Michael Oher, of “The Blind Side” inspiration, claims Tuohy family made millions off him via false adoption story
The former NFL star and subject behind the Sandra Bullock movie ‘The Blind Side’, alleges he was never adopted by the Tuohy family who made millions off him
The narrative of Michael Oher’s adoption by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, featured in Michael Lewis’ 2006 book and the 2009 film “The Blind Side,” has come under scrutiny.
Oher, aged 37, alleges a significant aspect of his story, which supposedly generated millions for the Tuohy family, is false.
Was Oher never adopted?
According to an ESPN report, Oher has filed a petition in a Tennessee probate court, contending that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never legally adopted him. Instead, the petition asserts that when Oher turned 18, the Tuohys “tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.” Oher’s legal representation uncovered the conservatorship in February 2023, revealing the absence of an adoption.
The petition also alleges that the Tuohys leveraged their conservatorship to broker a deal that resulted in “millions of dollars in royalties from an Oscar-winning film” for them and their children, Collins and SJ Tuohy. Meanwhile, Oher received no compensation for the narrative that hinges on his involvement.
As per the legal documents, the Tuohys and their two children received $225,000 each, plus 2.5% of the film’s “defined net proceeds.” The movie amassed over $300 million worldwide at the box office and generated additional revenue post-theatrical release. The petition further claims that a separate 2007 contract seemingly relinquished Oher’s life rights to 20th Century Fox Studios without any compensation. Oher disputes signing this contract and asserts that its implications were not explained to him.
Previously, the Tuohys had indicated they did not reap substantial profits from the movie, stating they received a “flat fee” for the story. Oher’s petition seeks to terminate the Tuohys’ conservatorship, end their use of his name and likeness, account for their earnings from his story, and ensure he receives his rightful share of the proceeds
‘The Blind side’: 14 years of hurt and pain?
“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, according to sources.
The petition continues, “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 exercise control.”
In his recently published book “When Your Back’s Against the Wall,” Oher reflects, “There has 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.”
The Tuohys have continued to refer to Oher as their adopted son, leveraging this connection to promote their foundation, Making It Happen, which aids underprivileged youth, as well as Leigh Anne’s endeavors as an author and speaker.
The film garnered critical acclaim, receiving two Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, in 2010.
Sandra Bullock notably won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leigh Anne in “The Blind Side.”