Michael Oher, whose story was told in The Blind Side, alleges that the Tuohy family never actually adopted him & exploited him for millions.
The Blind Side told the story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized Black teenager who becomes an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick with the help of his caring adoptive parents played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. The feel-good movie was a huge success in 2009, with Bullock even winning the Academy Award for Best Actress, but the truth seems to be much darker.
ESPN reports that Michael Oher has filed a 14-page petition in a Tennessee probate court that alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never legally adopted him. Not only that but they also tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators. The pair allegedly used this power to make a deal which earned them and their two biological children millions of dollars in royalties from The Blind Side while Michael Oher got nothing. For the record, The Blind Side grossed $309 million worldwide on a reported $29 million budget.
“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 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.“
The petition is seeking to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship over Michael Oher and stop them from using his name and likeness. It also wants a full accounting of money earned and for Oher to be paid his fair share. “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.” In a 2007 contract, Oher seemingly signed away the life rights to his story “without any payment whatsoever,” but the filing states that he “has no recollection of signing that contract, and even if he did, no one explained its implications to him.“
The Tuohy family hasn’t yet responded to the allegations, but their attorney, Steve Farese, said that they would be filing a legal response in the coming weeks.