Michael Oher petitioned a Tennessee court Monday with allegations that his adoption by the Tuohys was a lie, according to ESPN’s Michael A. Fletcher.
Oher, a former NFL player and the subject of the Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side,” states in the 14-page petition that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never adopted him. He adds that the Tuohys instead tricked him into signing onto a conservatorship shortly after he turned 18 that gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.
The movie, released in 2009, earned more than $300 million. Oher says the Tuohys signed a deal that paid them and their two birth children millions of dollars in royalties while he didn’t get anything. The Tuohys have continued calling Oher their adopted son, using the story to promote their foundation and motivational speeches.
Oher’s petition asks the court to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship and issue an injunction barring them from using his name and likeness. It also seeks a full accounting of the money the family earned using his name, and for Oher to be paid his fair share of profits, Fletcher reports.
“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 says, per Fletcher. “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.”
Oher was a high school senior when he signed the conservatorship deal. In his 2011 best-selling memoir “I Beat the Odds,” he wrote that the Tuohys told him at the time that adoption and conservatorship were essentially the same thing. If the Tuohys had adopted Oher, he would have been a legal member of their family and retained the power to handle his financial situation, notes Fletcher.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Oher 23rd overall in 2009 after he posted a standout career at Ole Miss. In addition to Baltimore (2009-13), the 37-year-old played on the Tennessee Titans (2014) and Carolina Panthers (2015-16) before retiring
Oher’s attorney, J. Gerard Stranch IV, said that Oher didn’t thoroughly investigate his situation and the movie deal until after he retired from pro football because the film’s success coincided with the beginning of his NFL career.
“Mike didn’t grow up with a stable family life. When the Tuohy family told Mike they loved him and wanted to adopt him, it filled a void that had been with him his entire life,” Stranch said. “Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”
Oher earned $34.5 million across nine NFL seasons, according to Spotrac.
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