Steve and Terri Irwin

In 2006, “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died tragically at age 44 when a stingray impaled him through the heart. Beloved by millions of fans for his work with animals, it was a story that captured the world’s attention and broke countless hearts. 300 million watched his memorial service from the Australia Zoo.

No one was more heartbroken than Irwin’s family.

“I think perhaps it won’t be until I’ve passed on from this life that I will understand,” widow Terri Irwin told 20/20’s Barbara Walters after her husband’s death. “But if I don’t believe that I would feel too hopeless.”

Terri says their children had a very hard time coping with Steve’s death, and part of the process was watching videos of him at work.

“Some people put photo albums and things away,” she said. “For me, personally, I have this sense of carrying on as if he were still here. It’s never felt strange.”

Terri says “the children don’t burst into tears — it feels kind of comforting to see him and hear his voice.”

Terris says the silence is often the hardest part, and that the most the difficult time is “when I come back in the house and it’s so quiet.”

Terri Irwin hasn’t dated since Steve’s death

Irwin’s widow is an American but calls Australia home. Though Steve told her that if anything should happen to him, he would want her to remarry, Terris says she hasn’t been able to move in that direction all these years later.

“There’s always the potential to find love again, and that’s a beautiful thing…but I had my happily ever after,” she said in 2018, “So I’m doing okay.”

In 2007, Terri “determined that life is going to be good, particularly for my kids.”

She added, more hopeful at the time about her personal relationship prospects, “there will never be another Steve Irwin, but I think I can try.”

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