Bindi Irwin Needs to Prove Steve Irwin is Dead to Receive DWTS Money

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Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, has been lighting up the dance floor on “Dancing With the Stars.” But, she’s also run into some problems with her contract on the show–a judge won’t let her legally receive the money she’s earned from the show unless she can prove her father is dead.

Irwin, 17, is a minor. Technically speaking that means that any money she earns as a result of her performance on the show goes to her parents. Her surviving mother, Terri Irwin, has already signed a release that entitles her daughter to the money in her own right. But an L.A. Superior Court judge is saying that she needs to provide the same release from her father–or proof that he died.

Irwin’s incredibly famous father, Steve, passed away as the result of an accident with a stingray in 2006. His death was widely covered and is under no circumstances a point of contention. While it won’t be hard for her to prove that he is, in fact, deceased, the entire bizarre case is making headlines due to the highly publicized nature of his death. As TMZ put it: “It’s unclear if the judge is unaware Steve died in 2006, or if she’s just a stickler for a death certificate.”

Public reaction to the news has been mixed–while some are highly sympathetic for the young woman who lost her father at a very young age, others are pointing out that it’s a basic legal requirement that she should have no problem fulfilling.

Either way, there’s a lot of cash on the line for Irwin. By just appearing on the show, she’s guaranteed $125,000, and then gets more money for each week she successfully avoids elimination. Making it through Weeks 3 and 4 gave her another $10,000 each week, Week 5 was $15,000, Weeks 6 and 7 were worth $20,000 each, and Weeks 8 and 9 are worth $30,000 apiece. Given that she’s made it through Week 8, so far she’s racked up $230,000. If she makes it through this week she’ll earn another $30,000, and Weeks 10 and 11 are worth $50,000 each.

Irwin’s close relationship with her late father has, at points, been an important reference on the show. During the Week 4, she choose the song “Every Breath You Take” for a contemporary dance dedicated to her father with show partner Derek Hough.

While this blip with her contract is certainly unfortunate and definitely odd, Irwin is clearly a young woman with a lot of talent–she’ll probably continue to go far on the show and keep racking up that cash.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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