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Bindi Irwin Reveals ‘The One Thing’ She Wishes She Could Tell Dad Steve Irwin (Exclusive)

Bindi Irwin’s 3-year-old daughter, Grace, never met her grandfather Steve Irwin, who tragically died following a stingray injury at the age of 44 in 2006.

However, the larger-than-life Australian wildlife conservationist is still very much a part of his granddaughter’s life: There are photos of him scattered throughout the Australian Zoo, where Grace spends her days picking hibiscus leaves and feeding kangaroos.

Bindi, 25, continues to run the 700-acre facility alongside her mother, Terri, 59, brother, Robert, 20, and her husband of four years, 27-year-old former wakeboarder Chandler Powell.

Bindi also often plays footage from Steve’s popular documentary series, The Crocodile Hunter, for Grace. “He was the same person in real life as he was on screen, so I feel like Grace is able to grow up knowing him,” Bindi shares in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “As soon as we turn Dad on, she starts doing her imitation, yelling ‘Crikey!’ through the living room.”

The connection is bittersweet for Bindi. “If I had the chance, the one thing I’d say to my dad is, ‘I love you, and I miss you. Every day that you aren’t here is hard. But we hope to be making you proud,’” she shares. “I think when there’s love that is that great, it never truly goes away. He’s always with us.”

Us caught up with Bindi at the Steve Irwin Gala Las Vegas and the 2024 EndoFound Blossom Ball earlier this month to talk more about her dad, motherhood and life today.

Bindi Irwin Reveals ‘The One Thing’ She Wishes She Could Tell Dad Steve Irwin
Getty Images (2)

Do you see any of your dad in Grace?

Oh my goodness, yes. She’s such a non-stop force of nature. Genuinely, if she’s not running around, that means she’s asleep. There’s no “off” button. She gets that strength and energy from the Irwin side. If my dad was still alive, we’d never see Grace — he’d take her and be like, “Let’s go climb the mountain and go see these animals!”

Do you talk about him with Grace?

I’ve always said I want to make sure Grace knows Dad. We have a big photo of him, and every night, we do our calm-down ritual. Chandler, Grace and I sit under the stars and talk about what we’re grateful for. Then we do story time and say goodnight to Grandpa Crocodile, as she calls him. She started that one night; she goes, “Goodnight, Grandpa Crocodile,” because he’s feeding a croc in the photo.

Bindi and Robert Irwin s Most Touching Tributes to Late Dad Steve Irwin 2

Related: Robert and Bindi Irwin’s Most Touching Tributes to Late Dad Steve Irwin

And she gets to see him on TV.

Being able to show Grace his documentaries is incredibly special. She starts repeating what he says, and she has a plush crocodile that she gets out and puts a satellite tracker on. I cry every single time.

She’s having such a unique upbringing at the zoo.

Honestly, she’s the one who runs Australia Zoo at this point. She helps at the wildlife hospital, holding tortoises and feeding giraffes. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to watch her bloom.

Does Grace have a favorite animal?

She loves tortoises. Every single afternoon, we give her the option [to] go anywhere in the zoo… [It’s] always to the tortoise yard. We pick hibiscus and then go feed them. It’s very sweet.

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell’s Family Album With Daughter Grace: Photos

Related: Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell's Family Album With Daughter Grace

Is she scared of anything?

She has no fear when it comes to animals. I have a fear of wasps and bugs in general — I’m not scared of them, but I don’t really want a cockroach climbing on my face. She’s obsessed with bugs. Every day she’s like, “Mama, let’s go look for bugs.”

What’s her personality like?

She’s the most beautiful and hilarious and wonderful soul. She’s three, so she’s curious about everything and so inquisitive and fascinated by the world. I wish adults were more like that! I don’t know where people lose that sense of magic, but watching her and how much she enjoys the colors and the sights and sounds, it’s a wonderful reminder.

Bindi Irwin Reveals ‘The One Thing’ She Wishes She Could Tell Dad Steve Irwin
John Wolfsohn/Getty Images

Do you think she’ll eventually take over the family business?

She’s going to take over the world. She has so much energy and passion and determination. Whatever she wants to do, she’ll be good at it because she has those Irwin power genetics at play.

Is Grace close with your mom, Terri?

When Grace gets to spend the night with Bunny — that’s what she calls her — she just lights up. She’s so happy because Mom is the most beautiful and supportive person in the world. The fact that Grace gets to grow up surrounded by so much love means the absolute world.

Bindi Irwin Through the Years

Related: Bindi Irwin Through the Years: From ‘Jungle Girl’ to Mom

In 2023, you opened up about your endometriosis diagnosis and surgery. Why did you decide to share that?

When I shared my story, I had no idea how many people would reach out with their own struggles. The common thread has been “We haven’t felt seen; we haven’t felt validated.” We need more awareness for women’s health.

Can you tell us about your own experience with endometriosis?

Some people say it’s only on your period that you feel bad. For me, it was every single day. You just don’t know whether it’s a fertility struggle or your health is deteriorating. I had every scan imaginable, MRI, blood tests, you name it. Everything came back negative. The doctors would say, “We don’t know what’s going on with you.” I finally found a wonderful surgeon who said, “I think you have endometriosis, but the only way to know is to operate.”

Bindi Irwin Celebrates Husband Chandler Powell's Birthday

Related: Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell’s Relationship Timeline

That must have been scary.

My crippling fear [was] going in for surgery and having no idea if they were going to find anything because it’s such an invisible illness. So if they don’t find anything, how am I going to live another 50 years feeling like this every day? They found all of these lesions, and they were able to free me of all of this pain and nausea and everything that goes along with it.

Has it changed your family planning?

Having Grace, the doctors said, “We have no idea how you managed,” because I was so full of endometriosis. My ovary was pretty much taken over by a cyst. She’s our miracle. So, you never know what the future holds. I have no idea what life will give us.

How is Chandler as a dad?

I don’t know how I got so lucky to find my perfect person so young. From the moment I met Chandler, I loved him. And that love has just grown. Seeing him as a dad is [such a] blessing. He’s the kindest, most attentive dad. He’s also so enthusiastic about wildlife conservation, and is a kind and loyal gentleman in everything he does. He’s the whole package!

For more on Bindi Irwin, watch the exclusive video above — and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

With reporting by Travis Cronin & Rachel Smith

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