Michael Oher, the subject of the 2009 movie The Blind Side, is claiming that the Tuohy family never legally adopted him and made millions off of his story in a new lawsuit, In Touch can confirm.

What Has Michael Oher Accused the Tuohy Family Of?

After Oher entered the foster care system when he was 11 years old, he was taken in by Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Tuohy when he was a teenager attending Briarcrest Christian School.

Oher filed to have his conservatorship under Sean and Leigh Anne closed in paperwork submitted to a court in Shelby County, Tennessee, on August 14, 2023, which was viewed by In Touch. He also requested an order to show the Tuohy ​family’s “failure to meet their required duties to provide regular accountings or to act in the best interest” of Oher.

In the filing, he claimed that the Tuohys presented him with paperwork in 2004 when he was 18 that he believed to be adoption papers. However, it was instead a petition for a conservatorship that gave the couple “ultimate control” of his business deals. The Tuohys allegedly “falsely advised” him that they ​had to do a conservatorship because he was over 18, though they viewed it as an adoption “for all intents and purposes.”

The retired NFL player claimed that they used their legal power as conservators to negotiate a business deal with 20th Century Fox for the film The Blind Side, which was inspired by the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis.

The film earned $330 million worldwide at the box office. Oher claimed that the Tuohys and their now-adult birth children were each paid $225,000 and an additional 2.5% of the movie’s defined net proceeds, while Oher alleged ​that he made no money from the film.

While arguing to end the conservatorship, Oher stated that the arrangement is “unnecessary” because he is “capable of handling his own affairs.”

What Is Michael Oher Asking in the Lawsuit?

The Tennessee native asked for an undisclosed amount of money to cover “applicable damages and other relief.”

What Has the Tuohy Family Said About the Lawsuit?

On August 14, son Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr. made it seem as though things were cordial between him and Oher, saying, “I want to preface this by saying I loved Mike at 16, I love [Michael] now at 37, and I’ll love him at 67. If he says he learned that in February, I find that hard to believe. [I went back to] our family group texts … to see what things have been said. And there’s things back in 2020, 2021 [that] were like, you know, ‘If you guys give me this much, then I won’t go public with things.’ And so I don’t know if that’s true.”

Just one day later, however, Sean and Leigh Anne’s attorney, Marty Singer, claimed that Oher’s petition was “outlandish,” “hurtful and absurd” in a statement. The attorney also claimed that Oher had threatened the Tuohys in the past.

Michael Oher Accuses Tuohy Family of Withholding ‘The Blind Side’ Money Amid Conservatorship
Alexis C Glenn/UPI/Shutterstock

“The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous,” the statement read, noting that they welcomed Oher into their home when he was a teenager and “treated him like a son and one of their three children.”

“His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million,” Singer added.

Sean Touhy additionally spoke out regarding the lawsuit, claiming that he and his family “didn’t make any money off the movie.”

How Has the Tuohy Family Responded to the Lawsuit?

In court documents filed on November 8, the Tuohy family claimed that Michael was paid more than $138,000 for The Blind Side, contradicting his previous claims that he received no financial benefits from the film. Sean and Leigh Anne alleged in their court filing that Michael was paid a total of $138,311.01 over 10 payments, starting in 2007 and ending in April 2023. Michael has yet to publicly respond to the Tuohy family’s new court filing.

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