Lijana Wallenda is set to give her first live high wire performance since her harrowing 2017 accident. Lijana will cross Times Square in New York without a safety net, as will her brother Nik. But is Lijana married? And if so, who is her husband?
Lijana is currently single, but she was married for many years to a fellow wire performer, Anthony Hernandez. According to Las Vegas Weekly, the couple first met when they were children. “We met when we were 6 and 8. Our families were performing at a circus together,” she said. “And then we re-met when I was 17 and he was 19 at the dollar movies—that’s where all the circus kids hung out. We’ve been together ever since.”
Lijana Is Single After Divorcing Her Husband Anthony ‘Tony Tightropes’ Hernandez
Anthony, who also goes by the stage name “Tony Tightropes”, says he was born into the circus. “My mother, Lissette, was adopted by a German circus owner. They made her do circus stuff,” he told Chicago Reader. “They were very abusive. This was during World War II–they toured Germany during the war. She has stories about seeing bodies just lying in the road. My father was [also] in the circus school in Cuba.”
Anthony has worked with other members of the Wallenda family. In the late 90s, he was asked to be a part of the family’s famous seven-man pyramid. “Growing up, you know the story of the seven man pyramid. But I’d never walked the high wire. Just the low wire in Lijana’s family’s backyard,” he recalled. “But they offered me a lot of money, and he said it would be great press and a lot of exposure.”
Lijana & Anthony Met When They Were Kids & Got Married In 1998
Lijana said that she was thrilled to have Anthony working alongside her family. “I thought it was awesome. I was excited for him to be part of my family.” She said. “I wanted him to do it.” Then she adds, “I was kind of sad because I wasn’t in [the pyramid] regularly. My dad, my mom, and my fiance were in it. But I was an alternate.” Lijana and Anthony got married on December 6, 1998.
On August 12, 2013, Anthony was placed in custody and charged with misdemeanor battery domestic violence after he reportedly tackled and punched Lijana. “During the dispute, Anthony tried to get (redacted) phone from her in order to retrieve photographs that he did not like on the phone,” an officer told the Las Vegas Sun.
They Divorced Following Anthony’s Arrest for Misdemeanor & Domestic Violence
“When (redacted) would not give up the phone, Anthony tackled her to the ground and punched her on the right side of her head,” the office added. “(Redacted) attempted to get away and said she hit him with a knee to the inner thigh. Anthony eventually got a hold of the phone and smashed it.” Lijana and Anthony divorced following the incident, though the exact date of their divorce is unknown.
Anthony is best known for his work with Almas Meirmanov and Paul Matthew Lopez, otherwise known as the Esteemed Gentlemen of the High Wire. They did thousands of shows at the Caesars Palace, but Anthony was let go from the act following the misdemeanor charge. In 2018, he published the coffee table book Circus Legends: Who They Were, Who They Are.