Terri Irwin, the widow of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, has been taking life “one minute at a time” since his death on Sept. 4, she says in a new interview.
Speaking with Barbara Walters for an episode of ABC’s 20/20, which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET, Irwin reveals that she learned of her husband’s death in a phone call from her brother-in-law. “I remember thinking, ‘Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it,’ ” she tells Walters. “I looked out the window and (daughter) Bindi was skipping, skipping along outside the window. And I thought, ‘Oh, my children.’ He wouldn’t have wanted to leave the children.”
Steve Irwin died when a stingray barb pierced his chest while he was filming on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Terri Irwin, his wife of 14 years, says she doesn’t blame him for what happened. “I knew it was an accident,” she says. “It was like running with a pencil. It was not a risk he was taking. It was not a superhuman feat. It was just an accident.”
Irwin says she has not seen footage of the stingray attack, nor does she want anyone to see it. Asked if it might ever be shown on TV, she replies, “Oh, it won’t be. No. No. What purpose would that serve?”
John Stainton, Steve’s longtime business partner and friend, who was with him on the day he died, adds: “It should never be aired. It’s just a horrible piece of film tape.”
In the three weeks since Steve’s death, Terri Irwin says she’s been living “one minute at a time, sometimes an hour at a time, with great faith, great determination.”
Her children – Bindi, 8, and Robert, almost 2 – are her priority, she says, although she’s also coming to terms with her own grief. “I’m really trying,” she says. “I’ve lost my prince.”
Her faith, she says, is keeping her strong: “I have tremendous faith in God that all things happen for a reason, even if we don’t understand. I have two beautiful children. And they really are my strength.”
Bindi, who is following in her father’s footsteps with a series being developed for the Discovery Network called Bindi the Jungle Girl, was inconsolable at first, Irwin says.
“She cried and cried and cried. And I said, We’re still a family. Daddy still loves you. And we have to stay together and get each other through this. We can understand the grief, and we can live with the grief. But we will not be victims of this grief. We will be wildlife warriors like Steve Irwin.”