Robert Irwin and girlfriend Rorie Buckey have parted ways

The Wildlife Warrior and niece of Heath Ledger dated for just over a year.

Robert Irwin and Rorie Buckey have sadly parted ways. The former-couple announced the news on February 16, 2024, in a joint-statement which read:

“We wanted to share that we have decided to go our separate ways but profoundly appreciate all the time spent together and wish one another all the very best into the future.

“We wish to express the gratitude and respect we have for one another as we continue our journeys on different paths,” it continued.

“We won’t be commenting further on this, and really appreciate your respect and privacy at this time.”

Read on to see Robert and Rorie’s complete relationship timeline…

Who is Robert Irwin dating?

Kept busy at Australia Zoo, it seemed unlikely that Steve Irwin’s son would have time to date. Then, in November 2022, Robert was spotted on a Queensland beach with 18-year-old Rorie, who is the niece of the late Heath Ledger. Rorie then joined Robert for his birthday at the Australia Zoo crocodile show. His mother, Terri Irwin, 59, was also present.

What confirmed a romance between the pair was Robert and Rorie’s red carpet appearance in July 2023. The teenagers attended the Australian premiere of Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One together.

Celebrity couple debuts on red carpets are as old as Hollywood, and will never cease to spark enjoyment from pop culture fans. There was Victoria and David Beckham in the 90s, Isla Fisher and Sasha Baron Cohen in the noughties, and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban five years later.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Rorie Buckley and Robert Irwin  attends the Australian premiere of "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" on July 03, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Robert and Rorie veered into the speculation storm by posting couple photos to their respective Instagram accounts. His photo came first, posing outside in the sun with Rorie. It garnered characteristic enthusiasm and support from his older sister, Bindi Irwin, 25, who commented: “Love you both!”

Support flew in fast from recognisable names such as Magda Szubanski and Rove McManus. This was quickly overshadowed by heartbroken hopeful suitors of Robert. But the teenager’s fans had limited time to wipe their tears and claim he had broken their hearts (“congrats though,” some graciously wrote) before Rorie shared her own post.

Calling Robert her “adventure buddy,” Rorie elicited another approving comment from Bindi, who wrote “You guys” with some yellow heart emojis.  

The romance between Robert and Rorie was further confirmed when he publicly professed his love for her in September 2023. Rorie took to Instagram to share a photo of her and Robert in New York City, which she captioned, “R&R take on NYC!!”

Rorie Buckey formal, Credit: Facebook

Robert quickly commented on the post and wrote, “I love you!!!”

Then in October 2023, Rorie posted the image below of her and Robert travelling around Tasmania on Instagram, and got Terri Irwin’s seal of approval.

“Such a beautiful couple in my favourite place on Earth!” Terri commented.

Bindi also shared a family photo including Rorie to Instagram on October 10, and in the caption, described her as, “My brother’s gorgeous girlfriend… [The] sweetest soul, beautiful friend, I love her dearly and you’ll usually see Grace just following her around because she adores her.”

In November 2023, Robert spoke openly about his relationship with Rorie during an appearance on the Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie radio show.

“I feel like life is amazing right now and [I’m] very very happy,” Robert said. He then added, once asked by Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli how serious he and Rorie are on a scale out of ten, “Love is not a numbers game, you just feel it.”

Something that was clearly evident when the couple walked the red carpet at GQ Australia‘s Men Of The Year Awards in early December.

Everything we know about Robert Irwin’s ex-girlfriend, Rorie Buckey

Rorie Buckey is the daughter of Heath Ledger’s sister Kate, owner of a design and media productions company, and Nathan Buckey, owner of a floor coverings store. She has a twin sister, Scarlett.  

The twins thrived academically at their Perth-based all-girls private school, Penrhos College, receiving distinction accolades from Western Australia’s education board. Now, Rorie is studying a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy at Curtin University. 

Despite her connection to Heath Ledger having pushed her into the public eye, Rorie has remained relatively private. Her mother, Kate, has shared the impact the actor left on their family following his accidental prescription drug overdose.

“Heath is hugely important in the lives of my children,” Kate told WHO in 2018. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t share stories or talk about him. He is very much alive in our house.”

Robert Irwin’s dating history

Robert has kept tight-lipped about his love life in the past, not confirming any rumoured romances. He did, however, admit that Bindi has long been wanting him to find a love equivalent to what she has with her husband, Chandler Powell, 26, – albeit, so she can escape the harsh media spotlight.

“Bindi always says, ‘Robert, it’s your turn now. You gotta find someone to take the heat off me!’” he told E!News in 2022.

While the broken hearts and “that should be me” comments on his post with Rorie prove that Robert had his romantic options, most fans did little more than message him on Instagram to request a date. That was until American tourist Megan Grass visited Australia Zoo in 2022 and decided to ask Robert out… the old fashioned way.

Rorie Buckey and Robert Irwin, Credit: Instagram

“I think you’re so cool and I was wondering if I could have your number,” she said, in front of an audience no less.

A flattered, if slightly red, Robert thanked Megan before swiftly changing the conversation and asking where she was from. He then referred her to his Instagram messages, no doubt inciting many other hopefuls to whip out their phones and send him a date request. 

When asked about the interaction in a profile with Stellar, Robert’s measured response was rooted in equal parts charm and deflection.

“While I wasn’t able to give out my personal details, I really appreciated having a conversation with someone who definitely had a great interest and passion for the Zoo and my message,” he said. “If they’re not ready to don that khaki and go feed crocs? Mate, it’s not happening!”

Related stories