The True Story of Michael Oher and "The Blind Side" (2023)

Miguel Oherperhaps the single Super Bowl champion more famous for being a movie character than, well, for being a Super Bowl champion football player.

After all, it's hard to outshineSandra Bullock.

Before spending eight years in the NFL, Oher was one of the subjects of acclaimed author Michael Lewis' 2006 book.The blind side: developing a game, and then the sole focus of its stage adaptation,the blind side. Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, the film follows Oher's journey from the time he was a homeless teenager to the time he was a Division I All-American left fielder for Ole Miss. A smash hit, grossing over $300 million at the box office, the film earned Bullock an Academy Award, but it took some liberties with the details of Oher's life story. In some ways, the real story is even more incredible than what is shown in the movie.

Oher's birth parents were addicted to trouble.

Oher was born in 1986, in the midst of the crack epidemic that was plaguing the inner cities of the United States. He was one of 12 children born to a mother who fell victim to the cheap and extremely addictive narcotic, which set him on a difficult path from the start. His father disappeared early while his mother Denisebattled addiction for many years.

“When my mom was off drugs and working, she would remember to go shopping and there would be a mad rush to get what she could before someone else came along,” she said.he wrotein her 2014 memoir. The problem was that she rarely gave up drugs and worked, so Oher was aNomad from an early age. Child Support Services pulled him and his siblings out of his mother's house when Oher was finishing first grade, hopping between foster homes, friends' couches and anywhere he could find a warm spot to rest.

With little adult supervision or stability, Oher barely made it to school: he repeated first and second grades, attended nine different schools over 11 years, and missed dozens of days of school each year, even as he moved on to the next grade. . . EITHERthe most stable house I hadhe was in a housing project called Hurt Village, where he lived from the age of 11 until he entered high school.

When he was 15 years old, Oher chatted with a local sports programming director named Tony Henderson, who had an extra room in his house. Oher was already six feet tall and weighed 350 pounds, whichmade him a first class recruitfor drug dealers looking for some muscle mass. He was less in demand at prestigious private schools, but when Tony took his son Steven to the local Christian school in Briarcrest, Big Mike, as he was known, followed him anyway.

"He wasn't a troublesome kid or anything, you know?" Henderson later saidabc news. "He was very quiet, you know, and he kept to himself."

In fact, he was so quiet that the Briarcrest recording team couldn't find any real reason to accept him, let alone offer him a scholarship. Having spent his life simply getting by, getting into an expensive private school wasn't really on Oher's radar. He hardly spoke during the interviews, his reading comprehension level was closer to elementary school, and tests showed that he had an IQ that was barely in the 80s.

(Video) There's a Good Reason Why the True Story behind -The Blind Side- Was Kept Hidden until Now

The True Story of Michael Oher and "The Blind Side" (1)

Michael Oher is with his family during graduation ceremonies before an Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs in November 2008.

A chance visit to a prestigious private school changed his life...

Still, the high school football coach was interested in Oher, not just as a prospect for the team, but as a redemption story. This was a kid who never got half a chance, he told the school's president and principal, advocating a major exception to the typical admissions process. Feeling sympathetic, the principal, Steve Simpson, issued Oher a challenge: improve his grades at another private school and he could attend the much more prestigious Briarwood next semester.

Within months, Simpson had a change of heart and accepted Oher into his school. But coming to Briarwood was not a panacea and brought no immediate change. The boy was out of place, shy, clumsy and very late.

It was then that the cinema and real life began to diverge. In reality, Oher was couch surfing with his classmates and foster families in his early school years and played three sports (basketball, track and soccer) before meeting the Tuohy clan in 2003. Oher, played by Quinton Aaron, is homeless and has nothing to do with athletics until he is taken in by a very rich and generous family.

The Tuohy areconservative christiansand Oher to gain attention in their community, but it quickly became second nature, even if it didn't work out as the movie suggested.

(Video) What Really Happened To Michael Oher From The Blind Side? (Why He Hated His Own Movie)

emthe blind side, Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, the outspoken family matriarch and wife of Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), former college basketball star and wealthy fast food businessman. The film posits that his son S.J. with Oher being the catalyst for his involvement in his life, when in reality it was Sean noticing Oher at the edge of the gym that triggered his involvement.

It's a small point, but one that recurs throughout the film and caused major disagreement on Oher's part about how his story played out on the big screen. Just like in real life, the fictional Oher in high school football eventually becomes a force of nature, but how that happened and the timing of his development was a real sticking point.

"I felt like it was portraying me as stupid rather than a kid who never received consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving when he did," Oher said.he wroteIn his 2014 memoirs,beat the odds. “Quinton Aaron did a great job in the role, but I couldn't understand why the director cast me as someone who needs to be taught how to play soccer. Whether S.J. walking between bottles of ketchup or Leigh Anne explaining to me what confinement is, he would look at those scenes and think: 'No, it's not me! I have studied the game, really have, since he was a child! That was my biggest problem with the movie.

The True Story of Michael Oher and "The Blind Side" (2)

Michael Oher poses for a photo with his family at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City.

The dominance of soccer opened new doors

Shortly after Sean met Oher, he set up a permanent account for her at the cafeteria so she could eat lunch every day. Finally, on Thanksgiving weekend, the Oher family's paths crossed, walking alone in the rain wearing only shorts and going nowhere in particular. They took him in for the weekend, an arrangement that soon became permanent.

(Video) What Happened to Michael Oher from “The Blindside”?

A tutor was hired. New clothes were bought. told leigh anneO New York Timesbluntly that she was raised by a racist father to be racist, but left that backwards upbringing behind as an adult and had children of her own, including a high-ranking daughter named Collins School at the same time as Oher. After some initial awkwardness, Oher became a full member of the Tuohy family.

Soccer scouts scour the country in search of the best talent, driving hundreds of thousands of miles in their cars as they head to cities off the beaten track in response to a strange report or rumor about a youngster with some talent. Given his lack of formal education or athletic training, Oher had virtually no reputation when he started playing soccer at Briarcrest, but that soon changed: As he honed his game on the soccer field, it became clear he was something special. .

Universities from across the South applied in the spring of 2004 hoping to hire him. famous trainerslater appeared in the film as themselves, highlighting the great interest in Oher's potential. He was a First Team preseason All-American at left tackle, perhaps the most important non-quarterback position on the offensive side of the ball.

Oher was closer to coach Hugh Freeze than the movie suggests.after spending a long timewith him and his family on and off the field. He even once said that Freeze's daughters are "like my sisters," a sign of how many families were dying to take him in. (Freezelater resigned as head coach of Ole Missafter a personal scandal, though Oher was after him too).

Oher became a soccer star in college.

Both Tuohys went to the University of Mississippi, which made it difficult for Oher to decide, at least in the eyes of the NCAA, to follow in their footsteps. His academic performance, uneven at best due to years of struggle and lack of formal education, initially made it difficult for him to attend school. But with some correspondence courses and tutoring, he was able to improve his grades enough to graduate and be admitted to school.

He was an instant hit: first-team freshman All-American his junior year, second and then first-team All-SEC his sophomore and junior years, and finally aFirst team All-Americanin his senior year of 2008.

At the time, her backstory wasn't relevant to her gaming skills, which clearly stood out on their own. Lewis's book was released in 2006, while the movie hit theaters in 2009, shortly after Oher was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round (23rd overall).

In fact, the movie spotlight has frustrated him throughout his career. It's hard enough to get into the NFL and stay in the league without the added pressure of an Academy Award-winning movie about his life to draw international attention to his rookie season.

The True Story of Michael Oher and "The Blind Side" (3)

Sandra Bullock with Leigh Anne Tuohy inthe blind sideBenefiz opened at the Prytania Theater on November 19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

(Video) The Epic Journey of NFL's Michael Oher

For the attention ofthe blind sideoften overshadowed his NFL career

The film would follow him throughout his career, which had its ups and downs. Getting to the NFL is extremely difficult, and staying in the league for more than a few years is extremely rare - career averagejust a shadow for three years, and not all of the time, if any, is usually spent being part of a winning team.

"People look at me and take things from me for a movie," he said.called2015, just before the end of his career. "They really don't see the skills and the type of player that I am. That's why I get relegated so many times, for something off the field. This calling me broke, people saying if I can play or not... it has nothing to do with the football. Off the pitch it's different. That's why I don't like this movie."

Not that he didn't have his hits, of course: Oher won a Super Bowl start with the Ravens in 2013 and went on to another Super Bowl in 2016. He played in the NFL for eight years, which is a great career for anyone, and much less for someone who came from his origin. The Ravens got more than they could ask of a player at the end of the first round.

Ultimately, Oher was fired by the Carolina Panthers in the summer of 2017 due to his issues withpost cerebral concussion syndrome, which ended up spelling the end of his NFL career. Today he is a public speaker and advocate.


What is the true story Behind The Blind Side? ›

The Real Blind Side - The Knoxville Focus. Many of you probably saw a block buster movie a few years ago called The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. The movie tells the true story of Michael Oher, a traumatized kid who goes on to become a first round NFL draft pick with the help of Leigh Anne Tuohy and her family.

Does Michael Oher still speak to the Tuohys? ›

Michael Oher ties knot with his longtime girlfriend

Even though he has begun a new relationship now, he still remains close to the Tuohy family.

How close is The Blind Side to the real story? ›

The Blind Side isn't completely accurate in its portrayal of his high school background, even though he had his share of academic difficulties. Before meeting the Tuohy family, Oher was depicted in the movie as a sad student who wasn't active in sports and had no specific interests.

What happened to Michael Oher and the Tuohy family? ›

With the support of the Tuohy family, Michael eventually went on to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a professional football player. Even now, almost two decades later, 36-year-old Michael Oher maintains a strong relationship with the Tuohy family.

What did the Tuohys think of The Blind Side? ›

The Tuohys, who were the inspiration behind the 2009 Oscar winning film, The Blind Side, have polarised sentiments about the film, as Michael Oher dislikes the film. The Blind Side is the critically acclaimed 2009 film that earned lead actress, Sandra Bullock, her win for Best Actress in Leading Role in 2010.

Why did Sandra Bullock turn down The Blind Side? ›

Sandra Bullock kept turning down her role in 'The Blind Side' because she was unsure she could do the role justice.

Did The Blind Side ruin Michael Oher's career? ›

Panthers' Michael Oher says 'The Blind Side' hurt his career, he doesn't like the movie. The 2009 hit movie "The Blind Side," which gave Sandra Bullock an Oscar, isn't as well received by the man the film is about.

How are the Tuohys rich? ›

Tuohy and his wife owned 115 fast food franchises, including those of Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's, but currently own 11, having sold the majority in six separate transactions. Tuohy has also been a broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA since 2001.

Did Michael Oher get paid for The Blind Side? ›

In addition to football, Michael also earns royalties from the movie The Blind Side.

Was the car accident in The Blind Side true? ›

The car accident was on a different street. But the scene where Michael Oher stops an air bag from hitting their son wasn't embellished. "That's 100 percent accurate,” Sean said. "The car behind them was someone from the basketball team.

How much is the Tuohy family estate worth? ›

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Leigh Anne Tuohy is worth an estimated $50 million in 2022. Along with her husband's estimated net worth of $25 million, that's a pretty penny for The Blind Side family.

What does Michael Oher do today? ›

But Oher continues to amaze many even after retirement by helping local communities via his Oher Foundation. Since his retirement, Oher has used his platform and status to provide assistance to different communities that are struggling to make ends meet.

Why was Michael Oher not happy with The Blind Side? ›

Although The Blind Side was a commercial success that won over audiences, the real-life inspiration couldn't get behind the film. Oher admitted to ESPN that he didn't like the film because of how it negatively affected his football career, attributing it to why he was "downgraded" so much.

Does Michael Oher get along with the Tuohy family? ›

Collins Tuohy Smith shares a famously close bond with her adopted brother Michael Oher, as she helped him adjust to his new family and school during his younger years. Michael was even her escort when she was her high-school's homecoming queen!

How many Taco Bells do the Tuohys own? ›

He decided to keep 11 Taco Bell's to help fill the void after years of building his empire.

Are Sandra Bullock and Leigh Anne Tuohy friends? ›

The two got to be close friends and, on the night of the Oscars, the Tuohys sat four rows behind Bullock, when she was named Best Actress.

Did Sandra Bullock meet Leigh Anne Tuohy? ›

Leigh Anne Tuohy says Bullock came to 'hang out' at her house. “So she came and hung out,” Tuohy said of Bullock. “We spent days together and I didn't know that this was a tryout. I didn't know she was investigating.” But, Tuohy's ignorance on the real purpose of Bullock's visit meant that she was just herself.

What is the main problem in The Blind Side? ›

Racism and Outsiderness

Throughout The Blind Side, Michael Oher is an outsider. Thanks to the persistence of a father figure, Big Tony, Michael becomes one of the only black students at Briarcrest Christian Academy. He's also the biggest kid at Briarcrest by far, and he comes from an impoverished inner-city family.

Did Tim McGraw and Sandra Bullock get along? ›

"They got along great. They got to talk about antiques and houses, which is one of Faith's favorite subjects. Her and Sandy got along great."

How much did Sandra Bullock get paid for The Blind Side? ›

Bullock took home $20 million for her Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side—and that golden statue worked wonders for her future paychecks. In addition to her $20 million advance for Gravity, Bullock received 15 percent of the film's box-office profits, making her total income about $75 million.

Who turned down the role in The Blind Side? ›

Sandra Bullock repeatedly turned down her Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side, she has revealed. The heart-warming tale, based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, tells the story of devout Christian mother-of-two Leigh Anne Tuohy, who takes homeless black student Michael Oher (Aaron Quinton) under her wing.

Does Sandra Bullock know Michael Oher? ›

He's not the only one the actress stayed in touch with. Bullock and the Tuohy family also formed a relationship. She has even been spotted sitting next to them on the sidelines, cheering on Oher.

Is Michael Oher married today? ›

Former NFL player Michael Oher has married his longtime love, Tiffany Roy.

Why did Michael Oher retire? ›

He was in a position to try and make the Carolina Panthers' roster in 2017, but he failed the initial physical. After this blow, Oher decided that he wouldn't be able to make a return to football. The Panthers released him and he announced his retirement, electing to focus on non-footballing pursuits.

How old was Michael Oher when he met Leigh Anne Tuohy? ›

Michael was 16-years-old when Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy welcomed him into their home.

How many franchises do the Tuohys own? ›

Tuohy's Franchise Portfolio & Deal Terms

115 Taco Bell's and KFC's. 7 Freddy's Frozen Custard franchises. The underlying real estate on 64 of the locations.

What happened to Leigh Anne Tuohy? ›

Tuohy and her husband once owned 115 fast food franchises of Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken, but as of 2020 owned 11, having sold the majority in six separate transactions. Tuohy is an interior designer.

How old was Michael Oher in The Blind Side movie? ›

Plot. Seventeen-year-old Michael "Big Mike" Oher has been in foster care with different families in Tennessee, due to his mother's drug addiction, but every time he is placed in a new home, he runs back to her.

Did Michael Oher really block someone over the fence? ›

There's a scene in the movie "The Blind Side" where the actor playing Michael Oher drives a defender off the field, over the fence and into the stands, then says it was "time for him to go home." It was a highly-unrealistic, Hollywood-ized type scene, a play that would never actually happen in a real football game.

Did Sandra Bullock adopt from The Blind Side? ›

Some believe that Sandra Bullock's decision to adopt an African-American baby was inspired by her role in “The Blind Side”. However, she denies that her role in the film had anything to do with her decision to adopt.

How old was Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side? ›

At the age of 45, Sandra Bullock won an Oscar award for the movie “The Blind side” in the year 2010. Sandra plays the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy, her character's heart is pure of kindness as she took in Michael Oher, who she knew from the start was full of potential.

Why is Leigh Anne Tuohy so rich? ›

She and her husband, Sean, are the owners of over 85 franchise fast-food restaurants in the southern United States. Leigh Anne Tuohy has a net worth of $50 million. The franchise restaurants the Tuohys own include Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Long John Silver's.

Who benefited the most from the arrangement that Michael had with the Tuohy family? ›

Both the boys are involved in projects. They're all three involved in things together, too.” In the end, it's the Tuohys who have benefited most from their relationship with Michael. “Michael was smart and gifted and talented way before we met him,” Sean Tuohy says.

How did Michael become involved with the Tuohy family? ›

How did Michael Oher meet the Tuohy family? After spending a childhood in abject poverty, the former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle became close friends with Collins Tuohy. The two met in high school, and Tuohy encouraged her family to try and help her friend by adopting him and giving him a stable home life.

What is Michael Oher salary? ›

Contract:3 yr(s) / $21,600,000
Average Salary$7,200,000
Total Guarantees$9,500,000
Guaranteed at Signing$8,000,000
Free Agent:2020 / UFA
1 more row

How much did Michael Oher make in the NFL? ›

Oher earned $34.17 million while playing in the NFL. His first contract was a rookie deal with the Ravens, which ultimately saw him make $13,495,000 million in his five seasons in Baltimore. In his lone season with the Titans, he made $5 million. He further made $14,675,000 in his two seasons with the Panthers.

Why is Michael Oher a hero? ›

Michael Oher is considered a hero because of his determination, resilience, and ability to work to his full potential. Michael Oher's success in overcoming challenges, comes partially from his determination. Even with all his torment from his childhood he was still able to come out on top.

Why is Michael homeless in The Blind Side? ›

Social Issues In The Blind Side

Oher grew up in the projects in Memphis to a drug-addicted mother and an absent father. Michael was eventually taken by family services and was placed in a number of different foster homes. He ran away from each home placement and eventually became homeless.

Did Michael Oher invite the Tuohys to his wedding? ›

According to photographic proof, Oher didn't invite any members of the Tuohy family to his wedding. Nobody from the family was present when he wed Tiffany Roy, and none of them shared their congratulations on social media.

Was Michael Oher put into foster care? ›

Michael and his brothers and sisters were taken away and put in foster care. Several weeks after the girls were taken, the police found Michael and his brother Carlos at school. They were taken to live with Velma Jones, an obese woman who used to sit on them when they were bad.

Who owns the most Taco Bell? ›

K-MAC, which was started in 1964 by Ken McGruder, operates Taco Bells mostly in the Midwest and South. Its portfolio represents about 40% of Taco Bell's chain in the U.S.

Is Taco Bell a Mexican owner? ›

Taco Bell, fast-food restaurant chain headquartered in Irvine, California, U.S., that offers Mexican-inspired foods. Founded in 1962 by American entrepreneur Glen Bell, the chain has more than 7,000 locations and over 350 franchisees worldwide.


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