Former NFL star Michael Oher, who became a household name when the Oscar-winning film The Blind Side captured the story of his adoption, has claimed that event of his life was a lie.
The former Ole Miss football player filed a petition in a Tennessee court alleging “that a central element of the story was a lie concocted by the family to enrich themselves at his expense,” according to ESPN.
Oher claimed that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy white family that adopted him when he was a teenager, never adopted him and made millions of dollars off business deals after deceiving him into becoming his conservators. Oher signed conservatorship paperwork after he turned 18 years old in 2004.
“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 14-page petition submitted in a probate court in Shelby County reportedly states.
Oher discovered the truth about his adoption in February 2023, according to the filing “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 seeks to end the conservatorship and demands Oher receive his fair share of wages that the Tuohy family made using his name. Attorneys are also seeking an injunction to bar the Tuohy family from further using his name.
The Blind Side, featuring Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy, winning her the best actress Oscar in 2010, grossed around $309 million on a $29 million budget, and purportedly none of the profits went to Oher.
The filing emphasized that if Oher had been legally adopted, he would have control of his financial situation, but instead, the Tuohy’s conservatorship permitted the family to earn money off his name.
“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,” Oher’s attorney, J. Gerard Stranch IV, said in a statement to ESPN. “Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”
Steve Farese, one of three lawyers for the Tuohy family, told the Associated Press that the family will respond to Oher’s allegations in court.
The Michael Oher story is heartbreaking. In the court petition he filed today, he explains how he was told that he was signing adoption papers as an 18-year-old, but the family's attorney put him under a conservatorship. pic.twitter.com/rj1raW8qwV
— Christopher C. Melcher (@CA_Divorce) August 14, 2023