Nik Wallenda and his family have been carrying out daredevil stunts for decades. Wallenda is a part of the famous “Flying Wallendas” family.
Years ago, Wallenda’s sister had a terrible accident while they were performing together. In an interview with the New York Post in 2019, Wallenda reflected on his sister’s accident, saying “She has 73 screws in her face alone. She still has pain in her heel. This is something she almost feels that she has to do. I think people will be inspired just to see her get back on the wire. Just to move on with life.” He also shared their plan for the walk: “She’ll sit down on the wire. And I will step over her and we’ll change places. After I step over her, she’ll get back up and continue walking.” He also said that he will walk downhill while she walks uphill, since it is “more uncomfortable to walk downhill.”
Ahead of the Wallenda siblings’ Times Square high-wire walk, here’s what you need to know about Nik Wallenda’s kids and family:
1. All 3 of Nik Wallenda’s Children Also Walk the Wire
Wallenda and his wife, Erendira, have three children together: Yanni, Amadeos, and Evita.
Wallenda started tightrope walking when he was 2 years old, and taught his children how to walk the wire, too (his website reminds fans that they have “DNA passed down from 25 generations of circus performers”).
Although the kids are trained to walk wires like the many generations that came before them, it does not seem that they will continue in their family’s famous footsteps. Wallenda told the New York Post “In 10 years, I’ll be ready to pass the torch. My sons are great wire walkers but the eldest, Yanni, is in the Marines. He’s 21. Amadeos is 18, but he goes into the Army on July 5.”
2. His Great-Grandfather Died in a Wire Walking Accident
According to his website bio, “For Nik, every walk is an expression of honor to his great grandfather, the legendary Karl Wallenda who brought the Wallendas to America for The Greatest Show on Earth. During the depression era, his crowning achievement was the seven-person chair pyramid: four men standing on a wire as two pairs with two more men standing on their shoulder bars holding a woman sitting, then standing on a chair at the top of the pyramid.”
Karl died in March 1978 at the age of 78, during a high wire walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is not the only family member the Wallendas have lost in a high wire accident: according to CBS News, Karl’s sister-in-law fell to her death in 1945. Karl’s son Mario was paralyzed in a fall.
3. He Proposed to His Wife During a High-Wire Performance
Nik and his wife Erendira have been married since 2000; Erendira is an aerialist.
In 2015, Erendira appeared on Say Yes to the Dress to pick out a dress for her vow renewal with Nik. According to People, she revealed during the episode that her proposed in 1999 “on a wire in front of 32,000 people.”
This past Mother’s Day, Nik wished a Happy Mother’s Day to his mom, as well as “my amazing wife Erendira @flyingwendybird who has dedicated the last 21 years of her life to raising our 3 incredible children.”
4. Nik Wallenda Lives in Bradenton With His Family
The Wallenda siblings were rehearsing for a Circus Sarasota performance when the accident that injured Lijana occurred. They rehearsed for their Times Square walk back in Sarasota, Florida at that same site, and according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the rehearsals were free to the public to observe as the city’s famous siblings trained for their televised event.
It is understandable that Nik Wallenda is associated with Sarasota, but according to the Bradenton Herald, Wallenda and his family have lived in Bradenton since 2006. In 2013, a local from Bradenton told them “”He may work in Sarasota, but he lives here, so it may not be fair we’re not getting due credit. That high-wire act he does in downtown Sarasota would be nice if he did it in Bradenton. Maybe Blake. Maybe the Judicial Center and the County Building. They’re not as flashy, but they’re big buildings.”
His son Amadaos graduated from Sarasota Military Academy last month; his Instagram bio says that he is “SMA 19.”
5. He Says His Walk in Times Square Is a Tribute to His Family & Their History
CBS News reports that the Flying Wallendas, also known as the Great Wallendas, “trace their fearless roots to 1780 Austria-Hungary, when ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers and trapeze artists.”
Wallenda told ABC News “In 1928, my family performed at Madison Square Garden in the City of Dreams for the first time in the USA. And on June 23, I have the great opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of my own by paying homage to that performance as we return for my most exhilarating feat yet. I am beyond excited to be able to walk with my sister, Lijana, as she overcomes near-death injuries and continues the Wallenda tradition of never giving up!”
Of the experience preparing to walk above Times Square with his sister, Nik told The Hollywood Reporter “It’s been overwhelming, but luckily I live by the words ‘never give up’ because I wanted to about 10 times during this process.”
READ NEXT: Is Ryan Eggold Married? Does He Have a Wife?