Chandler Powell proposed to Bindi Irwin after six years of dating
“On my birthday I said ‘yes’ & ‘forever’ to the love of my life,” Bindi wrote on Twitter, along with photos of the stunning ring on her finger from their photo shoot at Australia Zoo. “Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you & every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure & true happiness. Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose & unconditional love.”
But who is her future husband?
Powell grew up in Florida with a passion for sports since age 4. According to his website, he learned how to wakeboard when he was 12 years old, and by age 15, he was competing professionally.
Powell traveled around the world to countries such as China, Philippines, Australia, and Thailand to compete, and from there, he gained a passion for traveling. During a trip to Australia in 2013, he met the girl that would quickly become the love of his life.
He met Bindi while visiting the Irwin family-owned Australian Zoo, and the attraction between the two was instant.
“It just so happened that Bindi was giving tours that day,” he recalled to PEOPLE in December 2018. “I’m like, ‘Wow she is amazing,'” adding that they “hit it off right away.”
Powell is a nature enthusiast, which made it easy for him to fit into the famous Irwin family.
“He loves wildlife and conservation and he has this strength,” Bindi told PEOPLE. “Which is necessary when you’re jumping on crocs.”
Bindi’s younger brother, Robert, 15, took on the role as protective big brother when he first met Powell, but he soon realized Powell was the perfect guy for his sister.
“One of the first times Chandler came to the zoo I wanted to kind of test him,” Robert said. “Just to see what would happen. So we had him feeding alligators and he did awesome. I’m very impressed. He’s great with wildlife so I approve.”
Powell attended college at the University of Central Florida as a marketing major with a minor in international business, all the while balancing his wakeboarding career and relationship with Bindi.
According to his website, Powell gave up professional wakeboarding in 2016. Two years later, he permanently relocated to Australia to live with the Irwin family and began working at Australia Zoo in Queensland with Bindi.
“I’ve got my khaki on and I am loving it!” he told PEOPLE in 2018 of his move to the Land Down Under.
Powell settled comfortably into life in Australia, and despite the couple insisting in December that they weren’t ready for marriage yet, he popped the question after six years together.
In his own engagement announcement on Instagram, Powell opened up about their sweet love story.
“She said YES!” he began. “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.”
“I’ve met my soulmate and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Chandler,” Irwin told PEOPLE following her engagement. “We’ve been together for nearly 6 years now and he’s my happily ever after.”