Michael Oher, the former NFL player whose story inspired The Blind Side, filed a lawsuit Monday in Tennessee against the couple featured in the film, alleging they tricked him out of millions of dollars in royalties after “falsely” claiming to adopt him.
The petition claims Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy pretended to adopt Oher, when instead they convinced him to sign documents making them his conservators.
“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,” reads the filing obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
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Oher says the couple convinced him to sign the conservatorship papers under the belief that they were adopting him, but in reality the Tuohys were granted permission to make business deals in his name.
“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,” the filing states.
Based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, The Blind Side was released in 2009. But the lawsuit says Oher, now 37, didn’t learn about the true nature of the conservatorship until this year.
“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 lawsuit says.
The family became famous following the release of the film, which starred Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne, Tim McGraw as Sean, and Quinton Aaron as Oher.
The movie told the supposed story of how Oher went from homelessness to an All-American football player and NFL draft pick with help from the loving Tuohy family.
The drama was nominated for a best picture Academy Award and won Bullock a best actress Oscar.
The movie made $309 million at the worldwide box office. The suit says Leigh Anne, Sean and their two birth children each received $225,000 — plus 2.5 percent of the film’s “net proceeds.” But Oher claims he did not receive any money from the film.
In addition to seeking an end to the conservatorship, he is asking the Tuohys to pay him his “fair share of profits” from the movie.
After the lawsuit made headlines, Oher issued a statement describing the situation as “difficult.”
“I am disheartened by the revelation shared in the lawsuit today,” Oher said in a statement to the New York Post. “This is a difficult situation for my family and me. I want to ask everyone to please respect our privacy at this time. For now, I will let the lawsuit speak for itself and will offer no further comment.
Sean Tuohy released a statement late Monday to the Daily Memphian saying, “We are going to keep loving Michael.”
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