The ex-NFL player and subject of the movie “The Blind Side” claims Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never officially adopted him, but instead tricked him into signing away the legal authority to use his name in business deals after he turned 18.
According to ESPN, a 14-page petition filed in Shelby County, Tennesse, probate court claims the Tuohys used their conservatorship to make themselves and their birth children millions of dollars in royalties from the 2009 Warner Bros. movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw.
“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 (pictured below) 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.”
Had Oher been legally adopted he would have retained the power to handle his own finances as a member of the family, whereas a conservatorship gave that authority to the Tuohys.
The movie — based on the titular book written by Michael Lewis tells the story of Oher as an impoverished youth who, with the help of the Tuohy family, worked his way to the NFL.
Sandra Bullock won several awards for her portrayal of the Tuohy matriarch, while the movie grossed more than $300 million.
Oher, now 37, played for the Ravens, Titans and Panthers over an eight-year NFL career after an award-filled career at Ole Miss, which led to the offensive lineman being a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
He wants the court to end the Tuohy’s conservatorship and wants an injunction to bar them from using his name and likeness — in addition to an accounting of the money they purportedly earned off his name already, a fair share of the profits and punitive damages.
“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 which they exercise control,” the petition says. “All monies made in said manner should in all conscience and equity be disgorged and paid over to the said ward, Michael Oher.”
“People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie,” he said in 2015. “They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field.
“This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”