‘The Blind Side’ Subject Michael Oher Plans To Sue Tuohy Family Over Conservatorship
Michael Oher, the offensive lineman depicted in the film The Blind Side, is suing the Tuohy family for misrepresenting the terms of a conservatorship he signed while in high school. ESPN reports that Oher filed a 14-page petition in a Tennessee court alleging that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy tricked him into signing away legal rights through a conservatorship when he was 18. The family is accused of using Oher’s story as told in the 2009 film to enrich themselves and their two birth children but locked him out of any benefits of his own life’s story.
Although The Blind Side suggests Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy adopted him, Oher says this is false. Instead of adopting him, he said, the Tuohy family established a conservatorship, profiting from his name, image, and likeness.
The family, including Sean Tuhoy Jr, have rebutted Oher’s claims. Tuhoy Jr, the son of Sean and Leigh Anne, gave an interview to Barstool Sports where he maintained that accusations that the family made millions of dollars from Oher’s story are inaccurate. The younger Tuhoy told the outlet that he understands why Oher is upset but firmly denies having made a sum of $2 million from the film.
Oher’s petition maintains that “Michael trusted the Tuohys and signed where they told him to sign. What he signed, however, and unknown to Michael until after February 2023, were not adoption papers, or the equivalent of adoption papers.”
Part of Oher’s grievance with the Tuohy family centers around the story that The Blind Side tells. Oher has maintained for years that the film hurt his NFL career.
As he told ESPN in 2015, “People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am.”
In his new book, When Your Back’s Against The Wall, Oher alleges that the film has been a source of pain for him. Oher writes: “There has been so much created from The Blind Side that I am grateful for, which is why you might find it as a shock that the experience surrounding the story has also been a large source of some of my deepest hurt and pain over the past 14 years.”During an ESPN interview,
Oher’s attorney, J. Gerard Stranch IV, discussed the specifics of Oher’s issues with the Tuohy family. According to Stranch, because the lineman’s NFL career began around the time the film took off, he didn’t really have the time to investigate what the Tuhoy family engaged in. It wasn’t until after his retirement in 2016 that he hired a lawyer who looked deeper into conservatorship and discovered that Oher was not adopted as he had been led to believe.
Stranch told ESPN about the impact that discovery had on Oher. “Mike didn’t grow up with a stable family life,” Stranch explained. “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. Discovering that he wasn’t actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply.”
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