are so, so grateful to be here tonight, as a family, celebrating him. I feel like he'd be saying 'crikey!' if he was here tonight. That's for sure."

Getting engaged

Following nearly six years together, Bindi and Chandler got engaged in July 2019. Like many big events in her life, Bindi told ET that her engagement was "bittersweet."

"There's people who I really wish could be here today for this time in my life. Particularly my dad," she said. "I wish that he could be here to be getting excited and welcome [Chandler] into the family, and I think that's really challenging [for me]."

"I think that Dad would have loved him so much and he would have been so excited that he's now part of our family," she added.

After accepting Chandler's proposal, Bindi took to Instagram to pen a letter to her late dad in honor of the special occasion. 

"Dad, you would be so incredibly proud of Robert. He has been such an amazing support during this beautiful new life chapter," Bindi wrote alongside family photos. "I know you’d be beaming with pride when the time comes that he walks me down the aisle."

"I wish you could be here for these moments, but I know that your spirit lives on in us," she added.

Tying the knot

Since the moment Bindi accepted Chandler's proposal, she'd been thinking about how to include her late dad in her wedding. When ET spoke with her shortly after her engagement, Bindi already knew one special way she was going to honor Steve's memory.

"I think that for me, it'll be really important that Robert walks me down the aisle. That's something that I really want to do," she said. "I'm always so grateful that Robert is there, and he has been such a big part of my life and he's always stepped up and been the one to give me a hug when I need it and encourage me forward in life."

"He will definitely be the one to walk me down the aisle when the time comes, and I think that will make it really special," Bindi continued. "And I think that's what Dad would have wanted as well."

Though much of Bindi's planned wedding had to be changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the bride made sure to honor her dad in a big way on her special day.

"Mum helped me get ready, Robert walked me down the aisle, Chandler became my husband and together we lit a candle in Dad’s memory," she revealed on Instagram after tying the knot in March. "We shared tears and smiles and love."

Bindi also displayed a photo of Steve with her late dog, Sue, at the nuptials to honor them both.

"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 told ET of the tribute. "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," she added. "Just Dad, our dog, Suey. They always shared a cup of tea together in the morning."

Deciding to keep her last name after saying "I do"

Though Bindi became a wife when she married Chandler, she decided to stay an Irwin in name in honor of her dad. 

"I think that for me personally, after Dad passed away, it was really important for me to feel close to him," she told ET. "Having his last name means so much to me."

"Chandler has become an Irwin now," Bindi joked. "It has become a part of me. Everyone has their own ideas, but the nice thing is that it's 2020 now, anything works!"

Expecting her first child

After announcing that she and Chandler are expecting their first child next year, Bindi posted several things about love and her dad on Instagram. One post was a throwback shot with Steve.

"You're always in my heart," she captioned the sweet pic.

Bindi, who's expecting a baby girlalso posted a photo of an animal hugging her, alongside a quote from her dad.

"Where I live if someone gives you a hug, it’s from the heart," Bindi wrote, quoting Steve.

Giving her daughter a special name

Bindi gave birth to her and husband Chandler's first child on March 25, which also happened to be their wedding anniversary. On March 26, she took to Instagram to reveal the newborn's moniker, along with the sweet way she's honoring her late dad.

"March 25, 2021. Celebrating the two loves of my life. Happy first wedding anniversary to my sweetheart husband and day of birth to our beautiful daughter. ❤️ Grace Warrior Irwin Powell," Bindi wrote. "Our graceful warrior is the most beautiful light. Grace is named after my great-grandmother, and relatives in Chandler’s family dating back to the 1700s. Her middle names, Warrior Irwin, are a tribute to my dad and his legacy as the most incredible Wildlife Warrior."

"Her last name is Powell and she already has such a kind soul just like her dad," she added. "There are no words to describe the infinite amount of love in our hearts for our sweet baby girl. She chose the perfect day to be born and we feel tremendously blessed."

Watch the video below for more on Bindi and Steve's everlasting bond.



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