Former NFL star Michael Oher has filed a legal petition against his supposed adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who gained fame through the film “The Blind Side.” Oher’s allegations include being tricked into signing a document that made the Tuohys his conservators instead of adoptive parents, enabling them to benefit financially from him.
Oher recently discovered that he was not legally adopted by the Tuohys, which contradicts the widespread belief that he was their adopted son, he said. The Tuohys have responded, deeming Oher’s claims as demeaning.
Sean Tuohy, in response to Oher’s allegations, expressed his family’s continued love for Oher and mentioned that the accusations have deeply affected them emotionally. Back in 2004, when Oher was 18 years old, he signed a petition that designated the Tuohys as his conservators, granting them legal authority over his business matters.
Media reports revealed that Oher had submitted a 14-page petition in Shelby County, Tennessee, claiming that the central premise of the movie “The Blind Side” was false and that the Tuohy family exploited him to gain more wealth, according to Daily Mail.
In a statement made on Monday, Oher expressed his disappointment at the information in the lawsuit. He acknowledged the challenging nature of the situation and asked for privacy. He indicated that he would let the lawsuit convey his perspective and wouldn’t provide additional comments.
Sean Tuohy explained that the conservatorship was established years ago to ensure Oher’s eligibility to play football at the University of Mississippi. He rejected the notion that his family significantly benefited from the movie.
“The Blind Side,” originally a book by Michael Lewis that was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, earned $309 million. In his lawsuit, Oher claims that the conservatorship arrangement allowed the Tuohy family to make a deal wherein they, including their two children, would receive royalties from the successful movie.
This deal supposedly entitled them to $225,000 each, plus 2.5% of the ‘defined net proceeds.’ Despite the film detailing Oher’s inspiring journey from homelessness to becoming an NFL first-round draft pick, he asserts that he did not receive any payment from the movie or a separate agreement that transferred rights to his life story to 20th Century FOX. The movie portrays how he was taken in by a wealthy Memphis family, which introduced him to football and enabled him to pursue higher education and an NFL career.
Oher said he realized he had been lied to in February 2023, discovering that the conservatorship he consented to, thinking it would make him part of the Tuohy family, did not actually establish a familial relationship with them. He has requested an end to the conservatorship and an injunction preventing the Tuohys from using his name and likeness.
Oher, a retired offensive lineman, also seeks a comprehensive account of the money earned by the family through his association. In his book “I Beat the Odds” published in 2011, Oher detailed his understanding of how the conservatorship was explained to him as being equivalent to “adoptive parents,” with the distinction being due to his age and legal circumstances.