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Obsessed with the Irwins: How Bindi fell for a fanboy

9The FIX logo 9The FIX 23/05/2016

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She might be crushing on Ruby Rose, but Bindi Irwin's relationship with boyfriend Chandler Powell is deeper than we thought.

It turns out that the pair have a freaky shared interest: The 19-year-old American wakeboarder absolutely loves Bindi's late dad, Steve Irwin!

According to his grandfather, Chandler has been an avid Crocodile Hunter enthusiast since he was a child.

"Chandler used to watch Steve Irwin's TV show all the time as a kid," John DiCenzo told Woman's Day, adding that his grandson "used to speak about Steve all the time. The show inspired him to have a wildlife party for all the kids in the neighbourhood, too."

"It's why people who know him – know his love of animals – just had their minds blown when they saw photos of him with Bindi when they got together."

Chandler's obsession with Steve was so intense that his family were concerned about the impact his shock 2006 death would have on their child. "We all knew how much he admired Steve. He was devastated," said John.

After meeting his idol's daughter on a 2014 trip to Australia Zoo, John says Chandler pursued Bindi by writing her old-school fan letters.

"When the two of them met he was obviously awfully impressed – enough that he wrote a letter to the zoo and said, 'Would it be all right if I wrote to her?'" he recalled.

"They really bonded because they both travel so much, and they talked about how to combine the travelling with school, something they're both very used to.

© Instagram/chandlerpowell After long-distance dating for 18 months, the pair apparently still keep their pen-pal status strong.

"Bindi likes writing letters just like Chandler – I guess that's old-fashioned with email and things these days. I think they talk every day they can. They use Skype, too," said John.

While Chandler attends university in Florida, 17-year-old Bindi is spending more and more time in the US as her star continues to rise since winning the American series of Dancing With The Stars  last year.

There has been talk of the Irwins permanently relocating to America to open an Australia Zoo theme park in Las Vegas. Could Chandler end up joining the family business?

"I'm sure working at the Australia Zoo would be his dream job," said John, adding: "It's one of those coincidences that's like, wow, you'd never have thought it."

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