Sandra Bullock said in 2009 that she was “scared” of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the woman she played in The Blind Side, who is in a legal battle with the subject of the film, former NFL star Michael Oher. Sandra’s interview with Entertainment Weekly from 2009 has resurfaced after Michael, 37, claimed that Leigh Anne and her husband Sean Tuohy put him into a conservatorship, and never adopted him. Michael’s adoption story, which was allegedly fake, served as the inspiration for The Blind Side, which won Sandra the Academy Award for Best Actress.
“Leigh Anne scared me from the minute she opened the door,” Sandra told EW the year the film came out, when she was reflecting on the first time she met the Tuohy family matriarch. “I was sitting in a chair in her house with my little hands folded in my lap. I couldn’t say anything,” she added.
Sandra admitted in the 2009 interview that she was hesitant to sign onto the film because the story seemed too good to be true. “I didn’t trust it,” she said at the time. “I thought it would be schmaltzy and soft.” However, Sandra said that she decided to do the film after meeting Leigh Anne’s husband, Sean, who was raised by a U.S. Marshall. She said she also appreciated Leigh Anne’s tough Southern attitude.
“At the end of the day, Leigh Anne took a little hand pistol out of her glove compartment and said, ‘Y’all just need to carry one of these,’ ” Sandra explained in the interview. “I kid you not. If you’re her friend, she would stop at nothing to get done what she needed to get done for you. If you’re her enemy, forget about it — you’re going to wish you were dead,” she added.
Sandra’s Oscar-winning movie has been in the headlines after Michael filed a legal petition against the Tuohys on Aug. 14, claiming they didn’t adopt him and kept him from making money off the film. Michael’s petition asks for the conservatorship to end and that the Tuohys will not be able to use Michael’s name and likeness, according to ESPN. The former pro athlete is also seeking money that the family earned from using his name and story, as well as other compensatory and punitive damages.
After Michael filed the lawsuit, some fans demanded that Sandra should return her Oscar because the real-life storyline from the film has been disputed. However, Quinton Aaron, who played Michael in The Blind Side, publicly defended Sandra and her brilliant performance. “Sandra Bullock didn’t have anything to do with the real story that we’re reading as of right now,” the actor told TMZ Sports on Aug. 16. “I think people just need to chill out, relax, and let the families involved handle whatever’s going on, and just—I guess—enjoy the show, because it’s out there for everyone to see.”
Sandra is dealing with other struggles amidst the drama over The Blind Side. Her boyfriend, Bryan Randall, died on August 5 after a private three year battle with ALS. Sandra’s late partner was 57 years old when he passed. The actress has not spoken out about Bryan’s death yet.