Steve Irwin married naturalist Terri Raines 29 years ago today, and their love story is one for the ages.
The Crocodile Hunter star tragically passed away in 2006 when he was pierced through the heart by a stingray barb whilst filming a documentary.
Today, his widow Terri Irwin marks almost three decades since she tied the knot with the television star in 1992 and kickstarted one of the most famous and best loved families on TV.
Love at first sight
American-born naturalist, conservationist, and author Terri met Steve in 1991 while she was touring wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Australia, and according to the official website for Australia Zoo – which the Irwin family own – it was “love at first sight”.
The couple were both in their 20s when they met, and Terri previously recalled being convinced Steve must have already had a girlfriend because he seemed like the perfect man.
She said: “We weren’t real young when we met. But Steve was, like, 29 and I was 27, and the first thing you think is, ‘He’s probably in a relationship.’ But I didn’t know how to say, ‘Hi, we’ve just met. Are you in a relationship?’ ”
Their first meeting didn’t go as smoothly as Terri hoped, as Steve played a nasty prank on her when he told her he was actually taken – by his dog.
Terri explained: “I think he kind of sensed that, so he said, ‘Would you like to meet my girlfriend?’
“I just felt utterly crushed.
“And then he called out, ‘Hey, Suey,’ and here comes this little dog, Suey. I went, ‘Boom! No girlfriend!'”
Starting a family
After quickly falling in love, the couple tied the knot the following year after just four months of engagement, and went on to have two children together – daughter Bindi, now 22, and son Robert, now 17.
Steve was a devoted father to his brood, and previously gushed over Terri in a sweet video he recorded shortly after the birth of his son Robert.
The Australian conservationist said he and Terri were both “stoked” to have welcomed two children together.
He said: “I’m at the hospital and Terri’s pushing and pushing and it’s hard. And it’s hard. And anyway, bang! Pop him out and I lifted him up and he’s a little bloke and I put him on Terri’s chest and we’re just stoked.
“And at that moment, at that very moment, I saw the light. The whole time, you hear you’re like, ‘I’m catching crocs, I’m saving wildlife, I’m doing this and I’m doing that.’ But when Bindi was born, I had the same sensation now with little Bob. Same sensation like, ‘This is why I was put here.'”
Steve also shared his hopes for his little ones in the event of his death.
He added: “Because I could be dead tomorrow so I need these blokes to come out as quick as they can. So this little bloke’s going to have to catch crocs with Bindi.”
Continuing Steve’s legacy
Following Steve’s tragic passing in 2006, Terri has dedicated her life to raising their children and keeping Steve’s legacy alive through her continued work at Australia Zoo.
And Terri has insisted she will never date again, because Steve was her “soulmate”.
She said: “I’m just lonely for Steve. I feel that we had that soulmate thing. And in the 10 years since, I haven’t dated or even thought about it. Because I’m not afraid to be on my own.
“It’s just really hard not having Steve. I’m just lonely for Steve if that makes sense.
“I always felt with Steve, if I hadn’t married Steve I wouldn’t have gotten married.”
In March, Terri became a grandmother for the first time after her daughter Bindi and her husband Chandler Powell welcomed a daughter named Grace Warrior.
And while Steve sadly wasn’t around to see his daughter get married or start a family of her own, Bindi has said she’s determined to teach her daughter all about her famous grandfather.
She said: “My dad would have been the best grandfather. I always joke that if he was still here we’d never see our baby because he’d take her on all kinds of adventures!
“I want to make sure our baby girl gets to know my dad and thankfully we have many documentaries and photos we can share with her.
“I think she’ll love getting to watch footage of Dad working with all kinds of animals and learning about his legacy.”
Steve’s legacy will also live on through Robert, who said the family want to “remember” and “honour” him in “absolutely everything that we do”.
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Speaking after Grace’s birth, the teen said: “I think it’s really special that as a family we get to remember him, honour him in absolutely everything that we do. And make sure that that legacy never, ever dies no matter what.
“And now with a new little wildlife warrior taking on the charge, he would just be insanely excited. I can’t even imagine. It’d be amazing!”