© 2018 American Chemical Society. The hydroxypyridinone ligand 3,4,3-LI(1,2-HOPO) is a promising agent for biological decorporation of radionuclides, and allows spectroscopic detection of many lanthanide (Ln) and actinide (An) species via sensitized luminescence. Despite the manifest uses of this ligand, the structural and thermodynamic properties of its complexes across the An series remain understudied. Theoretical investigations of the binding of An(III) and An(IV) ions, from actinium to einsteinium, by the 3,4,3-LI(1,2-HOPO) ligand, as well as experimental extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) studies on the trivalent americium, curium, and californium complexes were employed to address the resulting structures, thermodynamic parameters, redox properties, and corresponding electronic configurations. An(IV) ions were found to form much stronger complexes than An(III) ions, consistent with experimental measurements. Complexation of both An(III) and An(IV) ions generally becomes more favorable for heavier actinides, reflecting increased energy degeneracy driven covalency and concomitant orbital mixing between the 5f orbitals of the An ions and the π orbitals of the ligand. Notably, the ability of this ligand to either accept or donate electron density as needed from its pyridine rings is found to be key to its extraordinary stability across the actinide series.