EXCLUSIVE: Leigh Anne Tuohy talks about Sandra Bullock, adoption

By Joe Birch - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Leigh Anne Tuohy is a private person with a very public story, thanks to the movie The Blind Side and its OSCAR winning performance by Sandra Bullock.

Now, Sandy, as Leigh Anne calls her, is the one with a public story, and Leigh Anne is talking about it for the first time, exclusively with Action News 5.

"You're the only one I've talked to, and I don't want to talk to anyone else about it," Tuohy said during a recent interview.

Tuohy was talking about Sandra Bullock's decision to adopt a baby boy from New Orleans. The decision make international headlines following the sex scandal involving Bullock's soon-to-be ex-husband, Jesse James.
Bullock won an OSCAR for portraying Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side, the story of a white Memphis family who adopts an African-American teenager by the name of Michael Oher.

Now it's life imitating art.  Or is it?

"I don't think my experience influenced her one bit," Tuohy said. "I could tell you that it did, but I would be absolutely lying if I said that. You know they were already in the process of adopting - looking into it"

Tuohy said Bullock's decision to adopt an African-American baby, who she named Louis, had nothing to do with their relationship, and anyone who thinks race was a factor has it all wrong.

"I know that those are exterior forces that force people to have issues," Tuohy said. "We don't see them. People don't have the guts to say something like that to my face.  Sandy was looking to adopt. She wasn't looking at color or sex it just happened to be an African-American male, young man."

Though Tuohy doesn't believe she had a direct influence on Bullock, she is part of the superstar's inner circle,  and knew about the adoption long before the rest of the world.  In fact, we caught up with her just hours before she flew to join Bullock for Mother's Day.

"I've known about Louis," she said. "I've seen pictures of Louis. But tomorrow's my first up close and personal visit with him."

Bullock kept the adoption secret.  Now that she's starting a new life, away from Jesse James, Tuohy hopes she can turn her private experience into a public message.

"I want to take it to the next level and, you know, team up with her somehow, with her, and Louis and Michael, and I and make a major push for adoption," she said.

Tuohy said she knows The Blind Side has changed thousands of lives.

"I know literally of several hundred kids that were adopted because of The Blind Side," she said. "We would have done it for one."

And now that  Sandra Bullock is focused on one, Leigh Anne Tuohy is supporting her girlfriend during one of the most exciting times of her life.

"Right now, I think she's still trying to get her feet on the ground, you know, figuring out how to be a mother," Tuohy said.
But Tuohy is not giving advice changing diapers.

"No, because my husband did that, so I would not offer my advice to anyone," she said. "I don't do well with little babies, so I don't dole out advice. She'll probably be the one offering me advice!"

Since the success of The Blind Side, Tuohy has been the country speaking about adoption. Her commencement address at CBU this past weekend was carried on C-SPAN, and she is writing a book with her husband, Sean.

And, Tuohy hinted in our interview there's something much bigger still to come.

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