Home World Ex-NFL Player from ‘The Blind Side’ Says He Was Tricked and Never Adopted, Family Pushes Back

Ex-NFL Player from ‘The Blind Side’ Says He Was Tricked and Never Adopted, Family Pushes Back

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Ex-NFL Player from ‘The Blind Side’ Says He Was Tricked and Never Adopted, Family Pushes Back

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Michael Oher, the retired NFL offensive tackle whose adoption story was the focus of the 2009 motion picture The Blind Side, has alleged in a petition filed in a Tennessee court that in reality, he was never adopted by the Tuohy family. Instead, he now claims they tricked him by creating a conservatorship that benefited them. 

The 14-page petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy – who took Oher, now 37, into their home as a high school student – never adopted him, according to ESPN. 

The petition says less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name, the outlet reported. 

slider img 2Oher was getting noticed as a high school football star when he signed the conservatorship documents. In his best-selling 2011 memoir titled, I Beat the Odds, he wrote the Tuohys told him there was no difference between an adoption and a conservatorship. 

“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,” he wrote. 

Oher’s legal filing claims, “At no point did the Tuohys inform Michael that they would have ultimate control of all his contracts, and as a result Michael did not understand that if the Conservatorship was granted, he was signing away his right to contract for himself. Michael was falsely advised by the Tuohy’s that because he was over the age of eighteen, that the legal action to adopt Michael would have to be called a ‘conservatorship’ but it was, for all intents and purposes, an adoption.” 

A conservatorship is a way for someone to assume legal guardianship over an adult.

The petition also reveals Oher didn’t discover he was never legally adopted by the Tuohys until February of this year. 

The document also alleges the Tuohys and their two natural children made millions of dollars in royalties from the Academy Award-winning movie that earned more than $300 million, while Oher got nothing for a story “that would not have existed without him,” according to ESPN. 

The legal filing also alleged another contract purportedly signed by Oher in 2007, signed away his rights to his story “without any payment whatsoever,” according to Fox News. 

Oher’s petition asks the court to end the conservatorship and prohibit the Tuohys from using his name and likeness. It also requests Oher receives a share of profits based on any earnings the family made off of his name, the outlet reported. 

The Baltimore Ravens drafted Oher in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. He played five seasons for the Ravens and won one Super Bowl before he signed with the Tennessee Titans. After briefly playing for the team, he signed with the Carolina Panthers but was released in 2017. 

Michael Oher, left, Collins Tuohy, second from left, and Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose lives are portrayed in the Oscar-nominated movie “The Blind Side,” speak at Woodlands Church’s Fellowship Campus in The Woodlands, TX on March 3, 2010. (AP Photo/The Courier, Eric S. Swist, File)

Members of the Tuohy Family Respond 

After learning about the legal developments, Sean Tuohy told the Daily Memphian that Oher’s allegations are “insulting” and have deeply wounded his family.

“We’re devastated,” Tuohy told the outlet. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”

Tuohy said the conservatorship was drawn up to ensure that Oher was eligible to play college football at the University of Mississippi.

“I sat Michael down and told him, ‘If you’re planning to go to Ole Miss — or even considering Ole Miss — we think you have to be part of the family. This would do that legally,'” Tuohy told the Daily Memphian.

“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.”

Tuohy said the family will end the conservatorship if that is what Oher wants.

Tuohy also said Oher’s claims that the family made millions of dollars from the movie are false. 

“We didn’t make any money off the movie,” Tuohy told the outlet. “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.”

Tuohy sold his conglomerate of fast-food franchises for $200 million and took affront to the idea that he needed any money or would want to profit off of Oher.

“I will say it’s upsetting that people would think I would want to make money off any of my children,” he told the Daily Memphian.

Sean “SJ” Tuohy Jr., the son of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, told Barstool Sports Monday that old text messages between Oher and the Tuohy family suggested Oher may have known he wasn’t officially adopted before February 2023 as the court filing indicates. 

“If he says he learned that in February, I find that hard to believe,” Tuohy Jr., told the outlet. “I went back to my texts today to look at — I was curious today, randomly, to go back to look at our family group text and texts to see what things have been said.” 

“There were things back in 2020, 2021 that were like, ‘If you guys give me this much, then I won’t go public with things.’ So I don’t know if that’s true. I think everyone learned in the past year about the conservatorship stuff because of Britney Spears, so maybe that’s the case, but it doesn’t add up.”

Tuohy Jr. also told Barstool Sports his family didn’t make much money from the movie. 

“I’ve made like $60, $70 grand over the course of the last four or five years,” he said.

Despite Oher’s legal filing, Tuohy Jr. spoke fondly of Oher and their relationship. 

“I hope he gets everything that’s entitled to him legally,” he said. 

Michael Oher married Tiffany Roy, his longtime girlfriend of 17 years, in November of 2022. They have four children together. Oher is no longer in the NFL but spends time running his charity for disadvantaged youth known as the Oher Foundation.

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