Michael Oher, the NFL player whose story inspired the 2009 film The Blind Side, has made startling accusations against the family who took him in off the street. Now that family is speaking out.
Micheal Oher’s story is one of determination and resilience. One of 12 children born to a drug addicted mother, Oher was placed in foster care when he was 11. After years of numerous foster homes and schools, Oher got a break when he was given the opportunity to attend a private Christian school in an affluent Memphis neighborhood.
It was at that school that Michael met Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and their two kids, Collins and SJ. The friendship with the Tuohy’s led to Michael moving in with them and the family adopting him. Or so he thought.
In a new lawsuit filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, Monday (August 14), Oher alleges that the Tuohys tricked him into signing a document that he thought was adoption papers. Instead, the paperwork was signed to make them his conservators. The conservatorship allowed Sean and Leigh Anne to conduct business on his behalf.
Oher further alleges that the Tuohys used that conservatorship to sign a film deal that earned the couple and their two children millions of dollars in royalties, while Oher earned nothing.
“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 reads. “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’s legal filing also requested that the court end the Tuohy’s conservatorship and ban them from using his name and likeness. He also asked for records of money the Tuohys made using his name, to be given his share of profits made by the Tuohys by using his name and likeness, and additional punitive and compensatory damages.
In a statement to the Daily Memphian, Sean Tuohy said that his family is “devastated” over the accusations.
Sean reacted to the filing Aug. 14, telling the Daily Memphian that his family is “devastated” over the allegations.
“It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children,” he said. “But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”
Upon graduating high school, Michael Oher attended the University if Mississippi where he received numerous honors, setting himself up for a successful professional football career.
In 2008, Oher graduated with a criminal justice degree and entered the NFL Draft the following year. A first round draft pick for the Baltimore Orioles, Michael signed a five-year, $13.8 million contract. During his final year with Baltimore, Oher helped lead the team to a Super Bowl victory.
View this post on Instagram
In 2014, Oher moved to the Tennessee Titans with whom he signed a four-year, $20 million contract. He was released by the Titans the following year and joined the Carolina Panthers. During his first year with the Panthers he played in his second Super Bowl, but the team ultimately lost to the Denver Broncos.
His professional football career came to an end in 2017. Michael Oher is currently married to his college sweetheart. The couple share four children and reside in Tennessee.
View this post on Instagram
In 2009, “The Blind Side,” a movie about Michael Oher’s life was released. The film starred Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy and Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy. Bullock earned her first and only Academy Award for the role. The film earned $309 million at the box office and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.