Bindi Irwin is finally beginning to heal – and it’s all thanks to “Dancing With the Stars.” The Season 21 champion of the hit ABC series recognized that it was her stint on the long-running dance competition that helped her cope with the anxiety she’s faced since the tragic death of her father, Steve Irwin.
Steve, who was best known to the world as the khaki-wearing “Crocodile Hunter,” died in September 2006 after a snorkeling trip went awry. His death was especially hard for Bindi, who then continuously feared for the lives of her mother Terri and her younger brother Robert.
“When your superhero dies, that’s really scary,” the 17-year-old animal conservationist divulged during an interview with Australian magazine Women’s Weekly. “The strongest person has been taken away, so what about everyone else?”
— Women's Weekly (@WomensWeeklyMag) December 20, 2015
Bindi, who was 8-years-old when her father died, noted that her anxiety was “really bad” when she was younger. “Now I just have this sense that I want to protect them, so it’s always ‘be safe’ and ‘I love you.’”
But, according to Bindi, partaking on “DWTS” was therapeutic for her as she faced her fears week after week alongside her partner Derek Hough. "It changed my life, because I was able to close those chapters that I'd never really been able to close before," she told the magazine. "It really gave me an opportunity to say, 'Okay, I can be at peace with it, and I'm okay.'"
Bindi showed the world just how well she’s doing when she shared an image of her romantic date with boyfriend Chandler Powell on Instagram. In the post, the two snuggled up together on a grassy hill at the Australian Zoo to watch the sunset.
— People magazine (@people) December 20, 2015
"He's the first person I've met who understands my life – the travel and the work and that real dedication and determination," Bindi gushed to the magazine about her “old-fashioned gentleman” beau. "I think that's why I love him so much, because he gets my world."
The wakeboarding athlete continuously supported Bindi throughout her two-stepping journey on “DWTS” – even behind the scenes! According to Chandler, he was on “ankle duty” when he visited Bindi during rehearsals. “I don't mind,” he told Us Weekly about his icing obligations.
"He's really sweet. I'm really, really lucky," Bindi added.
"Dancing With the Stars" Season 22 will premiere in spring 2016.