Meet John Stainton — Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's Best Friend Who Witnessed His Death

He witnessed Irwin's death.

Who Is John Stainton? New Details On Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's Best Friend And Why He Had Falling Out With Family Instagram

John Stainton, the former producer and director of Steve Irwin’s show The Crocodile Hunter has addressed decade long rumors of a falling out between him and the Irwin family in a recent interview with the Daily Mail. Irwin died in 2006 when a stingray killed him during the filming of a documentary. Stainton was on the set of the tragic incident and witnessed Irwin’s death — which he described as distressing and shocking. Following the death of Steve Irwin, Stainton grew distant from the Irwin family and didn’t speak to them for 10 years. Stainton was reportedly very close to Steve and the Irwin family after working together for so long.


Back in 2006, Stainton shared with The Telegraph that, "He [Irwin] always pushed himself to the very limits but I thought he was invulnerable and I think he did too…I would never imagine it to come from something like a stingray."

According to News Hub, John Stainton was also the executive producer of the Animal Planet wildlife documentary series which helped Irwin’s rise to international fame in 1996.

So, who is John Stainton and what happened between him and the Irwin family? Read on to find out more.

1. He witnessed Irwin’s death.

According to the Daily Mail, "Stainton witnessed Irwin's death on September 4, 2006, when a serrated stingray barb pierced his heart during the filming of an underwater documentary in Queensland." Since Irwin’s death, he distanced himself from the Irwin family and fell out of touch with them.


A 2006 article from The Telegraph reported that Steve Irwin’s final moments were caught on tape and “showed him pulling a deadly serrated stingray barb out of his chest.” Stainton remarked the footage as deeply distressing and instructed that the footage be deleted so it wouldn’t circulate to the public. "It's shocking, it's a very hard thing to watch because you're witnessing somebody die and it's terrible,” Stainton said in 2006. "Steve came over the top of the ray and then the tail came up and spiked him. He pulled it out and the next minute he's gone."

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2. John and Irwin's widow were rumored to have a fling after his death.

According to The Sun, rumors circulated a year after Steve’s death that his wife, Terri, and John were dating. Both declared the rumors false and had a falling out over the years to come. John also told Daily Mail Australia that he remained in touch with the family for a little while to help secure Bindi's career in TV, via her show Bindi the Jungle Girl.

3. He stopped speaking to the Irwin family.

According to New Idea, Stainton shared, "My whole career was based around Steve and Bindi...I was doing other television at the same time, and I needed to concentrate more on that," he explained. "Yes, we parted company, we were going in different directions, that the only thing there. My job with Steve was finished." It makes sense that Stainton would inevitably move on to other work and seems to be the tabloids are blowing the whole thing out of proportion.


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4. There were no hard feelings toward the Irwin family.

It’s understandable why Stainton may have distanced himself from the Irwin family. I’m sure it was difficult to do much of anything after witnessing a death and believe he needed time to process the tragedy. According to Daily Mail, “TV producer said there was 'no animosity' when he stopped working with Irwins” and “'It (was) just the end of an era... We were just on different paths.'”

5. He hasn’t been to the Australian Zoo since Irwin’s death.

According to News Hub, Stainton hasn't returned been Australia Zoo owned by Irwin since 2009, when he left his job. People grieve in their own way and it must be difficult to do things you’re used to doing with someone who is no longer here, especially when you spent so much time working with them.


"It [was] just the end of an era," Stainton said in a Daily Mail interview.

6. He congratulated Irwin’s children on their latest achievements.

According to the News Hub, Stainton has always supported the Irwin children, Bindi and Robert, and even congratulated Bindi’s recent engagement to long-term partner Chandler Powell. "I wish them continued success and Bindi a very happy new life," he told the outlet.

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Elizabeth Ward is a writing student finishing her bachelor’s at the University of Louisville. She covers news, entertainment, relationships and everything in between.