Oher alleges adoptive parents made millions off lie

August 15, 2023 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball
Michael Oher, a retired NFL lineman, whose story of being adopted out of poverty by a wealthy family was featured in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” has stated that the central element of the story was a lie fabricated by his adopted parents to make money at his expense.

Oher filed a petition in a Tennessee court that alleges Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who adopted Oher when he was a high school student, never actually adopted him. The 14-page petition states that less than three months after he turned 18 the couple tricked him into signing a conservatorship document — giving the couple legal authority to make business deals in his name.

oherThe petition also alleges that the couple used their conservatorship to make millions in royalties from the Oscar-winning movie, “The Blind Side,” while Oher didn’t see a dime.

Oher played in the NFL for eight seasons, playing both tackle positions for the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, and the Carolina Panthers. He was drafted in the first round, 23rd overall, in the 2009 NFL draft after being an All-American at Ole Miss.

A recent story from ESPN.com detailed Oher’s court appearance and his claims. Below is an excerpt from the ESPN.com article.

“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 Tuohy family did not immediately return phone calls Monday to numbers listed for them. Their attorney, Steve Farese, declined comment to ESPN on Monday, saying the family would file a legal response to the allegations in the coming weeks.

Sean Tuohy told the Daily Memphian website that he was stunned by Oher’s allegations and said the Tuohys “didn’t make any money off the movie,” only a share of proceeds from Michael Lewis’ book, which was the foundation for the film.

“We’re devastated,” Sean Tuohy told the outlet. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”

Oher’s petition asks the court to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship and to issue an injunction barring them from using his name and likeness. It also seeks a full accounting of the money the Tuohys earned using Oher’s name, and to have the couple pay him his fair share of profits, as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

To read the full story from ESPN.com, click here.