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During 'Blind Side' Dispute, Michael Oher Tells His True Story from Orphan to Overcomer

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Former NFL star Michael Oher is making headlines this week with a lawsuit filed against the Tuohy family. He and the family were the subjects of the hit film "The Blind Side", but Oher is now speaking out against both on the heels of the release of his new book where he's sharing lessons learned from a lifetime of adversity.

Oher is known for being an overcomer. He beat the odds, rising from homelessness to achieve eight seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, the Tennessee Titans, and the Carolina Panthers until an injury sidelined his football career in 2016. With a father lost to prison, and a mother lost to drugs, Oher's orphan story is one many think they know. 

"When I started this journey a long time ago, I was just chasing to be comfortable after I was done with football. My back was against the wall all my life. From the time I was three years old, my first memory was being homeless. Three to ten, I was in and out of foster care, shelters, on the streets," he told CBN News.

The Academy Award-winning film "The Blind Side" was inspired by Oher's life.  He was open about what he felt needed to be included in the film.

"What's missing is a kid that was already on a path that he was well on his way. And a lot of the hard work from 3 to 15 when I moved in with the family in less than a year and then I was off to college with another family, who helped me along the way, was very grateful. A lot of hard work, taken from me," he told CBN News.

"There's more to the story. I'm holding back a little bit. You will know more later, after this interview," he continued.

In the weeks following our interview, we learned at least some of the "more" to Oher's story. He sued the Tuohy family, arguing the movie was a lie. 

He also says he was misled into a conservatorship that allowed the family to make millions. Oher calls "this is a difficult situation" for him and his family, but says the lawsuit speaks for itself and he has no further comment.  
Members of the Tuohy family call the lawsuit hurtful, devastating, outlandish, and absurd. But, they pledge they'll continue loving Michael Oher and end the conservatorship at his request. 

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Michael's legal battle comes as he opens up about his emotional battle doing the work in therapy to heal adult and childhood trauma in order to be a better husband and father for his college sweetheart and their 4 children. He says fatherhood is easy for him and something he always wanted.

"I knew I was going to do the total opposite of the things that I had to go through as a kid. And I wanted to be there for my kids. It is the greatest thing, joy in the world for me. Nothing is better. Just to know someone is counting on you. And you have to be there, mentoring, laying that foundation. I get mad at fathers who are not involved. I can't stand it," he continued.

Fatherhood and life after football is about leaving a legacy not just for his children but for other kids as well. He hopes to continue that through his second book called When Your Back's Against The Wall: Fame, Football, and Lessons Learned Through a Lifetime of Adversity.

"I have a sense of duty to the other kids out there like myself that's growing up. I would be letting generation after generation down if I don't get out here and continue to spread the word, spread my message, and let them know that you can be successful coming from where I came from, in whatever situation that you are in," Oher said.
"My back has been against the wall all my life. From 3 years old to my last year in the NFL. I wanted a different narrative for myself," he continued.

Changing narratives and writing success stories is the inspiration behind Oher's latest project with his foundation.  
"It is, it is a great feeling. I wasn't the smartest kid. I wasn't the most talented athletically, but I just wanted it. I was disciplined and consistent," he continued.

"Just to sit down and meet someone like me, it was the most inspiring thing ever. I'm like, 'Man I have to get to work because I want to save all of these kids. I want all of them to come through my foundation'," he told CBN News.

The former footballer feels even more like the father he never had especially for his foundation's first class of students which begins this fall.

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About The Author


James Wilkins is a multimedia produder for CBN's Studio 5 and The Prayer Link.