Subject of the 2009 film “The Blind Side” Michael Oher is alleging some pretty serious things about the Tuohy family. The retired NFL player has filed suit claiming the family never adopted him, and instead, forced him into questionable conservatorship when he was 18. The deal gave the Tuohys legal authority over his business deals, along with using his name and likeness.
Oher began living with Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and their two children while attending high school in Tennessee. He alleges the Tuohy family entered him into a conservatorship less than three months after he turned 18 in 2004. Oher filed a petition with a Tennessee court to end his conservatorship on August 14th, 2023.
The 14 page petition was filed in Shelby county. It alleges the Tuohys tricked him into signing the conservatorship papers under the guise of being adopted by the couple. The document further alleges the Tuohys used their power as conservators to strike a deal earning them and their birth children millions from the film. Since the alleged adoption, the Tuohys’ have continued calling Oher their adopted son. They use the story to promote their foundation and Leigh Anne’s work as an author and motivational speaker.
“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,” the legal filing says. “Michael Oher discovered the lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February 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.”
The Tuohy family alleges they never made any money from the movie, only a flat fee from the book the movie is based on. The family also alleges that money was split five ways, giving Oher a cut as well. Oher claims he never received any money. The Tuohy family had a film deal with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), yet listed Oher’s representative as “close family friend,” Debra Branan. Branan is the attorney who filed the original conservatorship papers in 2004.
Oher allegedly signed another contract in 2007 that gave his life rights away to the Tuohys “without any payment whatsoever.” Oher claims to not remember signing that contract, but if he did so, he wasn’t clear on the meaning and repercussions.
The Tuohy family attorney, Steve Farese, declined to comment and stated the family would file a legal response to the allegations in the coming weeks. Sean stated that the he was stunned by the allegations. “We’re devastated. It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we are going to love Michael at 37, just like we loved him at 16.”
Oher has written three books, his latest “When Your Back’s Against the Wall: Fame, Football, and Lessons Learned through a Lifetime of Adversity,” talks a lot about his life since the film released. “There’s been so much created from “The Blind Side” that I am grateful for, which is why you might find it as a shock that the experience surrounding the story has also been a large source of some of my deepest hurt and pain over the past 14 years.”