Michael Oher, a former NFL player, said in a lawsuit that the Tuohy family profited millions off of his name and that the adoption narrative in the film The Blind Side was a lie.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a couple who welcomed 18-year-old Oher into their house as a high school student, are accused of never truly adopting him, according to a petition submitted in probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Instead, the athlete’s attorneys claim that in 2004, just months after Oher’s 18th birthday, they persuaded him to sign a paper designating them as his conservators and granting them the authority to do business on behalf of the athlete.
According to court documents, the couple took use of their authority as conservators to sign the rights for the Oscar-winning film ‘The Blind Side,’ about Oher’s life, which featured Sandra Bullock and brought in more than $300 million. However, the money only benefitted the Tuohys and their 2 biological children, who allegedly received $225,000, plus 2.5% per cent of the “net proceeds.”
ESPN said that Oher alleges he was not paid for the movie “that would not have existed without him” and that the family has continued to refer to him as their adopted son solely for personal gains.
According to the court documents, “The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher.
“Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”
Oher has requested that the conservatorship be terminated and that they refrain from utilising his name. He also demands to be given a just portion of the earnings and a comprehensive accounting of the money the family earned while exploiting his name. Additionally, he is requesting compensatory damages.
The petition stated: “Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conservators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control.
“All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher.”
What do you make of the claims?