Bindi Irwin has spent her life in the spotlight. Since she was a baby, her father, beloved conservationist and television host Steve Irwin would bring her in front of the cameras and in front of audiences at their famed Australia Zoo. Although she was only eight years old when her father died in a tragic accident involving a stingray while shooting a movie, Bindi has carried on her father's legacy by being a champion for animals and continuing his work at The Australia Zoo. Bindi recently turned 21 years old and celebrated her milestone birthday by getting engaged to longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell. While the world feels they've grown up with the young animal rights activist, her longtime love isn't quite so well known. So who is the man who captured the heart of Bindi Irwin?
Powell popped the question to Bindi on July 24th, her twenty-first birthday, after dating for almost six years. He posted a sweet picture of them together on his Instagram page to announce their big news writing, "She said YES! Almost 6 years ago we met at Australia Zoo. I immediately fell head over heels for her kind and thoughtful heart that radiates so much light. Proposing in her very favorite place in the zoo, surrounded by animals, seemed like the perfect way to embark on this incredible new chapter in our lives. Bee, I love you more than anything in this world and I always will. Happy Birthday."
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She said YES! ❤️💍 Almost 6 years ago we met at Australia Zoo. I immediately fell head over heels for her kind and thoughtful heart that radiates so much light. Proposing in her very favorite place in the zoo, surrounded by animals, seemed like the perfect way to embark on this incredible new chapter in our lives. Bee, I love you more than anything in this world and I always will. Happy Birthday.
Although he currently lives in Australia, Powell is an American who hails from Seffner, Florida. He attended the University of Central Florida before finally deciding to move to Australia full time. Although his family still resides in Florida, Powell seems to have made Australia his permanent home.
Powell first met Irwin back in 2013 during a trip to Australia. The former professional wakeboarder was in Australia for an event and decided to take a trip to the Australia Zoo. Bindi happened to be leading his tour that day and he was smitten from the start. "It just so happened that Bindi was giving tours that day," he told People. "I'm like, 'Wow she is amazing.'"
Powell began his wakeboarding career in 2012 and quickly moved up the ranks, being described by the Tampa Bay Times as one of the best in the world at his sport. He started skateboarding when he was just three years old, and before he was even eight years old he had been sponsored by some of the sport's most prestigious brands. His dad took him to watch a wakeboarding competition when he was just 8 and he instantly fell in love.
After meeting Irwin during his tour of the zoo, Powell admits that he was eager to reconnect. "We stayed in touch and became great friends," Irwin told ET. "I can’t really say when it turned into more. It just evolved over time and bloomed into this wonderful thing," reports SheKnows.
The two kept in touch after Powell returned to Florida. He continued to compete and enrolled in the University of Central Florida, and the couple went public with their relationship in 2015. Powell decided it was time to make the permanent move to Australia in 2018. He now works alongside his fiancee and her family at the Australia Zoo where he is an active member of the Wildlife Warriors program, founded by Steve and Terri Irwin in 2002.
Chandler has hit it off with the entire Irwin family. "My brother approves," Bindi said of her then-boyfriend during an appearance on Dancing with The Stars. "I don’t know who loves him more – me or Robert." Mom Terri seems to be a fan too, posting her congratulations on Twitter and writing that her late husband would definitely approve of her future son-in-law.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Bindi revealed that she thought her father would have also really loved her future husband. "I hope he’d like Chandler. I think he would. I mean, Chandler’s wonderful," she said. "He’s always up for a challenge," she added. "From jumping on crocodiles to getting his little cocky bow tie on, you know he’s doing good. So, I hope dad would love Chandler. We all love him."
Bindi told Stellar Magazine that she feels that she and Chandler's relationship is very similar to the one between her mother and father. "He’s so kind and solid and always there for me," she said of Chandler. "I think it’s really rare to find that so early in life. My mum and dad always described their marriage as feeling like a special pair of old shoes — knowing you can always depend on someone. I know it’s the same with Chandler," she added. "At the end of the day, when I’m exhausted, he will be there even if I don’t have make-up on or my hair is crazy and I’ve been wearing the same shirt for three days."
Chandler worked with Bindi's brother Robert to come up with the perfect proposal for her 21st birthday, and the couple couldn't seem happier to be planning their future together.
The most beautiful surprise. Chandler & Robert worked together to capture the moment I said ‘YES’ in the gardens of Australia Zoo. Beyond perfect. I never knew Robert was there photographing & I’ll always be grateful to have these special memories of the best day of my life.❤️ pic.twitter.com/0fRD0DMhdd— Bindi Irwin (@BindiIrwin) July 25, 2019
"After Bindi’s birthday celebration at Australia Zoo, we had a photo shoot organized to celebrate her turning 21," Chandler told PEOPLE. "Just before we started the shoot, I took her to a special part of Australia Zoo to ask the girl of my dreams to become my wife. These past five years together have been the best of my life and we look forward to a lifetime of magical moments to come."
Bindi told the magazine that the former wakeboarder is everything she could ever imagine in a life partner. "He’s done so well, I think he’s passed the Irwin family khaki test," she said. "We’ve had him jumping on crocodiles and feeding alligators. I think I have found my one, and I’m so lucky,” she added. "He is always encouraging me to follow my dreams, reminding me to stand up for what I believe in. I’m truly proud of Chandler because he is always unbelievably kind and optimistic. He’s there [for me] no matter what."
Sounds like a match made in heaven! Congratulations to the happy couple!