Former NFL player Michael Oher thought that the Tuohy family would adopt him when they took him into their home. Three months after he turned 18, Oher signed a document that he believed to be adoption papers, and the rest was history.
Oher's life story — the tale of a Black teen-turned NFL star who overcame poverty with the help of his wealthy adoptive family — was turned into the award-winning 2009 film The Blind Side.
Now, at age 37, Oher has filed a petition to a Tennessee court alleging that the Tuohy family never actually adopted him, and instead deceived him into a conservatorship. With this action, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy could make business deals and collect money in his name.
Michael Oher Files Petition Against 'The Blind Side' Family
Oher got nothing for the $300 million-dollar white-savior movie that chronicled his early life, while the Tuohy's biological children gained $225,000 each.
"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," reads the petition obtained by ESPN.
In February 2023, Oher discovered that the document he signed never actually made him a member of the Tuohy family. What the public knew of Oher's life was a lie, and the petition alleged that the Tuohys "have used that untruth to gain financial advantages for themselves and the foundations which they own or which they exercise control."
Unlike a familial adoption, the conservatorship that Oher entered has given the Tuohy family authority over his finances. Conservatorships assume that a person is unable to handle their own affairs independently, but Oher is neither physically or mentally disabled.
In his 2011 memoir I Beat the Odds, Oher wrote that the Tuohys convinced him that it meant "pretty much the exact same thing as 'adoptive parents', but that the laws were just written in a way that took my age into account."
In the petition, Oher seeks an end to the conservatorship, financial compensation for damages, and the money earned in his name. He also requested an injunction that would prohibit the Tuohy family from using his likeness ever again.