She may have won Dancing with the Stars, but Bindi Irwin left the competition with more than just a mirror ball trophy and some flashy moves. In an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly, the 17-year-old has opened up about how the show helped heal some of the anxieties she had following the death of her father, Steve.
Bindi told Women's Weeky that following the death of her father, the man she calls her "superhero," she began to really fear losing her remaining family, such as her mother, Terri, and brother, Bob. The teen told the magazine:
"It was really bad when I was younger, now I just have this sense that I want to protect them, so it's always 'be safe' and 'I love you.'
When your superhero dies, that's really scary. The strongest person has been taken away, so what about everyone else?"
Bindi was just 8 years old when her father, animal conservationist Steve Irwin was tragically killed in a freak accident while filming.
Irwin calls her two month stint on DWTS "a form of therapy," including some of the more intense routines that she, and dance partner Derek Hough dedicated to her late father – including that very emotional dance in the season finale that helped her snatch the trophy.
Bindi firmly believes that the TV show has completely changed her life, healing a lot of old wounds she has carried with her since the age of 8, sharing:
"It changed my life, because I was able to close those chapters that I'd never really been able to close before. It really gave me an opportunity to say, 'Okay, I can be at peace with it, and I'm okay.'"
Aside from the show, Bindi also thanked her boyfriend, wakeboarder Chandler Powell. Irwin called her beau an "old-fashioned gentleman," and mentioned that he was the first person to really understand her demanding lifestyle, saying, "I think that's why I love him so much, because he gets my world."