In his testimony before a Tennessee judge, Michael Oher, the former NFL offensive lineman who served as the inspiration for the 2009 box office hit “The Blind Side,” asserted that he was never adopted by the Tuohy family and alleged that the family made millions of dollars off the story.
According to CBS News, Oher, 37 years old, has asked a Shelby County judge to remove the Tuohys’ guardianship, contending that he is of legal age to manage his own business affairs. According to the petition, Michael’s adoptive parents “have falsely and publicly represented themselves as the adoptive parents of Michael.”
“Since at least August of 2004, Conservators have allowed Michael, specifically, and the public, generally, to believe that Conversators adopted Michael and have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control,” the petition states.
The petition also asserts that the Tuohys took advantage of their position as conservators to negotiate a deal that gave them, and their two biological children, millions of dollars in royalties from the $300 million-grossing Oscar-winning biopic.
According to Oher, he has not yet received anything for the story “that would not have existed without him.”
“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 petition said. “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.”
The Tuohys have revealed that they are “devastated” by the claims.
“It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children,” Sean Tuohy, Oher’s “adoptive father,” said. “But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
The Tuohys reportedly informed Oher, who was a rising high school senior when he signed the conservatorship paperwork, that there wasn’t really a difference between conservatorship and adoption.
“They explained to me that it means pretty much the exact same thing as ‘adoptive parents,’ but that the laws were just written in a way that took my age into account,” the 37-year-old revealed in his 2011 memoir “I Beat the Odds.”
“The Blind Side” earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, with Sandra Bullock winning the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Oher’s “adoptive mother,” Leigh Anne Tuohy.