Who is Terri Irwin?
Terri Irwin, widow of Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin, is a conservationist, naturalist, author and owner of Australia Zoo. Born on July 24, 1964, she is originally from Oregon in the United States, but relocated to Australia in 1991 after meeting her future husband, Steve, while on holiday.
The pair met while Terri was touring an animal rehabilitation centre – back home she ran her own rehab service called Cougar Country – and both have said it was “love at first sight.” Steve and Terri were engaged after only four months and married eight months later, in 1992. Footage from their honeymoon would go on to become the basis for their first TV series together, The Crocodile Hunter, which launched Steve’s career internationally and went on to be an enormous success in America.
The couple have two children together, Bindi, born in 1998, and Robert, born 2003. Tragically, Steve was killed in 2006 after he was speared through the heart by a stingray while filming for a TV special on the Great Barrier Reef.
After his death, Terri vowed to keep Steve’s legacy alive, taking over the running of Australia Zoo, which her husband helped establish with his father, Bob. Terri began running it full-time after Steve passed away, and is now based at the family’s compound on the Zoo’s grounds when not travelling the world spreading her conservation message with Bindi and Robert.
Why is Terri Irwin famous?
Terri is probably most famous for being married to Steve Irwin, arguably Australia’s biggest entertainment export. After they tied the knot, Terri co-starred with her husband in his Animal Planet documentary series, The Crocodile Hunter. The shy, khaki-clad young brunette was happy to be in the background as her croc-wrangling, ever-effusive husband took centre stage.
After Steve’s death in 2006, that all changed, and Terri was forced to step up and take control, not just of Steve’s incredible legacy, but also of the day-to-day running of his hugely successful business, Australia Zoo.
As if all that wasn’t stressful enough, at the time Terri was also managing her eldest child Bindi’s burgeoning entertainment career. When Steve died, Bindi had just begun filming her first TV series, Bindi The Jungle Girl, which Steve appeared on during its first season run.
Terri has spoken of just how testing this time was for her. But not only did she manage to keep the family business afloat, she also found time to nurture the career of her youngest child, Robert, who went on to star in his own TV series, and now also regularly appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, filmed in the States.
What are Terri Irwin’s passions?
Like Steve, Terri has long thought of herself as a “wildlife warrior,” committed to spreading the conservation message. She is also passionate about speaking out about the dangers of over-population.
“We must begin to open dialogue about the elephant in the room,” she said in an open letter in 2011. “It seems every crisis we currently face in our world stems back to overpopulation. I don't have all the solutions, but population needs to be an issue we talk about.”
Keeping Steve’s dream alive
Terri has dedicated her life to continuing to spread Steve Irwin’s conservation message.
“Even though we lost Steve in a freak accident more than five years ago, I still cannot travel anywhere in the world without meeting people who have had their lives touched by Steve's passion and enthusiasm for wildlife and wild places,” she says.
Has Terri Iwrin remarried?
No. Although rumours have swirled over the years – at one point she was even linked to Hollywood A-lister Russell Crowe – Terri has remained single, focussing all her attention to continuing Steve’s amazing legacy.
“Although my heart aches every day because I miss Steve so desperately, I am determined to carry on where he left off and keep his dream alive,” she explains.
How involved is Terri Irwin in Australia Zoo?
Very. Although she first began running it along with Steve’s dad Bob after her husband’s death, she now does so on her own with the help of a dedicated inner-circle of trusted friends and advisors.
“It wasn't long after Steve and I were married, that he asked me to make him a promise. He said that should anything happen to him, would I promise to keep running Australia Zoo. This was a relatively easy promise to keep, because, at the time, the Zoo was a total of four acres, a few animals and less than ten staff. Today we have 100 acres open to visitors, 1,200 animals and 450 staff,” Terri said recently.
Along with the commercial zoo business, Terri also oversees 420,000 acres of protected habitat, and runs the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, which treats more than 8000 sick and injured native animals each year. This year they have been kept especially busy caring for many of the animals affected by the recent bushfires in and around the Sunshine Coast.
How rich are the Irwins?
Very, VERY rich. According to reports, both Robert and Bindi are worth in excess of $3 million each, thanks to their endorsement and television deals. Terri is sitting on a goldmine, their Australia Zoo property alone worth well in excess of $20 millions of dollars.
On top of this, she is also custodian of a $6 million parcel of land, gifted to the Irwin family for conservation purposes by the Australian government in 2007. She also makes money from Australia Zoo visitors, who line up by the busload to visit the famed tourism hot-spot – picking up plenty of souvenirs from the gift shop on their way out!
Terri and Bob Irwin feud
Steve was incredibly close to his conservationist father Bob during his lifetime. But after his death, it seems there has been a rift in the Irwin family, with rumours of an estrangement between Terri and her father-in-law.
Although they’ve never confirmed any issues, not long after Steve’s passing, Bob moved away from Australia Zoo and distanced himself from the operation. At the time, volunteers and former staff claimed Terri and Bob had had a difference in opinion about the direction of the zoo.
“There are people at the zoo who think that Steve’s commitment to animal research and conservation isn’t being maintained,” one volunteer told The Sunshine Daily at the time. “Bob is angry that the zoo is being turned into a circus and the focus on animal conservation and education is being lost.”
Whether this is still the case is unknown, but the extended family are no longer pictured together at Australia Zoo events.
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