Nik Wallenda's Cousin Says 2017 High-Wire Stunt Left Sister Barely Able to Walk

Playing Wallenda Family Share Their Sides of What Happened During Circus Stunt Fall

A feud is erupting between members of America’s leading stunt family. 

In 2017, Nik Wallenda and his family were trying to perform an eight-person pyramid on a high wire with no net below. Five people fell 30 feet and were seriously injured, including his cousin Rietta and sister Lijana, who landed on her face. Nik and two other men were able to hold on to the wire.   

“Lijana broke every bone in her face. She now has 73 screws holding it back in place,” Nik told Inside Edition. 

But now, a feud is erupting within the legendary circus family. Rick Wallenda, Nik’s cousin and Rietta's brother, said the full story about what happened since the day of the accident has not been told.

“It's horrific to hear him say that everyone is OK when we know, when we see my sister on a daily basis. She can barely walk,” he said. 

His sister, Rietta, was near the top of the pyramid when she plummeted to the ground. He said Nik is painting too rosy a picture of her medical situation and gave Inside Edition video as evidence.

But Nik insists Rietta is well on the road to recovery. He said she was even able to get back on the wire with him recently. He showed Inside Edition cellphone video he says is her doing a challenging spin. 

Rick said his sister had to sue Nik to get her hospital bills paid. Nik said he is not allowed to talk about the case. 

But Nik is not letting the family drama get in the way of his next big feat.   

On June 23, he’ll walk on a wire across Times Square in New York City, 25 stories high. The wire will be strung from where the famous New Year's ball is dropped at 1 Times Square to 2 Times Square at the other end of the Crossroads of the World.

Lijana will join him, making this her first walk since the disaster in 2017 in Sarasota, Florida.

"I went to her and I said, 'Lijana, would you like to be a part of this?' She started crying actually, she said, 'It is a dream come true, it is something I would love to do,'" Nik told Inside Edition. 

As for the family feud, Nik said, "Families are families. There is always that one; well, we have about five."  

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