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Top 3 allegations from jaw-dropping petition by ‘The Blind Side’ subject and former NFL star Michael Oher against family that took him in


Michael Oher, right, has filed a petition to end his conservatorship from Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, left. Oher and the Tuohys rose to fame with the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.” (Associated Press)

Retired NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher, who rose to fame after the release of the book and subsequent Oscar-winning movie “The Blind Side,” which chronicled his rise from the streets of Memphis to professional football with the help of his white adoptive family, on Monday filed a lawsuit against his so-called adoptive parents Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy.

The petition alleges that the Tuohys lied to him when he signed what he thought were adoptive papers but were instead a conservatorship that allowed the Tuohys to control his financial decisions. The Tuohys have reaped the financial benefits of the film’s success and his notoriety with him gaining nothing, the lawsuit alleges. It seeks to terminate the conservatorship the Tuohys have over Oher.

Tuohy family attorney Steven Farese told Law&Crime the family would file a legal response in the coming weeks and Sean Tuohy would release a statement at a later time.

In an interview with Barstool Radio, Sean Tuohy’s son, Sean Tuohy Jr., said the lawsuit didn’t surprise him and was two years in the making. Still, he has a positive view of Oher.

“I loved Mike at 16, I love him and 37 and I’ll love him at 67,” he said. “There’s not going to be any legal dossier or thing that happens that’s going to make me go ‘screw that guy.'”


Oher, now 37, grew up in the housing projects of Memphis and became a ward of the state’s ill-equipped social system that lost track of him, “leaving Michael to live on the streets, taking care of himself as best he could” with “spotty to non-existent” formal education, the petition states. With the help of the father of a friend, Oher was admitted to the elite Briarcrest Christian School in the summer of 2002. Because of his large size — he would grow to 6’4” and 315 pounds — and athleticism, he excelled in football and basketball.

It was at the school where he met the Tuohy family, who began allowing him to stay at their home because he had such a long commute to school.

Allegation No. 1: Tuohy’s had financial motive from the get-go

The petition says Oher would occasionally spend the night at the Tuohy home along with other classmates the summer before his senior year in 2004.  The book and movie portray the Tuohys as a family motivated only by the desire to help a young man in need. There’s a scene in the movie where Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the role, demands her husband turn around the car so they can give the rain-soaked Oher a ride. But the motivations were not so pure, the petition alleges.

“Where other parents of Michael’s classmates saw Michael simply as a nice kid in need, Conservators Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy saw something else: a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” the petition said.

Sean Tuohy Jr. told Barstool that wasn’t the case and the family never foresaw Oher becoming a professional athlete.

As the summer progressed, Oher began spending more time at the Tuohy household and Leigh Ann Tuohy began to buy him clothes. In July of that year, Oher turned 18 but the Tuohys had yet to legally adopt him.

“Despite this inaction, the Tuohys did tell Michael they loved him and that they intended to legally adopt him,” the petition states. “Michael believed them, was delighted to be part of a real and stable family, and trusted Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy completely. The Tuohys encouraged Michael to refer to them as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad,’ and Michael happily complied.”

Allegation No. 2: Adoption was a ‘lie’

After Oher moved in full-time, the Tuohys presented him with “what he understood to be legal papers that were a necessary step in the adoption process.” Instead, the papers were a “Petition for Appointment of Conservators” that was filed in August 2004 which gave the Tuohys control of Oher’s ability to enter any contracts without their approval, the lawsuit alleges. Over the years the Tuohys have “enriched” themselves and their foundation while using Oher’s likeness, the petition states.

“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 petition reads. “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 with no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”

Allegation No. 3:  Oher was shut out of movie profits

Not long after the book “The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game” by Michael Lewis was released in September 2006, the Tuohys began negotiating with 20th Century Fox to make a movie based on the book, the lawsuit said. The family negotiated “for themselves and natural born children” a contract of $225,000 plus 2.5% of net proceeds for the movie which made $330 million, the petition stated.

The lawsuit claims there is another contract that Oher “purportedly signed” which gives away his life story “without any payment whatsoever.” Oher said he’s unsure if he actually signed the agreement, the petition states.

The petition seeks to prevent the Tuohys from using Oher’s name, image and likeness and requests the Tuohys pay back “all sums of money” gained from Oher back to him.

After a career with the University of Mississippi, Oher was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft signing a five-year, $13.8 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens, according to He played in the NFL until 2016.

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