Before it was a Hollywood happy ending, future football star Michael Oher's life seemed to be destined for tragedy. But with the help of his adoptive family, Oher overcame great odds to graduate from college, play in the NFL and become the subject of a book and new movie.
"It's about a person with an immense amount of intellect and an immense amount of talent and a whole lot to give to society," father Sean Tuohy said on "Good Morning America" today.
In the family's first live television interview, the Tuohys said the movie "The Blind Side" is an accurate representation of Oher's story.
"I think the movie did a really nice job of showing how many Michael Ohers out there are getting passed by or slipping through the cracks," Tuohy, who was played by Tim McGraw, said.
One of 13 children, Oher grew up in a rough section of northern Memphis, Tenn., and bounced between life in foster care and on the streets.
Then, one cold night, Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband saw Oher walking in a T-shirt and shorts in the cold.
That was enough for Tuohy, who told her husband to turn the car around and get Oher.
"Michael was there, he had a need," she said. "We had the ability to fill it. We all fell madly in love with him, probably within 48 hours. He was an instant part of this family."
It was the fateful start of a close relationship, and the Tuohys eventually adopted Oher.
"We just got a great kid, a wonderful addition to our family," Tuohy, who was played by Sandra Bullock, said.
Their daughter, Collins, said Bullock "nailed" her mother.
With his adoptive mother relentlessly by his side, Oher started to turn his life around in the classroom and on the field.
"I just felt like I was unstoppable," Oher told ESPN. "I felt like no matter what, I was going to win the battle."
Oher: 'Anything Is Possible'
Tuohy said, "Michael wanted to receive help, and he wanted to change his life and better himself."
After graduating from high school, Oher played for four years at the University of Mississippi and was drafted this year in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens.
"Anything is possible," Oher, 23, said. "My background is a bad background, but a lot of people said I couldn't do it. You can do anything if you put your mind to it."
Now the Tuohys receive e-mail and letters from people who were touched by their story.
"They either want to say thank you so much for doing it or they want in return to say 'this is a story that happened in my life,'" daughter Collins said.
"We absolutely know that the good Lord put Michael in our lives for a reason ... so it doesn't surprise us that positive things are coming out of the movie and the book and the whole story."