‘Devastated’ Tuohy family hit back at Michael Oher’s claim The Blind Side was a lie and family stole his money

‘It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children’

Namita Singh
Tuesday 15 August 2023 12:48 BST
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‘The Blind Side’ NFL Player Michael Oher Says Tuohys Tricked Him
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The couple who inspired the book and Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side” have responded to former NFL star Michael Oher’s bombshell claims that they tricked him into making them his conservators in order to swindle him.

On Monday, Oher filed a petition in probate court in Shelby County, Tennessee, alleging that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a white couple who brought 18-year-old Oher into their home as a high school student, never actually adopted him.

“It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children,” Sean Tuohy told the Daily Memphian, adding the family is “devastated” by Oher’s claims.

Lawyers for the former athlete state that three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the Tuohys got him to sign a document which made them his conservators and which allowed them to make business deals in his name.

Court papers state that the couple used their position as conservators to agree to a deal that saw them and their two biological children paid for the Oscar-winning movie, which saw Sandra Bullock win the best actress Academy Award for playing Leigh Anne Tuohy and made more than $300m.

Mr Tuohy said the conservatorship was drawn up so that Oher could play football at the University of Mississippi.  “They said the only way Michael could go to Ole Miss was if he was actually part of the family.

“We contacted lawyers who had told us that we couldn’t adopt over the age of 18; the only thing we could do was to have a conservatorship. We were so concerned it was on the up-and-up that we made sure the biological mother came to court,” he said.

File: Tackle Michael Oher #73 of the Carolina Panther addresses the media prior to Super Bowl 50 at the San Jose Convention Center/ San Jose Marriott on 2 February 2016
File: Tackle Michael Oher #73 of the Carolina Panther addresses the media prior to Super Bowl 50 at the San Jose Convention Center/ San Jose Marriott on 2 February 2016 (Getty Images)

He added: “We didn’t make any money off the movie. Well, Michael Lewis, the [author of the book on which the movie was based] gave us half of his share. Everybody in the family got an equal share, including Michael. It was about $14,000 each.”

Mr Tuohy added that he is happy to end the conservatorship. “I want whatever Michael wants,” he told the outlet.

“It’s hard because you have to defend yourself, but whatever he wants, we’ll do.”

Oher was one of 12 children born to a mother who struggled with drug addiction. He was placed in foster care before his 11th birthday and also spent time living on the streets. He attended 11 schools in nine years, but in the 10th grade, he began attending a Christian private school in Memphis after being introduced to the principal.

He went on to become one of the best football players in the country and the petition says that once his talents became obvious the Tuohys forged a close relationship with him. The family asked him to regularly stay at their home in the city and eventually made the arrangement permanent. The petition says they encouraged him to call them “mom” and “dad”.

It adds that the family did not in fact adopt Oher, but when he turned 18 in 2004 got him to sign a conservatorship, giving them the power to make business deals using his name.

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