Love at first Crikey! Terri and Steve Irwin’s romance is one for the ages

They fell in love faster than a cheetah.
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Steve Irwin’s love for all things wildlife has been broadcast far and wide over the years.

And, just as it was the late legend’s passion for conservation that made Australia fall in love with him, so too was it Steve’s love for animals that caused Terri to fall hard for the Crocodile Hunter.

With a shared passion for wildlife, it’s no surprise that the pair bonded over their love of animals, especially predators!

“When Steve and I first met, he asked me about my favourite animal. When I told him how much I loved cougars, he asked me why. Nobody had ever asked me why,” Terri shared on her Instagram.

“I told him it was because cougars are such impressive predators, they can kill an animal larger than themselves with just their teeth.”

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Bindi shared this photo of her parents to mark their 32nd wedding anniversary. (Credit: Instagram)

“Steve smiled and said, ‘That’s why I love crocodiles!’, and the rest is history. ❤️”

In June 2024, Steve and Terri’s daughter Bindi honoured her parents on their 32nd wedding anniversary.

Sharing an old photo of the Wildlife Warriors to Instagram, the 25-year-old wrote: “Happy Anniversary to my incredible parents. I love you both beyond description. ❤️.”

A touched Terri took to the comments to pen: “Getting married 32 years ago was the best. Having @bindisueirwin and @robertirwinphotography made life even better!”

Those who know Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell’s love story will be aware that the young lovebirds met when Chandler was visiting Australia Zoo for a wakeboarding competition.

Well, it turns out there are some eerie similarities between Bindi and Chandler’s chance meeting and Terri and Steve’s first encounter. Right down to their nationalities.

That’s right, much like American Chandler was visiting Australia Zoo in 2013, American Terri was also paying Down Under a visit back in 1991 when she met her future husband Steve. And, according to the official Australia Zoo website, “it was love at first sight”.

Terri and Steve
It was love at first sight for the two Wildlife Warriors. (Credit: X) (Credit: Twitter)

Although the Irwins are best known for their legacy at Australia Zoo, Steve developed his conservation roots back in the 1970s, helping his parents at Beerwah Reptile Park, which would later grow to be the Australia Zoo we all know and love.

By the time the 1990s rolled around, animal-lover Steve had taken over the wildlife park. The 29-year-old was busy managing the growing acreage when he ran into Terri Raines from Eugene, Oregon. And from the moment the 27-year-old stepped foot in the wildlife park, it was clear the pair had a lot in common.

Steve was instantly smitten to learn that the American tourist had started her own wildlife rehabilitation facility called Cougar Country, which specialised in predatory mammals.

After Steve heard about Terri’s shared passion for animals, much like a cheetah, their love sped at an extraordinarily fast pace. Just a year after their first meeting, the wildlife-loving couple wed in Terri’s home at Oregon before returning to land of the kangaroo.

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Steve and Terri wasted no time getting hitched. (Credit: ABC)

The minute the khaki-clad pair said their vows, it was clear this union was not going to be your average one.

Rather than embark on a honeymoon, newlyweds Steve and Terri set out on a crocodile rescue mission, filming the entire journey. And thus, The Crocodile Hunter documentary series was born.

Just as Terri changed her last name to Irwin, the happy couple finally updated the sign outside their growing wildlife park to read ‘Australia Zoo’.

As they were blissfully in love and building an animal empire, Steve and Terri were met with the exciting news that they would soon be welcoming another addition to the park. Though, this time not of the furry variety.

WATCH NOW: The sweet way Terri Irwin told Steve she was pregnant. Article continues after video.

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That’s right, back in 1998, the wildlife warriors gave birth to their first child, Bindi – who they named after one of Steve’s favourite crocodiles, and which also translates to ‘young girl’ in certain Indigenous Australian dialects.

Not five years later, in 2003, little Bindi gained a brother as Steve’s mini-me Robert was born.

As new parents Steve and Terri were kept busy growing both their family and Australia Zoo, the loved-up couple also filled their days filming animal documentaries to share their message of conservation all around the world.

Then, in 2006, disaster fell upon the family.

On September 4th 2006, Steve Irwin was snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef when he was tragically struck by a stingray. The fatal accident reached ears all over the globe as people far and wide mourned the great Crocodile Hunter alongside his wife and two kids.

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Steve and Terri’s “cheetah” paced romance saw the quick addition of two mini Wildlife Warriors: Bindi and Robert. (Credit: Australia Zoo)

Following Steve’s death, the grieving family carried on at Australia Zoo. However, 18 months later, Steve’s Dad, Bob Irwin, left the wildlife park after a reported falling out with Terri over the direction of the zoo. 

Nowadays, Terri, Bindi and Rob run the joint, along with Bindi’s husband, Chandler, of course. Plus, we can’t forget the latest Wildlife Warrior to join the ranks in March 2021 – Bindi and Chandler’s first daughter, Grace Warrior Irwin Powell.

Though he may be gone, Steve will never be forgotten as Terri continues to find sweet ways to honour the great love of her life. 

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