Leigh Anne Tuohy, Blindsided By Attention

November 5th, 2010

November 4, 2010 – 11:28pm

Michael Norris / Amarillo Globe-News

Leigh Anne Tuohy, the adoptive mother of Baltimore Ravens left tackle Michael Oher, was in Amarillo to speak on behalf of the Amarillo Area Foundation Women’s Philanthropy Fund.

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By Terrence Hunley

After she helped a young man on his journey to protect a quarterback’s blind side in the NFL, Leigh Anne Tuohy has been blindsided by the attention, letters and well-wishes from across the nation.

“This program and this story has legs beyond anyone’s wildest imagination,” Tuohy said. “You keep thinking the dust is going to settle, but it’s just crazy.”

Tuohy is the adoptive mother of Baltimore Ravens left tackle Michael Oher. Their story has been well documented in a book by Michael Lewis, “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” and a film adaptation, “The Blind Side,” staring Sandra Bullock.

Tuohy was in Amarillo Thursday to speak on behalf of the Amarillo Area Foundation Women’s Philanthropy Fund and answered several questions from media outlets before she spoke.

• What stood out about the Amarillo Area Foundation for you to come speak here?

“I look through the different groups to find the ones who fit us. This organization really correlates with our message and our platform. We have defined it in the mission for child care, adoption, families, putting people back into society. The Amarillo foundation is all about what the Tuohy family believes in.”

• How have your lives changed since the movie?

“It is nothing we ever anticipated, imagined, planned for. I’m doing ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ on Sunday nights now, the whole craziness of our lives is nothing that we ever anticipated.”

• How is Sean Junior (S.J.) doing?

“S.J. is wearing us all out. S.J. is grounded from going to any more of Michael’s games in Baltimore because he had an 80 in anatomy and physiology. He will not be happy that I am discussing this, but I figure that if I talk about it day in and day out then he will probably get that grade up. He’s in the 11th grade, he’s a great kid, he’s athletic he starts in two sports, he plays the piano beautifully, he mentors a little boy two times a week. He’s a big giver. He is precocious as the day is long.”

• How is he handling the attention?

He is living large from the movie. When school ended last year he was in 10th grade, and a senior girl asked him to the prom. I explained to him very quickly that as a senior in high school I would not even talk to a boy who is a sophomore. He explained very quickly that there was not any major motion picture made about them. He is having a good time.

• What was it like having Sandra Bullock play you and go on to win an Oscar?

“She is my alter ego. We have become dear, dear friends. We’ve all stayed close. My husband and Tim McGraw talk almost every night. Sandy and I talk at least every two or three days. I miss Louie like he was my own.

“We believe that this has been God-driven. It has been too quirky. How the roulette wheel landed on her, who knows? There were 25 other names. The role was written for Julia Roberts, but her time frame didn’t work out with Fox, so they started looking elsewhere. Am I thankful? Absolutely. She is a wonderful woman. She is making changes in people’s lives daily. I feel very fortunate that it was her.”