Collins Tuohy is an actress, public speaker, and the adoptive sister of American Football offensive tackle Michael Oher. She is also the co-owner and director of marketing of The Whimsy Cookie Company, a bakery and cake shop. Besides running her own company, Collins holds a seat on the Board of The Making it Happen Foundation. In 2004, her parents, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, welcomed Oher into their household. They eventually adopted him and provided him with a safe home after learning about his troubled childhood. His story was documented in the 2006 book ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,’ written by American non-fiction author and financial journalist Michael Lewis. The book was adapted into a screenplay by John Lee Hancock and in 2009, a film titled ‘The Blind Side’ was released to critical acclaim and commercial success. . In 2016, she launched a fashion, travel, and lifestyle blog named ‘Collins Closets’.
Early Life & Family
Collins was born on December 29, 1986, in Memphis, Tennessee in an affluent family. Her father Sean is a sports commentator and restaurateur who along with his interior designer wife, owns over 85 fast food franchises, including those of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. They also co-authored the book ‘In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving’ together, published on July 13, 2010, by Henry Holt and Co. She has a younger brother, Sean Tuohy Jr. who has played guard for his university’s basketball team, Loyola Greyhounds.
She began taking piano lessons at the age of six. After graduating from the Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, she enrolled at the University of Mississippi where she majored in Broadcast Journalism. She wore many hats there: she was the President of the Student Alumni Council, President of Student Spirit Committee, an Officer for the Kappa Delta Sorority, and an Ole Miss Varsity Cheerleader.
She was 18 years old when her parents brought Oher into their home. The future All-American had a traumatic past. Born Michael Jerome Williams Jr. in Memphis to parents Denise Oher and Michael Jerome Williams, he did not have any guidance or discipline in his early life. Denise was an alcoholic and a cocaine addict and Michael Sr. was a habitual offender who had spent most of his life behind bars. Oher was a senior in high school when his father was murdered in the prison. Even then, he demonstrated prodigious skill on the football field and was allowed to be part of his school’s program despite his poor academic performances.
In 2003, scout.com named him as a five-star recruit and the number five offensive lineman prospect in the country. By that time, he had stayed with several foster families. The Tuohys, who are very active members of the community, had heard about him and decided to reach out. Oher flourished in their home and his foster parents encouraged his participation in various sporting activities. They became his legal guardians in 2005.
Collins and Oher are of the same age, both being born in 1986, and share a mutual love for sports. She was a cheerleader as well as a pole vaulter. At the Tennessee State Championship, as Oher won the All-state honours in discus and basketball, Collins earned the top spot in the pole vault competitions. They formed such a strong bond that he was her escort to the homecoming dance where she was crowned the Queen. Similarly, Collins was the one family member to accompany Oher to New York for the NFL draft.
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The Meteoric Rise to Fame
Following the publication of Lewis’ book, Collins and her family became relatively well-known figures in the public sphere. Their popularity has only increased since the film has come out. In the film, Sandra Bullock portrayed Leigh Anne, Quinton Aaron was cast as Oher, Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy and Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy. The film made more than $300 million at the box office and earned Bullock the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2009.
Collins Tuohy had been dating her boyfriend Cannon Smith for 11 years before marrying him in April 2016, in a ceremony that lasted two days and was held in their hometown of Memphis. Smith, who is an actor, is the son of FedEx founder Frederick Smith and brother of Demolition producer and Black Label Media co-founder Molly Smith, who was the first executive at her father’s film company Alcon Entertainment to read the script of ‘The Blind Side’. Like Oher, Cannon used to be a football player at the university level, playing one season for the University of Miami and later for the University of Memphis as a quarterback.