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'The Blind Side': The Real Family Behind the Classic Football Movie

Michael Oher went from foster care to becoming an NFL first-round draft pick, an inspirational story that was the basis of the Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side. Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman who met Oher when he was in high school and helped make his football career possible. 

Oher grew up in a family of twelve children. His father was in prison and his mother was an addict. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Oher was placed in foster care when he was just seven years old. He ended up playing football in his freshman year of high school and was encouraged to apply to the private school Briarcrest Christian School. 

After Oher was accepted to the school and the football team, he was still floating around foster homes. He became a family addition to the Tuohy's, who committed to hiring a tutor to boost his grades.  It's almost hard to believe that Hollywood made the film about real people, but the Tuohy family is very real — and similar to how they were portrayed in the hit film.

Michael Oher, Portrayed by Quinton Aaron

Collins Tuohy

ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Quinton Aaron portrayed Michael Oher in the film adaptation of his life story. The film became a box office hit and viewers were moved by Oher's story. After playing for Ole Miss, Oher was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. He also played for the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers. Oher has an estimated net worth of $15 million.

Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, Portrayed By Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw 

Collins Tuouy


Sean played basketball for at the University of Mississippi, which ultimately leads Oher to want to play for Ole Miss as well. Country star Tim McGraw portrays Sean on the big screen. Michael Lewis' 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, centered on Sean and his wife Leigh Anne, who was an Ole Miss varsity cheerleader and a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority, ultimately inspired the hit film. Sean has been a broadcaster for the NBA team the Memphis Grizzlies since 2001. 

The Tuohy are the owners and co-owners of numerous fast-food franchise locations including Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's. Leigh Anne is also an interior designer and wrote the best-seller In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving (published in 2010) with her husband. The couple is also on the board of the Making It Happen Foundation, their own family philanthropy that serves underprivileged children.  

Read More: The 10 Best High School Football Movies of All Time

Collins Tuohy Smith, Portrayed By Lily Collins

Collins Tuohy

YouTube/zz/John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx

Oher's adoptive sister Collins Tuohy was portrayed on the big screen by Phil Collins' daughter, actress Lily Collins. Collins might have initially been hesitant about her new brother Michael, but ultimately he becomes a close friend and member of the family. 

Collins was a state champion pole vaulter and a high school cheerleader. She went on to study broadcast journalism at the University of Mississippi and has been married to Cannon Smith since 2016.

S.J. Tuohy, Portrayed By Jae Head

Collins Tuohy


Oher's youngest brother, S.J., Sean Tuohy Jr., followed in his father's footsteps and went on to play basketball for the Loyola Greyhounds in Maryland. He was recently named assistant athletic director of football operations at Liberty University. He was portrayed by actor Jae Head in the feature film.

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